Dog loving products and services emerge very quickly. The pet pampering trend continues. With the growth in baby boomer and empty-nester households and more people delaying marriage and children, the place that pets have in a household has been elevated. Ever thought of it? Postponing pregnancy is actually a market driver for the pet supply and pet food industry.
Magazines and heavy marketing campaigns further encourage pet pampering as these relate to your dog as being a member of the family. This is called "pet humanization". And when a dog is considered a furry family member, then the sky is the limit! Celebrities showing off their dogs dressed in posh clothing further add fuel to this trend.
Pet humanization perhaps is the biggest trend in the dog industry today.
When Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe and Latin America regions are switching from feeding table scraps to commercial dog food, Western Europe and North America are upgrading from economy brands to premium and super premium dog food. It is estimated that over 17 million US households quality as premium pet product demographics. At the moment, this is one-third of all pet-owning households in the US but this trend just keeps going.
In 2006 half of all new pet food products were tagged 'upscale'. Also the non-food products are becoming more luxurious as one third of all new developments in this area can be classified as such. In the US, 94% of pet supply retailers are planning to expand on their selection of pet health and pet pampering products within one year.
The pet food business is trying to get a better understanding of today's premium pet product consumer. Multiple market analysis agencies are gathering information regarding level of dog (and cat) ownership, brand preferences, household income etc. and selling these reports to the industry. It's a 47 billion US dollar market and it keeps growing. Every dog food manufacturer and pet supply designer wants a bite out of the pie. This specialty market attracts new small businesses.
A few examples of upscale dog products you can find in pet boutiques and up-scale specialty shops. When cost is not a factor, there are so many possibilities to show the world just how much you value your dog.
If you like it and you can afford it, it's fine. It won't hurt your pet, though he may not be that impressed either. In fact, a lot of the items you think you are buying for your dog you are actually buying for yourself!
Dogs are not very demanding creatures. They just want good care, tasty and nutritious food and each day a few hours of your time.
Just always keep his well-being in mind especially when you go off and buy clothes and hats. Some dogs need a little support when it's cold and rainy, though most are fine without an additional jacket.
Businesses know you value your pet and they will take luxury items from the human world and put an animal spin on them. I mean… did you really think the Petcell was developed with your dog in mind? The Petcell is a bone-shaped GPS cell phone you can attach to your doggie's collar. You can track down your canine friend when he has run off so this is actually a product for your convenience. Well… ok and a bit for your dog as well, since lost dogs can run into all kinds of trouble.
Not all innovations are good and some are just horrific, such as anti-bark collars and 'invisible' fences. Your dog is not an object that should be controlled using pain and punishment. Instead loving guidance and training will help establish a bond between the two of you. Then living together is easy, plain and simple.
By nature, dogs are ambitious creatures. Living in packs they all want to be the alpha or at least rise up one or two positions in the hierarchy. In society dogs as a breed have made serious promotion. Their status went from garbage-eating sleep-in-the-garage animal to furry-VIP. Points for them!
Where is that thin line between loving your dog and spoiling him? There is a difference between expressing love and just buying the most luxurious custom made doggie clothes. In fact, one has nothing to do with the other! One could buy a platinum golden chihuahua necklace just to show off, which has nothing to do with love.
In my opinion you should respect the nature of the beast at all times. Before you spend your money, ask yourself this: “Do I want this for me or do I want this for my dog?” Custom-made beds with his likeness carved in the headboard would definitively be something you buy for yourself, which is fine. When given a choice, your dog would most likely opt for good dog food, healthy exercise and more quality time with you.
Your dog would also prefer to play with you instead of getting a new toy. Don't fall into the trap of buying gifts to substitute for your increased work hours away from home.
Most fundamental is the relationship between you and your dog. Don't let his bark rule your life! When your dog respects you as the alpha in the house and obeys your commands then pampering is not an issue. However, when your dog growls at you or ignores your commands then giving in or bribing him with a delicious treat can be dangerous practice.
Of course I cannot decide on the value of your time, though remember that a dog is a pack animal. You choose to enrich your life by having a dog and with this come several responsibilities. A dog is a social creature and doesnt like to be alone for longer periods of time. Your dog wants to be part of your family so include him as often as you can.
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