Americans love their pets, and they're not afraid of opening up their wallets to prove it.
According to new data from the the American Pet Product Association, in the United States a record $55.7 billion was spent on pet food, veterinary care, and other pet products and services in 2013 -- an increase of 4.5 percent over the year before.
By comparison, that's nearly $10 billion more than what Germany spent on its entire military last year.
Bob Vetere, chief executive of the not-for-profit trade group, says that the reason for the steady increase in spending may be that dogs, cats, and other non-human companions are, now more than ever, considered "furry, winged and finny extensions of their family."
"People are pampering their pets more than ever and manufacturers and businesses are offering new products, services and opportunities to meet their needs and wants," says Vetere.
Most of the money spent on pets went towards feeding them, though Vetere notes that Americans are increasingly preferring higher quality, healthier food options, dolling out $21.5 billion last year. Veterinary expenses totaled $14.3 billion, and another $13.1 was spent on supplies.
Vetere expects Americans' spending on pets to continue to rise, likely to reach $58.5 billion this year -- nearly twice what was spent in 1996, when the APPA began tracking the figures.