by: Carol Bryant
specialists to specialty food, some of the biggest changes in the way we treat, view, and live with pets over the past 20 to 30 years have been in healthcare, pet products, safety, and training.
up, who amongst us remembers taking the family dog on summer vacations, walking
the aisles of pet-oriented superstores to purchase products for our cat or ferret, or reading about canine couture at week-long
fashion events in big cities? Few amongst us can admit to engaging in such pet fun years ago mostly because we, as a society, didn't embrace such notions.
We've come a long way since then (thankfully).
years ago, you were not the "norm" if your pet was considered a kid. Today, pets are treated like children—they go
to daycare, are walked by pet sitters, live inside, sleep on the bed and are
fed better foods. And pet parents wouldn't have it any other way. Here are 8 shocking changes in pet parent history that have evolved over the past few decades:
8. Food: Remember the tainted pet food scare of recent years?
Demand for better products and many switching to a homemade diet for their dogs
led to higher standards and a more consumer-driven quality pet food market. The pet food industry is very competitive in terms of pet food products. This competition results in the creation of excellent
products for pets, but buyers must still beware. Rule of thumb: Flip the product around and read the label on the back: Are these ingredients you want your pet to eat? We don't mind doing the homework, because after all: Our pets are a part of the family.
7. Pet Health Insurance: Our dog went to the vet when she absolutely needed to or when it was time for vaccines, but that was about it: Of course that was the 70s and my how times have changed. A
random search of 'pet insurance' online reveals dozens of companies in the
business of providing health coverage to pets do in the same (and often better)
way as his human counterparts. If an insurance company
will pay a large percentage of a pet's fees for an illness, pet parents are much
more likely to allow the veterinarian to provide the optimal diagnostics and
care for the pet.
6. Pet Toys and Treats: Thousands of pet items hit the marketplace every single year. As pet bloggers and micro-bloggers, we appreciate this and are the front lines to pet parents. They seek our knowledge, expertise, product reviews, and first hand industry insights. Food- dispensing treats
like Kong, pooper scoopers and cute clean-up bags, designer crates and bedding,
even leashes and collars, these are all new in the last 30 years. While perusing the trade show floor at the Global Pet Expo in Florida earlier this year, which by the way spans the size of
14 football fields, the boost in pet products was evident. There, the American Pet Products Association (APPA)
forecast more than $55.5 billion in spending in 2013 across all segments
of the pet industry, surpassing the $53.33 billion spent in 2012 by 4.1
5. Lingo: The language of pet parenting has also evolved. Mutts are now designer dogs, shelters have become adoption centers, a dog coop is an indoor kennel, biscuits are handcrafted snacks, the dog catcher is gone and replaced with canine code enforcement, and well-behaved is now today's Canine Good Citizen. I don't recall having any friends who called capybara, ferrets, or pot bellied pigs as pets. This now not only the norm but very much embraced.
4.Medical Care: Too many veterinarians or not enough? We have gone the specialty route and pets are being treated better and living longer for it. Cardiologists to oncologists, behaviorists and dermatologists: Can you recall taking a pet to one of these specialists growing up? When would there ever be a pet summer safety guide 20 years ago? Today, we write them, share them, and engage with them.
3. Training: The methods have improved, positive reinforcement is the proven way to train pets, and thanks to social media, we hold one another accountable in the way we treat animals. Humane is the way to go; we know that pets have feelings and respond better to positive reinforcement. No-pull harnesses, training classes, and hiring behaviorists have filtered in to society and we wag for them.
2.Travel: Over 49 percent of U.S. adult leisure travelers consider their pet to be
part of the family and 18 percent of U.S. adult leisure travelers
usually take their pets with them when they travel. (Source: travelhorizonsTM, July 2009). As a dog mom who has traveled with her dogs for over 20 years and can count the number of times I've taken a trip without a dog on one hand, I can attest to this first hand and paw. Even BlogPaws prides themselves on having a pet-welcoming conference every year. Pet friendly has evolved into pet welcoming. We want our family members with us. The pet parent evolution has become a revolution, and pet travel is high atop that list.
When we can't take our pets along, we enlist the services of dog walkers, pet sitters, pet daycare, and more. We want our family members to be watched over with safety ensured.
We are also taking safety measures to ensure our pets are harnessed, belted, and secured in a moving vehicle.
1. Pet Bloggers: As a society, we've become more insular – even though the first word
in "social media" beckons otherwise. We've grown inward and the more we
nest inside our abodes, we want someone to curl up and take shelter
with. Enter Fido, Fluffy, Ferret, Flying Bird, Swimming Fish, etc….
Animals are a part of the family. Even though the overall economic recovery is taking longer than
annual revenue growth in pet products and services is anticipated to
continue at the rate of 4.4 percent through 2016. How many industries do
you know that can boast those truths? When the economy does improve,
imagine how much more money will be spent on pets. Why does this matter?
You, dear pet blogger and fellow animal writer are the voice of the
pets, by the pets, and for the pets. And companies are listening.
What other changes have impacted our pets over the last 20-30 years? We'd love your feedback in the comments below. Happy pet parenting!
I think it is indicative in part of the impact of the Internet as well as the general feelings of owners for pets but today’s pet owner is more informed. Since they have a means of educating themselves by web sites, forums, help groups, they can look at behaviors, diseases, treatments and enter into a much more active role with their vet to provide appropriate care when needed. Gone are the days when a pet guardian will say, “my vet said to do such and such but I don’t know why”.
These days it’s as if pets become a part of the family, and we spend just as much on their wellbeing as we do on our kids! This is probably due to massive vets bills of course. Interesting post, well expressed!
I agree with your very well written article! I am glad the view of dogs have changed from just a pet to a member of the family. Dogs are just wonderful creatures that love life and can teach us all how to love life if we follow their lead.
I would like to add the abundance of toys, beds, furniture, and clothes for pets. I love it! My cats hate to dress and Geoff is on their side, so they have no clothes. But we sit around the perimeter of our/their livingroom and the entire middle is dedicated to them for playing, napping, or just meditating. I would not change a thing about that.