We all know that everything is bigger in America (the sky, the cars, the meal portions…), and that includes the pet industry, which is the largest in the World.
And it’s growing quickly too… in the past decade, Americans’ spending on pets has more than doubled. That’s some serious dollar action - an estimated £100bn every year - most of it on dogs! Those lucky American pooches really do have a wonderful life, with their owners shelling out between $35,000 and $42,000 during their lifetime on food, apparel, medical treatments and, of course, grooming.
Here are the top five big things we found out;
1. Dog Food is going crazy.
Long past organic, natural, free-from and all of the other ‘human’ crossover trends, we’re now seeing a whole range of new foods for dogs. Skins, exotic animals, supplements, enhanced water, crisps, cheese, nuts, cakes, ice-creams, pasta, insects… and a lot of snacks you can share with your dog. Who wouldn’t love to split the popcorn bowl with the hound on the sofa watching Netflix?!
2. At the other end of the, ahem, spectrum: lots of new ideas to manage toileting.
This one is also for cats. With so many pets in apartments without access to a garden - dealing with toilet needs generally means innovations like mats and pads to replicate a dog’s natural environment, or devices they can be trained to use in-home. So yes, welcome to catty- and doggy- toilets. Some even have advanced technology to analyse their waste, so owners can be informed about nutrition and overall health. It’s a smart-loo for your dog!
3. Introducing…. Beauty!
We’ve seen this one coming for a few years now, which is why we developed Sniffe & Likkit products to be as good as their human equivalents. But now, the industry is openly talking about a beauty section for dogs. It’s not (yet) mascaras and nail polishes… but it recognises the need for high-quality, effective and beautifully packaged products; to help your dog look, feel and smell amazing. And much like beauty for humans, it also includes things for the home (like candles and fragrances), accessories like brushes and driers, and gift sets.
4. A dog is now a lifestyle, not a pet.
Enjoy hiking? There are brands for outdoorsy dogs making everything you need to be safe on the mountain trail. Enjoy the gym? Welcome to protein shakes for muscular dog breeds. Enjoy thrash metal music? There are harnesses, leads and collars to match your Iron Maiden look. Into spirituality and holistic wellness? There are talismanic charms for your dog’s collar, made by Shaman in California. Live a City life? You can fill a wardrobe with fashion and accessories for dogs to complement your own look this season. We could go on… but the point is that dogs are now a part of their owner’s overall lifestyles. Heading out and about with them in their daily lives is now the norm, not just sitting at home waiting for playtime. And that’s a big change.
5. Owning a dog is much more fun than shopping for one.
Now, this is an exciting insight; maybe we can relate to it here in the UK. Every owner wants the best for their dog because they fill them with delight and companionship and joy and wonder. But go to your average petshop aaaaandd…. well, sometimes it’s a little underwhelming. This is why some fantastic new online pet retailers are snowballing in the USA and working out how to delight their (human and doggy) customers and keep them coming back for more. Probably the best known is chewy.com, and we met plenty of people who don’t shop elsewhere.