February 16, 2011: Pets

Whether the economy is struggling or soaring, nothing apparently stops Americans from spending money on our pets. Last year we spent nearly $48 billion on our furry and feathered friends. And this year, as I wrote in my “Survey Says” column on Aol Small Business, 18 percent of our Valentine’s Day budget went towards buying a gift for the family pet.

So imagine how much money consumers will spend on pets in a recovering and once-again-solid economy. There are going to be a lot more discretionary dollars to lavish on pets when the economy comes to full recovery.

However, there are several areas that are particularly hot right now. When it came to pampering their pets, in 2010 Americans spared no expense, spending $90 million more (for a total of $3.45 billion) than in 2009. This includes things like pedicures for birds, self-flushing kitty litter boxes, designer clothing and Halloween costumes. I detail a few more opportunities in my new e-book, 26 Hot Businesses to Start Right Now!

Opportunities abound here. People are making money running doggie bakeries, planning pet parties, and creating directories of pet-friendly restaurants and hotels.