My New Puppy Is Fuzzy, Adorable And Mighty Expensive

December 28, 2010

As it turns out, Olive's happiness can't be bought.

Earlier this month, my girlfriend and I welcomed a goldendoodle to the family. Our puppy Olive is starting to settle into her new home, but it hasn’t been cheap.

We’ve frequented the neighborhood PetSmart more than we’d like to admit, spoiling her with toys and treats to help with her transition to domesticity

We’re not even a month into dog ownership and we’ve easily spent over $400 on a veterinarian check-up, a few shots, a grooming, a kennel, a bed, five toys, 50 pounds of food, shampoo, a brush, a leash and a collar. Without hesitation, we considered all of these purchases necessary, if not vital.

When 2010 closes, Americans will have spent an estimated $47.7 billion on their pets. Dog owners, alone, spend about $1,500 each year on vet visits, nutrition and accoutrement.

How is it we spend so much money on our pets?

In our case, the anxiety of being new “parents” who want to do everything right is driving much of our spending. Olive has struggled with separation anxiety. We’ve stormed the aisles of PetSmart countless times hoping to buy a solution.

At first, we tried a special collar that claimed to contain “calming pheromones that help soothe dogs in fearful or stressful situations.” No luck and our puppy was left smelling like dying roses. We tried a smaller kennel so she’d feel cozier when locked up. That didn’t help. A chew toy, a water dispenser, an AM radio– we’ve tried to buy our puppy’s contentment with little luck.

“We love to see healthy, happy pets,” PetSmart declares with its slogan. The subtext? “We love to sell products that may or may not help with your dog’s behavioral issues, but in the event they don’t, know that we have in-store training and veterinarians services for your convenience.”

Know your clientele, right? We we brought adorable little Olive home, we walked right into PetSmart’s marketing web.