Economy Goes to the Dogs... Is Pet Industry Recession Proof?

Here's one area of the economy that doesn't need any reviving... The luxury pet industry. Local residents are proving it's recession proof.

The economy is going to the dogs... Literally. At a time when people are clipping coupons and skipping out on restaurants, they aren't sparing any expense when it comes to their family pets.

While their owners are on vacation, the little puppies are on vacation too at le Chateau Pet Resort in Amarillo. Owner Dawn Hallgren says there are "televisions in their suites. They get a daily walk. They get a gourmet treat every night."

But that doggie dreamland experience doesn't come cheap. "Classic champion which is $24 a night and our premium Chateau and that's $70 a night."

Three year old Missy spent the past week living in that lap of luxury. "She got the premium package." Missy's owner Cynthia Murry says it's money well spent... Even in a tough economy. "We have an empty nest so she's like our baby. We raised two boys so now we have a little girl. She's worth it."

Missy isn't the only dog whose owners don't mind splurging on extras. Hallgren says, "We haven't been open very long but we are already over half full."

The entire pet industry is expected to generate $51 billion this year alone... That's up 1.3% from last year.

That doesn't surprise Hallgren one bit... In fact, that's what she is counting on as a new business owner. "People care about their pets and they'll spend money on their pets before they buy groceries. They'll scrimp in other areas but they'll take care of their babies."

Bark Avenue in Amarillo was founded on that philosophy two years ago, and they're still going strong. Owner Cindy Terizzi says, "It's been a very good business and a very good year for us."

Researchers say in times of economic trouble, people tend to pay more attention to their loved ones... Perhaps the reason the four legged family members are becoming pampered pets.