Wednesday, February 09, 2005

The family dog

The concept of the pet as 'one of the family' will continue to motivate the buyer of pet products and services in 2005. In fact, this attitude has become so pervasive in the United States that the legal system is changing to address the shift. Fido is not a watchdog any more, but a child. Laws already on the books in Colorado, Massachusetts, California and Rhode Island make pet owners essentially pet guardians.

And our spending habits confirm this trend. According to the American Pet Products Manufacturer's Association 2003/2004 National Pet Owners Survey, the greatest expense for pet owners over a 12-month period is veterinary care. Then food.

Is college next?

(I'm not kidding. I always say to myself, "No more. No new product or idea can surprise me in this industry." And I'm always wrong.)

Products and services in 2005 will truly make the puppy feel like one of the family. Just like us, dogs will eat healthier and more specialty food: organic, low carb, vegetarian and diet foods will be aggressively marketed this year by some large companies.

And, of course, what dog in its right mind would go outside for a pee and to run naked around a park without vitamins, contraceptives, and pet insurance?

Related Posts:
Pet Evac Roundup
PetSmart and FEMA
No-pet policy is 'a lousy plan'
Lesson for FEMA: feed the dog
Pets and hurricane Katrina

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At 11:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Michael- Do you have any idea how many households have dogs that are left home alone for some or all of the day while their owners are at work?

At 11:45 AM, Blogger Michael Dillon said...

I don't know numbers on that one. I'd guess 'a lot and growing.' It's a trend driven in part by the 'young professional' pet owner demographic, and in turn driving part of the booming growth in pet services like daycare and grooming.

I think companies have been adjusting to this trend for a couple of years at least.

Interactive toys for dogs - to relieve boredom and stress while left at home - were part of the strategic direction of The Hartz Mountain Corporation in 2005, according to their CEO in an interview published in late 2004.

Some cities have passed new laws regarding the treatment of pets left at home all day. For dogs left in the yard, one city in California now requires a five-sided doghouse that's large enough for the dog to stand in.


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