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Americans are spending more money than ever on pets!

With more options out there than ever for pet owners to spoil their pets, how can folks indulge in these top trends safely?
0220 shon 2

There’s no debating Americans love their pets. Folks are spending more money than ever on spoiling their fur babies, and the pet industry is exploding. Data shows that in 2018, sales in North America were more than $225 billion. Over the next few years, it’s expected to exceed $281 billion.

A Forbes report shows 95% of pet owners consider their pets to be family members, and almost 45% of millennials view pets as starter children. According to Zulily, over half of millennials buy gifts for their fur babies– at least once a month.

The pet industry is estimated to be worth about $72 billion. A report from The Economist shows in 2009 Americans spent $34 billion on pets. Last year, they spent over $52 billion and more than $18 billion of that was spent on pet supplies and accessories.

RELATED: Are top pet health trends actually healthy?

As for top pet trends, pet subscription boxes are one of the most popular ways folks are spoiling their furry ones. Bark Box, PoochPerks, and boxes from Chewy.com are just some of the companies letting pet owners order a box of goodies every month to shower their animals with. Pet owners get to choose whether they’ll rather receive more treats, toys, or pet clothes.

If you order boxes like these for your pets, here’s some tips to keep in mind so your furbaby can enjoy the goodies safely. It’s fine to order boxes with a variety of treats if your pet is used to eating a variety of different pet foods. However, variety could upset their stomach if they’re not used to it. If you opt for more toys, spend some time watching them play with the toys and make sure there are no small pieces that anyone could accidentally ingest. If you opt for boxes with more pet clothes and accessories, just make sure your pet seems comfortable wearing them– and of course, that it’s not causing them stress. Also, watch out for elastic that might be too tight around their arms and legs.. and make sure they can still move around comfortably.

Also, pet clothes and accessories are a major trend on its own. Data from MarketsandMarkets shows the global pet wearables market is expected to grow to $1.7 billion over the next four years — that’s from $703 million last year.

Another popular trend is ice cream outings with your pets and whipped cream treats (also known as Puppachino’s). Our fur babies no doubt love these sweet treats, but is it safe for them?

“I think some of those can be beneficial because its a bonding experience for your pet.. from time to time,” said Dr. Dawn Tucker, who cares for pets at the Animal Emergency and Critical Care. “You have to remember that if your pet isn’t used to eating those things, you need to start out very slowly.”

Taking it slow and introducing treats in small amounts can help prevent them from getting an upset stomach.

Finally, as a general rule, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on pets — not only while they’re playing with new toys — but also while they’re enjoying new treats and dog bones– to help prevent accidents.