Thursday, October 27, 2005

Pets around the globe

Countries around the world are undergoing legal, cultural and industry-related changes involving pets as they continue their integration with our lives.

In the U.S. the fact that a dog serial killer in Hong Kong made the front page of yesterday's Wall Street Journal - a story with no tangible business angle but evoking a strong gut reaction - emphasizes the growing trend of humanizing pets ("On a Hong Kong Trail, A Serial Dog Slayer Terrorizes Pet Owners" by Kate Linebaugh, The Wall Street Journal, Oct 27, 2005). Anyone up for a stakeout?

In China, the number one consumer of dog meat in the world, there is a concerted effort underway to remove it from stores and menus before the international community arrives for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. The government has relaxed pet ownership rules as a burgeoning monied class in a one-child society seeks companionship and retail therapy.

The result is a country with restaurants that serve dogs as well as restaurants that simply serve dog. The pet industry in China has exploded and I expect it to maintain strong growth for the next few years. At least.

Photo by Elizabeth Dalziel, AP

In Rome, citizens must now walk their dogs at least once a day, or face a fine. Expect a spike in sales of dog collars and leashes in Roman retail stores, just in time for the holidays.

In London, the government recently announced an animal welfare bill touted as the most significant in nearly a century. Provisions include increasing fines and prison time significantly for cruelty violations and prohibiting sales of animals to minors.

In Taiwan, the Council of Agriculture recently announced new policies regulating the import, export and sale of pets in response to strong pet ownership statistics.

Related Posts & Links:
Airline pet law goes into effect
The family dog

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Saturday, October 15, 2005

Dog Flu Info

Just like humans, dogs get the flu, and one is spreading around the country, impacting services like daycare and boarding kennels as pet owners begin to stay away, as reported in The Washington Post (link removed: article is no longer available).

The virus, first noticed in racing greyhounds and initially confused with the common "kennel cough," has now infected pets in nine states from California to New York, apparently taking veterinarians by surprise. With no vaccine and an estimated 5% mortality rate, dog owners are becoming increasingly concerned ("Pet Owners Worry About Dog Flu's Spread," by Jim Fitzgerald, The Associated Press, Oct 14, 2005).

Considering the unprecendented awareness of pet health issues, media reports of bird flu, and cyclical flu seasons in general, events like this may begin to impact the pet industry more frequently or strongly in the future.


Friday, October 14, 2005

Halloween Dog Costumes

The American Kennel Club (AKC) reported that 10% of owners will dress their dogs in costumes for Halloween, 49% like the idea, and that women are 6% more likely than men to do so.

The survey, conducted for the AKC by Kelton Research, sampled 1,000 adults in the U.S., 500 dog owners and 500 non-dog owners.

Separately, a survey of shoppers conducted by August Partners for The Macerich Co. reported that 21% of 4,300 respondents will dress up their pets for Halloween ("Trick or Treat. Arf!" Retail Traffic Magazine, Oct 1, 2005).

This implies an interesting marketing experiment: selling pet products to non-pet owners. For example, amongst the ubiquitous Halloween-branded packages of candy at every grocery store in the nation could be similarly packaged dog treats targeted at people who do not own pets, but may find some at their door on Halloween. Also, "Trick or Treat" from a dog's point of view could have devastating effects on your flower garden or lawn.

My question is, has this been attempted in any pet product category, and if not, is it only a matter of time?

Halloween tips for pet owners by the American Kennel Club.

Some dog costumes on the web:

Pampered Puppy is always a source of great dog accessories.

Petco's website has been heavily Halloween'd

PetSmart has a small image on the lower right of the page for dog costumes.

Target has dog costumes but they are difficult to find on their site.

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Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Honda Introduces Pet Friendly Cars

The Wall Street Journal reported this morning that Honda Motor Co. will unveil a minivan designed for dog owners later this month at the 2005 Tokyo Motor Show. [Update: Honda Dog Website Launched]

The concept car, currently being tested for consumer reaction, includes amenities like a built in dog dashboard carrier, washable seats, a third seat row that reconfigures into a holding pen for larger dogs, and tire treads shaped like paw prints.

Honda will also introduce the "Travel Dog" line of car accessories in Japan, including a $440 "pet cargo cover" that pulls out into a dog bed, according to the newspaper.

Source: "Honda Caters to Japan's Pet Population Boom," by Jathon Sapsford, The Wall Street Journal, Oct. 5, 2005

Related Posts:
Aug 17, 2007 Dog Friendly Car Reviews by

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