With pets in about 70% of US households, the pet care industry is more than squeaky toys and dog food. Since 2015, dog-owning Americans have pushed the pet care industry into being one of the most lucrative industries in the country. No matter what the economy throws at it, the pet industry continues to grow. Bold Business predicts it’ll reach an impressive $75.38 billion by the end of 2019. This steady growth is expected to continue into the new decade, and it has a lot to do with a shift in how people view their pets.
Instead of being simply “pets” dogs are members of the family. They sleep in specially-made beds, eat healthy diets, take daily supplements, and they even go on vacations. This renewed devotion to man’s best friend coupled with new technology has led to exciting changes in how we care for our dogs. Pampering our pets has truly never been easier (or more socially acceptable), and businesses of all types are striving to get a piece of that profitable pie.
With all this money being put into the pet industry, 2019 has been a year of dog-friendly trends. We’ve put together a list of the top pet care trends to help dedicated pet parents see all the ways they can help their pets live the best lives possible.
Science and Technology
While FitBit, Garmin, and Apple are moving forward with fitness tracking technology for humans, 2019 has also seen a greater push for canine health trackers.
Whistle, Findster Duo+, and Link, have introduced fitness activity monitors to allow pet parents to accurately track their pets’ well-being. Specific features depend on the product, but dog owners enjoy GPS tracking, all-around activity monitoring, temperature alerts, and vet record storage.
Millennials aging 25-39 make up 35 percent of pet owners nationwide. These young professionals have fueled a pet care trend that allows them to keep tabs on their dogs even when they’re at work. Webcams marketed to pet owners combine our need for convenience and peace of mind with our love for technology. Popular pet webcams include Petcube, Furbo, and Pawbo.
The ASPCA reports that 3.2 million animal adoptions happen every year. This number is up from past years as there is a greater awareness for animal welfare and rescue. With all of those rescue dogs living as pampered pooches in their new homes, genetic testing has become a popular pet care trend of 2019. Companies including Wisdom Panel and Embark offer comprehensive dog DNA tests to identify a dog’s mix of breeds, traits, and risk of genetic disease.
While CBD oil isn’t a new product, the past year has seen an incredible surge in popularity for CBD oil formulated specifically for pets. The global CBD oil market was estimated to be worth $1.34 billion in 2018 and expanded 32.6% in 2019. The growth is thanks to increased awareness and a greater desire for all-natural pet care solutions. Pet parents use CBD oil to treat anxiety, chronic pain, epilepsy, and cancer. It comes in tincture form, and CBD infused pet treats are also popular.
As 3-D printing technology continues to advance, it has made its way to veterinary medicine. It is making prosthetics more readily available and improving veterinary surgical models. Owner of Pure Paws Veterinary Care says,
“3-D printing in veterinary medicine holds a lot of promise to improve patients’ quality of life and should continue to trend upward.”
Fresh Food Delivery
While most dog owners still buy their dog food the old-fashioned way—at a store—pet food delivery took off in 2019, and it’s expected to keep growing. This pet care trend is only a sidestep away from services including Blue Apron and Hello Fresh that deliver fresh (human) food to replace grocery shopping. It’s based on society’s desire for convenience, but it’s also about the greater appeal of fresh food. Small start-up pet food companies that market fresh meals that are tailored to a specific dog have grown leaps and bounds in 2019. Naked Dog Bistro, NomNomNow, Spot and Tango, and Farmer’s Dog are leading the charge.
Along with freshly made meals delivered to their doors, pet parents are also enjoying monthly subscription services centered around their pampered pets. BarkBox and Bullymake are leaders in this 2019 pet care trend. The subscription box economy grew by 890% in four years thanks to e-commerce and social media.
As more adults are choosing to wait until later in life to settle down with a family, pet parents are no longer content to leave their dogs at home alone. Instead, they’re interested in opportunities to share their social lives with their dogs. Pet-friendly social experiences include everything from eating out, traveling, and exercise. There is a growing market for businesses that cater to pet-friendly events. Movie theatres host dog-friendly viewings of popular movies, and there are dog-friendly restaurants in every area.
Dog training sounds like it’s about the dogs, but a 2019 dog training trend is looking at both ends of the leash. Relationship-based dog training is based on the belief that dogs learn better and have a better quality of life when they trust their handlers. Many of today’s dog trainers emphasize that human behavior can have a significant impact on a dog’s success. It’s about building a bond that leads to a better working relationship and a happier family.
While aversive training techniques (punishment, e-collars, and choke chains) were popular in the past, today’s dog owners are turning toward a different dog training technique. Positive reinforcement dog training is a concept that uses rewards to teach a dog certain behavior. Instead of punishing a dog when they’re incorrect, this method rewards a dog when they do something right. Biologist Ana Catarina Viera de Castro conducted a study that found aversive training methods can have long-term negative consequences on a dog’s well-being. For this reason, more people are choosing positive reinforcement.
Overall, pet care trends in 2019 are about turning pets into family and giving them fulfilling, healthy lives. All-natural foods, enriching activities, and advanced veterinary care offer consumers the means to make that happen. As we look forward to a new decade, experts expect this trend to continue with innovative products using advanced technology.