Doggone it, Americans are spending more and more money on man’s best friend. 

According to a Feb. 22 Associated Press report, Americans’ spending on their pets rose to more than $53 billion in 2012. That’s not only for vet bills and food costs; $12.5 billion went to alternative treatments, such as acupuncture. And the American Pet Products Association predicts even more pet pampering next year, with that amount expected to grow another 4 percent.  

Perhaps this is simply the result of rising prices for pet products. Or perhaps it is the result of Americans having fewer children. Already, two cities — Seattle and San Francisco — have more dogs than they do children. 

Whatever the reason, the Catechism of the Catholic Church offers this guidances on the proper role of animals in our lives: “It is ... unworthy to spend money on them that should as a priority go to the relief of human misery. One can love animals; one should not direct to them the affection due only to persons” (No. 2418). 

Something for people to consider when out shopping for a sweater for their sheltie.