"Americans forked over $49 billion for pet products and services last year, said James Vlahos in The New York Times Magazine, up $11.5 billion from 2003." And Pfizer's revenues for mood-altering drugs for pets "have grown 57 percent since 2003 to nearly $1 billion." There are even "doggy diet pills," which "may be plainly absurd," but if animals are developing mental illnesses like our own, maybe we can learn something about pets as well as humans.
This is "absolutely absurd," said Maahum Chaudhry on Youth Outlook's Yo! blog. If your dog is overweight, take him out for a walk—"it's good for the both of you." If a dog is depressed, it's the "owner's fault" for ignoring his needs.
Some pet owners are actually hurting their pets while trying to help them, said Rebecca Camber on London's Daily Mail Online. There's "been a rise in the number of dogs eating painkillers," sometimes even fatal doses of ibuprofen, often because owners are treating their injured pets themselves instead of incurring veterinary costs.
"I don't know how I feel about this new trend," said Jonah Lehrer on ScienceBlogs' The Frontal Cortex blog. On one hand, it's a "bourgeois [habit] that's all too easy to mock." On the other hand, I know I would do anything to make my own pet happy.