When asked why they spend so much on their pets, owners often respond, “because pets deserve my attention more than most humans do,” or “pets make me happy and there is no price tag on happiness.” This comes as no surprise to our Pet Gazette readers. It all makes perfect sense.
There is another reason behind all this and that is pet companionship serves our innate desire to feel loved. Humans broadcast this desire in a multitude of ways. Psychologists tell us that one very popular way is caring for others in the hope that they care about us and love us back. However, if we feel unreciprocated, we seldom grow content with the situation. For example, if people reject one’s care and love, most of us will likely stop caring and loving them back. In fact, if this happens enough times some might generalize that rejection onto the entire human population of earth… and that’s not good!
Pets are not people. They are, however, capable of reciprocating the care and love we give and that return of unconditional love we so need. Our pets behavior is reinforcing our caring behavior, so we keep doing it. It is the opposite of a vicious cycle; it is a blessed humane cycle!
Logically, it makes no sense caring for a pet instead of a starving baby far away. A starving baby far away will never be able to give us the care and love we want and need. With that said, charitable giving of time or money is also like no other feeling you can experience and also something everyone needs.
Next time you walk down the pet aisle at a big supermarket think of the following numbers and you will get a slight sense of the scale of America’s pet industry Total pet industry expenditures reached $60.59 billion in 2015. That is up from $58.04 billion in 2014. And according to the ASPCA, a small dog will cost you $1,314 in the first year, a medium dog $1,580 and if you want a large dog be prepared to spend $1,843 in your first year as a dog owner.
The pet services segment, including grooming, boarding, pet hotels, pet sitting, day care and all other services, has been a fast growing business with Americans spending $4.73 billion on pet services alone in 2014.
Pet owners are increasingly treating their cats, dogs, birds, reptiles and small mammals to a vast range of goods and services including, pet counseling, pet weddings, “social petworking” and even dog beer! Pet humanization, largely the result of a “pet parenting” attitude among owners, continues to drive pet product sales and services. Upmarket pet owners are growing ever more discerning in their purchases, continuing to push these services further into the mainstream.
Innovation should continue as Millennials born between 1985-2010 are really the first generation to grow up thinking of pets as more like humans than animals. They have disposable income, they are buying pets and they are taking very good care of them, a perfect recipe for a loyal customer for decades. The fact is, we do not just care for our pets, we pamper them. After all, no dog feels sad without the latest Juicy Couture sweater… but some owners might. But, whether it is a dog, cat, horse, bird, fish or lizard, our pets need to eat, they need to be kept clean and they need a place to sleep. And with 300 million pets in the United States it makes for a booming business with limitless options for us to care for our beloved pets.