Orange County pets get dolled up for Halloween

Pet owners in the United States will do a lot of things to make their precious pooches or fabulous felines feel loved. According to the American Pet Products Association's (APPA) new 2011-2012 National Pet Owners Survey, the number of U.S. households that own a pet has risen by 2.1 percent to 72.9 million - an all-time high. In 2011, Americans spent nearly $48.3 billion on pet care - nearly $20 million more than what was spent on children's dental care, Business Insider reports.

"Although the economy has been a major factor for many industries, the pet industry continues to see unprecedented growth and diversity. The Survey reveals pet owners are willing to spend money on their pets despite a downturn in the economy," said Bob Vetere, president of APPA. "More products and services are available than ever to assist in responsibly caring for a pet, so it is becoming increasingly easier to add another pet to your household."

The results of the APPA survey showed that there are more than 78 million dogs and 86.4 million cats owned by Americans, and approximately four out of ten pet-owning households in the U.S. own multiple pets.

Many Americans love their pets, which is why there is a strong pet-owner community in Orange County. Real estate in Orange County provides residents quick access to pet daycare, vets, boutiques, pharmacies and holistic treatment centers. The pet-care industry in the Southern California community is strong.

For example, Halloween is still almost a week away and already a pet-costume contest is underway. Chateau Le Pooch, a doggy boutique in Tustin, held a Halloween costume party to celebrate the holiday, The Orange County Register reports.

"I think pets now are like a child and family member," Margaret Vannek told the news source. "For me they're like my kids. I don't have children so they're it. I love to dress them up."

According to the National Retail Federation, Americans are expected to spend about $370 million on pet costumes this year - up from $60 million last year. Orange County residents wishing to take part in the merriment can check out the costumes available at one of their favorite local pet stores. There are plenty of pet costume contests available throughout the county.