Listen to the following menu and try to believe if you can, that it doesn’t belong in a Michelin-rated restaurant: roast beef, sushi, meat pie made of pheasant, raspberry compote and strawberry and mango yogurt. If you ever needed proof that pets in America had it better than their human masters, this would have to be it. America is quickly abandoning its traditional 20 pound bag of healthy pet food ordered from the pet store in favor of something a teeny bit more special.
Have you ever set foot in a place called the Global Pet Expo? You’ve been to Disneyland with your kids, haven’t you? The Global Pet Expo would be the doggie equivalent. Take your pet here and prepare to believe how far entrepreneurs will go trying to help you spoil your dog rotten when there is $55 billion involved. You probably don’t get to eat as well as they wish to feed your dog here.
But you mustn’t think that high-priced healthy pet food is as far as the American pet industry is willing to go. You have the option of treating your pet at a pet psychiatrist, buying your pet a full fashion wardrobe every season, getting mouth freshener sprays to help keep your dog’s teeth and mouth healthy, and, thanks to a company called Neuricles, you even get fake testicles that make your neutered dog look whole again. And while no parent would be willing to do something like this to their child, the pet industry calls pet owners, pparents?
The thing is, pet owners, or pet parents, rather, aren’t usually very rich people that they would go to such extremes to pamper their pets. Quite often, they are lower middle class too and they struggle to make their car payments and their student loan payments like everyone else. They just cut into things they would buy for themselves and for their children to be able to pamper their pets like this. There are people who live on welfare who dote on their pets so much, they do without medicines themselves to be able to get blueberry pills for their pet (because, you know, the pills have antioxidants).
If you’ve been looking for an industry to invest in that could prove to be truly recession-resistant, the pet industry has to be your investment mecca. Certainly, during the recession, people did give up their pets at shelters when they could no longer afford them. And since homeownership went down, people no longer bought new pets as much as they did. But the pet industry did clearly go up during the recession – which is more than you can say for most industries. Did you ever wonder about how celebrities always go and put their name to a perfume and clothing line? That’s so 20th century now. Celebrities have their own pet lines these days.
Healthy pet food brands like Blue Buffalo have been flying off the shelves lately even if they cost four dollars a pound. Royal Canin costs about twice that. And these companies have seen their stocks soaring. Is your dog really better off for all this attention though? Well, that would be a completely different question. Pet owners do believe it.