And they call it puppy love
The American Animal Hospital Association surveyed 1,238 pet owners about attitudes toward their pets. Their most recent report says:
- 45 percent of pet owners chose their pet when asked, "Who listens to you best?" Only 30 percent picked a spouse or significant other.
- 39 percent say they have more photos of their pet than of their spouse.
- 82 percent of pet owners think about their pet at least once while they are away from home during the day.
- 95 percent say, "I love you" to their pets.
- 70 percent sign their pets' names on greeting cards.
- 33 percent of dog owners talk to their dogs on the phone or leave messages for them on answering machines while they are away.
- 50 percent would want to have a dog or a cat—rather than a human—as a companion on a deserted island.
The American Pet Products Manufacturers Association reports that 63 percent of U.S. households, or 69.1 million homes, own a pet. And, according to the APPMA, this year's hottest trend is pet services, which includes everything from pet travel agents (who find pet-friendly accommodations) to massage therapists.
Pet hotels are replacing kennels, and dogs that stay at places such as the Cozy Inn Pet Resort in Pittsburgh can get Swedish massages, hot oil treatments or therapeutic body scrubs. If they don't want to swim laps in the inn's pool, they can relax, in sunglasses, on lounge chairs. In Philadelphia, the Hotel Mazzu offers luxury suites for dogs and cats. Rates vary by size, from $80 to $125 for dogs, $60 for one cat and $90 for two. Suites have platform beds, linens, toys, TV, unlimited spring water, climate control and daily maid service.
Doggie playdates are becoming commonplace, and specialized classes such as sheepherding, agility and freestyle dancing give dogs something to do and help give owners (oops—guardians) a way to bond with their dogs. APPMA expects sales for pet services to have reached $2.4 million in 2005, up nearly 40 percent in five years.
Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVII/number 3/p. 104