It’s official. Christmas is going to the dogs.
The American Pet Products Association predicts people will shell out more money than ever before on their four-legged and feathered friends this holiday season.
A mother and daughter in Burlington, Vermont, Tricia Line and her daughter, Brittany, recently stopped at a local PETCO store to pick up goodies for their pets. Those treats included a "feather thing for the cat and some squeaker toys for our dog," according to Brittany Line.
The Lines aren't alone in showing their holiday affection for the non-human members of their family.
The average shopper is expected to spend $30 on pet gifts -- an increase of 14 percent over how much they spent last year, according to the American Pet Products Association. For comparison, the average shopper will spend about 6.5 percent more on family gifts than they did last year, or about $459, according to the National Retail Federation.
Robert Gaudio, owner of Pussy & Pooch pet boutique in Los Angeles, said sales have jumped 20 percent during the holidays.
“More and more, they're treating their animals like their children," he said of pet owners.
One of the hottest items of the season is eye-catching Christmas sweaters for pets. There are also pet toys, specialty treats and spa treatments available for pets.
For those who can afford to spend even more, Pussy & Pooch also offers high-end canine or kitty couture, jewelry and furniture -- including a $3,000 pet bed.
At the Columbia Mall in Grand Forks, N.D., animal lovers this year even got the chance to include their pets in photos with Santa Claus. The mall hosted certain hours of pet pictures with Santa that welcomed animals of all shapes and sizes with just one requirement: all animals had to be to in a carrier or on a leash, reports the Grand Forks Herald.