Pet ownership is on the rise in the United States, and Americans also tend to splurge on their furry friends. Consider some recent statistics: Between 1996 and 2001, the number of Americans who owned dogs as companion animals increased 16%, and the number of Americans who owned cats as companion animals increased 17%. More American households own dogs than any other pet, and most dog owners have incomes exceeding $50,000, the fastest-growing income bracket among pet owners. (See "Pet Ownership by Household Income.") Americans spent nearly $30 billion on pet-related products and services in 2002, according to Unity Marketing, Stevens, Pa. Unity's research reveals that 80% of pet owners bought one or more "extras"—such as special bedding—for their animals in the past year. Pet owners who spend the most on their animal companions "