Hot trend: The Humanization of Pets

As devoted pet parents, we are unapologetic about treating our pets like members of the family. And more and more, we are putting our money where our hearts are.

This year alone, the pet industry will take in $63 billion, according to the American Pet Product Association. And much of that growth has been on high-end products and services that go far beyond basic health, safety and nutrition. We are indulging our pets in a manner of very well-kept humans. Here are a few examples of new pet products and services that support the “humanization of pets” trend:

  • An on-demand app to book dog walking sessions.
  • Services that match owners with local hosts who are willing to board their dogs; like Airbnb for dogs.
  • A GPS-enabled tracking device to track your pet’s activity level. Pet owners monitor daily activity goals customized to your dog’s age, breed and weight.
  • The proliferation of designer pet apparel and accessories.
  • On-demand doggie glam squad service that offers at-home nail trimming, human quality dog shampoos, sprays & conditioners, teeth cleaning for dogs and spa services far beyond basic hygiene and health needs.
  • Gourmet, human-quality pet food with trendy people-pleasing ingredients like carrots, sweet potatoes and pumpkin.
  • Apps that connect nearby owners looking to set up “play dates.”

Social media is playing a big role in the humanization of pets. How better to show off your matching manicures and designer outfits? It is estimated that adult dog owners post a picture or talk about their dog on social media six times per week, and one in six pet owners have created a social media account (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, etc.) specifically for their pet in 2016.

Certainly technology is driving this trend, but what other causes are contributing? Social scientists believe it’s a combination of factors: For starters, more Americans live alone — the percentage of single-person households is now at 28% — and millennials are waiting to get married and have children. Meanwhile, retired people are living longer, healthier lives. These multiple trends culminate in a sizeable percentage of people who have the money and time to ensure that their pet is a happy and healthy member or the household.

We suspect that natural pet food families are no different. So we’re asking — where do you fit on the “pets as humans” spectrum? What is the most outrageous thing you’ve ever done for your pet? Where do you draw the line in pet indulgence? We want to hear your stories! We’ll share them in an upcoming blog post.