With many pet owners considering themselves pet parents and their pets full-fledged family members—a trend known as the humanization of pets—it’s no wonder an estimated $60 billion was spent on pets in 2016. That figure includes pet supplies, pet food, veterinarian bills, grooming, over-the-counter products, and the initial cost to purchase the pet.
The figures are staggering, but they also mean that pet parents are willing to spend on their pets to keep them happy, healthy and entertained. If you’re a pet lover or if you are looking for ways to jump into the seemingly lucrative pet market, here are some pet-related businesses you never knew existed!
Pet Ambulance/In-home Veterinary Care
When your pet is ill or suffers an accident, time is of the essence to get him treated. Enter, an ambulance, veterinarians and technicians. These professionals can respond to your emergency call and treat your pet, while he or she is transported to the nearest emergency hospital or veterinary office. For example, the Florida-based Vet Care Express Animal Ambulance has treated more than 6,000 pets in the six years it’s been in operation. Add to this, the rise of more veterinarians who are providing house-calls, so pet parents don’t have to put their beloved pets through the stress of visiting a vet’s office for routine care.
For those pet owners who don’t want to board Fido or Fluffy, pet hotels are a viable option. There are pet hotels that cater to both cats and dogs, and there are pet hotels that are species-specific. Your pet will reside in a home-like setting (not a cage). Additionally, many pet hotels offer spa services, grooming, play time, television time and other amenities such as home-cooked meals.
Gone are the days when your pet may not have one-on-one attention for their grooming visit. Pet spas elevate pet grooming to a day of pampering and individualized attention. Your pet can experience high-end pampering: a manicure, bathing, grooming, specialized shampoos, relaxation rooms and spa-worthy snacks.
Many pet owners are feeding their pets gluten-free, wheat-free diets comprised of organic and human grade foods. Entrepreneurs are catering to those tastes by opening pet bakeries. Pet parents can buy cookies, bones, cupcakes and other specially-made treats for their pets to enjoy.
Pet Health Insurance
The humanization of pets and the availability of advanced veterinary care, has increased demand for lifesaving pet medical treatments. Large veterinarian hospitals and specialty clinics can provide a range of advanced treatment options—everything from neurological services to orthopedic surgery. These treatments come at a steep cost to pet parents, bringing about the need for pet insurance.
Pet insurance provides coverage—up to 100% of veterinary medical costs—for unexpected accidents, injuries and illnesses. There are several pet insurance companies offering a variety of plans, so be sure to do your research. Also, it is important to read the contract terms thoroughly before deciding on a pet insurance plan that meets your pet’s unique needs.
Pet Clothing & Accessories
If you dress your dog or cat, you can find numerous places to indulge your fashion sense. There are harnesses disguised as halters, matching leashes and collars, and matching clothing for you and your pet. Collars, harnesses and leashes have gone beyond being utilitarian and moved into the realm of fashionable and functional.
Your dog can sleep on an orthopedic bed specifically designed to help him or her get the best night’s sleep. Constructing a “catio” allows your indoor cats to have access to the out-of-doors with a specially designed structure that offers a way for them to go outside, but remain in a protected space. Cat and dog furniture including treadmills for dogs and castles for your cat to sleep and play in are other options for the pet-lover in your life.
Today's pet parent is on-the-go, and given over two-thirds of Americans own a smartphone, it's easy to see why digital designers continue to develop new pet apps. Everything from pet exercise apps to remote video monitoring, and an all-in-one Pet Cloud for records, vaccine reminders, GPS monitoring, and more.
The market for luxurious and high-end products is growing. Pet parents are willing to open their wallets and checkbooks and do what it takes to pamper their pets. If you have been dreaming of becoming an entrepreneur in the pet industry, look to the items you invest in for your own pets, see if there is a niche in the market that isn’t being filled or put your crafting skills to the test and become the next pet designer.
Robbi Hess, award-winning author, is multi-petual: She shares her home with two Devon Rex kittens, three adult rescue cats, a mini poodle, a Goldendoodle, three lizards and two ferrets. When not caring for her pets, she is an editor, speaker, time management and productivity guru, content creator, social media manager and blogger. She writes at All Words Matter, My Divas Dish, and is the story editor and chief cat herder at Positively Woof.