Congratulations to our Pet Idol contest winner Winston Churchill…we have some cool prizes for you Winston and it’s our pleasure to recognize you greatness.  But now it’s time to really get down to the dog bone. Time to talk some serious money…big bucks…major moolah…chump change need not apply!   Focus…and consider the size of these numbers.  You could buy 72 Mona Lisas, 10 nuclear reactors or just over one Bill Gates for what Americans spent ….on their pets last year. I’m not kidding. The American Pet Products Association says so.  In 2011, U.S. pet lovers set a new record by shelling out a howling total of $50.98 billion on their animal friends, whether furred, feathered, shelled or scaled. The previous record was set in 2010, when Americans dropped $48.10 billion.

But we aren’t done sharing the luv for our animals as the association predicts that Americans will set a new record this year a whopping $53 billion.

Here’s the breakout--In 2011, pet food took a $20 billion bite out of U.S. pet lovers' budgets --  $13.4 billion for vet care--  $12 billion on supplies and over the counter meds, and $4 billion on "other services,".  They including boarding, grooming and pet sitting.   ‘

 It’s kinda funny to consider you have to have the pet to justify all that spending but actually buying pets accounted for the smallest amount expended just over $2 billion.