Henry the Portuguese water dog has given a voice and therapy to special needs students at Novi (Mich.) High school. A group of his students pulled together a party to celebrate Henry's first birthday on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013. (Gannett, Mandi Wright/Detroit Free Press)
The U.S. economy may have remained sluggish last year but Americans refused to scrimp on their pets, with animal lovers spending upwards of $53 billion on food, veterinary care, kennels and other services in 2012.
That's up 5 percent from 2011, when spending first broke the $50 billion barrier, said the American Pet Products Association.
At about $34.3 billion, food and vet care represented about two-thirds of total spending, with money spent on supplies and over-the-counter medications rising by more than 7 percent.
Northeastern Wisconsin pet owners will be able to spend on their animals when the 8th annual WBAY Pet Expo returns March 22-24 at Brown County Veterans Memorial Arena in Ashwaubenon, with vendors selling everything from cat toys and dog treats to gear and holistic food.