April 30, 2005
One of the reasons that pet insurance is growing more popular (although you might not know it because less than one half of one percent of the US cats and dogs are insurered - big growth is hardly noticable to you and me) is because of the humanization of pets - we are treating our cats and dogs more like children than ever before.
I was reading an article about a new research report by Research and Markets on Pet Food and Pet Care Products in United States. I was actually struck by the headline that asserts the "proliferation of pet superstores has been [a] significant growth factor for [the] US pet food and pet care products market." Hmmm, I wonder if there wasn't the demand, would they have grown so much? Seems to me a bit of the chicken and the egg here.
But I digress... the article summarized the humanization of pets reasonably well, even if in a rather stodgy and formal way. It said:
The "humanisation" of pets is a continuing trend, whereby pets (particularly dogs and cats) are increasingly cared for according to human patterns, and human aesthetic standards are applied to pets. Pets are increasingly regarded as family members, and are often considered as equivalent to children in the level of attention and care they gain from pet owners. This has led to a heightened awareness of the special health needs associated with pets at different developmental stages, and an increased tendency to pamper pets with toys and treats that are not really needed from a care or nutritional standpoint. The continued development of cosmetics for pets is an example of this trend, with new products such as bath wipes, scented shampoos and aromatherapy candles. Other pet-related product markets continued to utilise this desire to extend human provisions, such as pet insurance, pet clothing, pet energy bars, and even things like a cat-oriented cafe and pet yoga classes.
I highlighted the cosmetic, bath wipes, scented shampoos and aromatherapy candles part. Isn't that what it's all about it? That we would buy these things for our pooches and pusses (although I don't think Barnes would be too impressed with scented shampoo, no matter how lovely it smelt!)?
Perhaps we could create a "humanization index " where we would track the sales of bath wipes, scented shampoos and aromatherapy candles. Maybe at some point, these will become mainstream and everyone will be buying them.
Barnes, time for your bath...?