Once upon a time, pet supplies consisted of a couple of toys and a nice, soft pillow to sleep on, but those days are long gone. Modern pet owners have begun to treat their furry friends like one of the family, and pamper them like a child.
Dr. Bruce Durham, Business Administration program director at South University, Online Programs, says pet accessories have now gone beyond typical items like sunglasses and costumes to include more interesting and expensive entities.
“You can buy an animal bed that attaches to your window that allows (your) dog or cat to lie down at the window, catch some sun, and look out into the yard,” Durham says. “There are even beds that contain nanotechnology that prevent pet stains on the fabric.”
Pet clothing has even become more practical, Durham says.
“Instead of the fluffy, weird, and funny costumes people use to ‘dress up’ their cats and dogs, we now see vest accessories being marketed that claim to calm your pet, and reduce its anxiety,” Durham says.
Jennifer Kirk, president/founder of Posh Puppy Boutique, says her store offers many pet accessories with functional purposes.
For example, she says they offer Thundershirts to help anxious pets cope with loud noises like thunder or fireworks.
“It calms the animal and actually makes them feel more secure,” Kirk says.
Another sensible pet accessory sold by the boutique is a coat with reflective gear, which helps others to notice the animal in the dark, if the owner takes it out for walks at night.
While some pet accessories serve a true practical function, Durham says he’s seen a few more out of the ordinary items.
“One of the more interesting items I’ve seen over the past few years are the pet translators — especially the ones for dogs,” Durham says. “They claim to interpret the sounds your pet makes.”
Durham says the Bowlingual Dog Translator is probably one of the better known devices.
“The company claims to have captured and identified over 5,000 dog sounds, interpreted them, and provides you with a device that converts your dogs bark into a text/voice phrase,” Durham says. “It’s even available in an app for your smartphone. So, for those pet lovers who want to communicate with their dogs, there’s an app for that.”
Durham says there are many pet accessories people buy for their furry friends that others believe to be frivolous.
“Things like $350,000 dog house, $10,000 dog collars, and the like,” Durham says. “On the other hand, people love their animals, consider them as family members, and use different accessories to pamper them.”
Durham says that because people often view pets as family members, they tend to want to spoil them in the same way that doting parents and grandparents spoil their children and grandchildren.
“Whether it’s buying a $3 plastic toy for a parakeet, or a $300 Louis Vuitton pet collar, there’s money to be made for retailers large and small,” Durham says. “Even Wal-Mart has realized the value of the pet market, and has partnered with a pet care provider that will groom your pet and provide accessories while you shop.”
Kirk agrees that as people become increasingly more attached to their pets, and they’re willing to spend money on them.
“I think people are treating their pets more and more like a member of their family, therefore dressing them up shows their affection for their animals,” Kirk says. “They become part of their families.”
Pet Accessories are Big Business
Durham says people are spending more money on pet supplies than ever before.
He sites a recent article in Inc., saying that in 2010 there were more than 150 million dogs and cats held as pets in the U.S., in 73 million households. The article states that in 2012, pet owners were projected to spend $53 billion dollars on their pets. It goes on to note that data published by the American Pet Products Association shows that the pet grooming and boarding sector has experience revenue growth for the past five years, despite the recession.
“These are some pretty big numbers that people can use to get a sense of the potential of the pet industry,” Durham says.
For those pet lovers who want to communicate with their dogs, there’s an app for that.
Kirk says her business has remained successful, despite pet owners having less disposable income because of rough economic times over the past few years.
“We started our business 5 years ago before the recession,” Kirk says. “We have successfully maintained our business and have grown year over year, even through the recession. This trend tells me that no matter what, people will tend to their pets because of how much they love them and are a part of their families.”
Durham believes the business of pampering furry friends with elaborate accessories is here to stay.
“Clearly, the pet accessory and grooming businesses have grown over the years, and an increasing number of our students are preparing business plans in this area,” Durham says. “Any first year business student will tell you two things — first, the purpose of a business is to provide goods and services for a profit. Second, entrepreneurs look for needs that are not being filled, and then provide products and services to fill that need for the foreseeable future.”
Fashionable Dog Clothes for Stylish Pooches
Many dog owners strongly believe there’s nothing cuter than seeing their furry friend decked out in cute little dog clothes. In fact, many pampered pooches have wardrobes rivaling that of the average human.
As cute as it can be to see dogs dressed up like people, it can be difficult to get them to agree to wear their outfits.
Kirk recommends that owners start dressing their pooches in dog clothes as puppies, if they’re interested in doing so, to allow them to get comfortable with it from a young age.
“Starting them as puppies gets them used to the clothing or accessories and not knowing any different, pets tend to be accustomed to it and enjoy the attention from their owners,” Kirk says.
The Posh Puppy Boutique offers a wide variety of adorable dog clothes for loving pet owners to dress their furry friends in.
“Dresses are our most popular item for girls,” Kirk says. “Sweaters are big in the winter. Some people that don’t necessarily dress their pets need warmth for their dogs during the winter time.”
Whether dog owners want to dress their pets up for fashion, function, or both there’s countless items out there to choose from.
Author: Laura Jerpi