In the bone-chilling predawn of a New England winter, they're there. Along the wind-swept plains of the Midwest, they're there. The fit and the flexible, the tanned and the trim can be seen with theirs, running along beaches and through lush mountainside parks in the West. Dogs seem to be everywhere these days, welcome in more and more places such as chic restaurants and destination hotels and resorts. Traditionally as welcome as fleas, dogs have become such a part of the family that vacations just aren't complete without the family pet - and businesses are cluing into this phenomenon.
...dogs have become such a part of the family that vacations just aren't complete without the family pet - and businesses are cluing into this phenomenon
In 2010 there were approximately 72.5 million dogs owned by over 42,000,000 households.1 Additionally, just a whisker under half of those households consider their dog or dogs to be a part of the family. With numbers like these it should come as no surprise that industry and aligned services have perked up their ears and realized that revenues are waiting to be tapped.
You can pamper your dog at salons, spas, and day-long vacations at various locations across the country. Dog walkers charge from $15 and up, and even the swankiest, toniest hotels in trendsetting spots up and down the coasts and around the world will make way for your dog, at often eyebrow-raising fees. Heading to South Beach? Bring your pal along, but it will cost between $50-150. Las Vegas can go up to $200, with Los Angeles and New York close behind. Most hotels have weight restrictions (from 50-75 pounds), but you can be sure your dog will be treated well while he's in residence.
... dry dog food shot up from $5.3 billion dollars in 2003, to $8 billion in 2010 - that's a 50% increase in seven years
Perhaps the most important thing you'll spend money on for your dog is his food. People are spending more these days, not just in the natural course or rising prices, but in the per package price they're willing to pay. According to the Euromonitor International,2 a leading strategic research company specializing in consumer markets, net sales of dry dog food shot up from $5.3 billion dollars in 2003, to $8 billion in 2010 - that's a 50% increase in seven years. The sale of wet dog food, often used as an additive or a special treat for dogs, rose by a comparatively modest $100 million in the same period. Dog treats, not incidentally, saw revenues pass the $2 billion mark in 2010, an enormous sum to pay to coo good girl.
Additionally, the market looks to be on the rise, with little to stop the increase in sales or to lessen demand. Euromonitor International sees the market for dry dog food increasing by 4% in 2011 alone (that's roughly another $80 million). This is fueled by a slight rebound in consumer confidence in 2010 that will see a subsequent increase in the number of dogs owned in the United States. What is interesting is the corollary between the increase in disposable income retained by the consumer as unemployment rates ease, and the willingness to spend that readily on higher quality pet food. Perhaps we will want to reward our dogs for standing by us when times were tough. Whatever the reason, we can feel confident that dogs in the United States today are at their peak of being cared for, pampered, and well-fed.
1Households statistic: http://www.census.gov/prod/1/pop/p25-1129.pdf. Dogs-owned formula supplied by the American Veterinary Medical Association: http://www.avma.org/reference/marketstats/ownership.asp#formulas
2Euromonitor National - Dog Food in the US 2011 - http://www.euromonitor.com/dog-food-in-the-us/report