Are we loving our pets to death?

The increasingly common sight of pet dogs in strollers instead of on their paws, June 12, at Central Park in Manhattan. (Graham Dickie/The New York Times)

Pets are more popular than ever. Roughly two-thirds of American homes have at least one pet, up from 56% in 1988, according to the American Pet Products Association, and Americans spent $136.8 billion on their pets in 2022, up from $123.6 billion in 2021. An estimated 91 million households in Europe own at least one pet, an increase of 20 million over the past decade. The pet population in India hit 31 million in 2021, up from 10 million in 2011.