Danish households have more four-legged members than ever before, Kristeligt Dagblad newspaper reports.
Approximately 880,000 families have pets, with cats and dogs as the most popular pet choices. Nearly 600,000 dogs are owned by Danes, with some 70,000 new dogs being registered each year. When it comes to cats, there are somewhere between 650,000-750,000 who live with approximately 370,000 families. The interest in fish, reptiles, and birds has declined over the past years.
Along with all of those pets comes the food, toys and other things needed to give them a good life. And all of those things cost money. But when it comes to their pets, Danish families are prepared to empty their wallets and pay the price – even when that implies a hefty multi-million kroner annual price tag. According to Statistics Denmark, there has been a 300 million kroner increase in the amount of money Danes shell out for their furry and scaly friends.
Poul Jørgensen, who has been in the pet store business for 30 years, said that the recent popularity could be attributed to social factors.
"Particularly young women spend a lot of money on small dogs, as if they were small children," he told Kristeligt Dagblad. "A lot of young people today have dogs when in the past they would have had children at an earlier age. It is maybe a sort of compensation, and then they go on to have kids later."
Statistics Denmark shows that with the increase of pets in Danish homes today, the costs associated with them are steadily rising. Between the years 2000 and 2010, pet ownership expenditures jumped from 3.3 billion to 3.6 billion kroner. Many people consider their pets to be part of the family and one in four pet owners in a recent study said they were willing to pay in excess of 5,000 kroner for their new family addition.
Sociologist Emilia van Hauen argues that it is money well spent.
"Many children want to have something that they can be close to, and often times that is a pet," van Hauen told Kristeligt Dagblad. "It is a way to train a child to be a social creature, so I don't see anything wrong with the growing spending in relation to our pets. On the contrary, it is a good way to develop empathy and the ability to make connections."