From premium dog food and multivitamin pills to doggie spas and doggie diners – we take a look at the proliferation of pet products and services brought about by the phenomenon of ‘humanisation’ of our pets.

Research shows pet humanisation can stem from a number of reasons, including increased loneliness or a need to control our environments in the face of uncertainty. It could therefore be that the recent increase in single-person households and less time for socialising have increased our need for social support, which we find in our faithful pets. This is in line with the reasons most people cite for having a pet, with the need for companionship being the main reason reported by 70% of pet owners.

The results of the Pets are Human Too study of 3,000 British dog and cat owners found that 32% say their pet is a better listener than their human partner; an estimated 41% of pet owners believes that their pet loves them more than their partner, while 24% say they would rather spend quality time with their companion animals over their husband or wife! Is it any wonder that business is booming in the pet world.

And with increased affection comes increased buying – recent US stats show that the more you consider your pet a part of the family the more you spend on them. Click here for more in-depth results:

So what are people pampering their pets with? It ranges from the more normal stuff such as increased purchase of premium dog food, multivitamin pills, functional pet treats (such as rawhide chew toys for dental health, for example) to the more extreme, such as dog houses that are miniature versions of owner’s houses, and the first television channel for dogs!
Health and wellness has been elevated to family status (and above in many cases) with increased purchase of pet insurance and the many related services such as acupuncture and spas. And of course you have the ever-increasing dog training and behavioural advice business. And then there’s the grooming and dog clothing…

A huge segment in the pet industry is dog clothing. Here humanisation of dogs is at its best. Jacket sales continue to grow every year. Brands are being forced to make their jackets in 2” size increments to ensure the perfect fit. Each coat also needs to be adjustable so that different parts of the dog’s anatomy are covered up and protected. People want to know that there is enough insulation inside the jacket to keep their pooches warm (even though dogs don’t need clothes to keep warm!). Dog jackets need to be stylish and keep up with the human fashion trends in terms of colour, fabrics and even the trims (such as reflective piping, decorative zippers, faux fur and bling). Just like the human clothing industry, consumers want to see new styles every Autumn so they can keep up with the latest fashion trends. For more on these intriguing trends have a look here, from a business owner perspective

There’s no signs that the trend towards pet humanisation will stop any time soon – indeed these kinds of attitudes and behaviours appear to be growing among the younger ‘y’ generation. So pooch will continue to be pampered and business should continue to boom.