News / USA

Pampered Pet Business Booms in US

Americans spent $50 billion on their animals in 2011

Deborah Block

At “A Dog’s Day Out” in Alexandria, Virginia, people bring in their dogs to stay either for the day or overnight.

Interior decorator Gay Lynn Fourney is a regular customer. “She’s my little girl, and I just want to make sure that she has a good time during the day while I’m at work, because I do work a lot, and I just don’t want to leave her at home.”

Pampered pooches

Half of all Americans own a pet. According to the American Pet Products Association, one out of every two households keeps a domesticated animal, mostly cats and dogs.

And despite a recession, many pet owners - like Fourney - are spending more money than ever to care for their animals.

At “A Dog’s Day Out” in Alexandria, Virginia, people bring in their dogs to stay either for the day or overnight.
At “A Dog’s Day Out” in Alexandria, Virginia, people bring in their dogs to stay either for the day or overnight.

America's fondness for its animals has created a new and lucrative market for pampering pets. Americans spent $50 billion on their pets last year, up 23 percent since 2007.

Chas Richardson, owner of “A Dog’s Day Out”, has tapped into that market.

He says his business makes a 25 percent profit. “The pet industry continues to explode with growth.  Our market, dog care, we believe has nothing but growth ahead of it.”

Duane Ekadahl, head of the Pet Food Institute, believes the industry has grown because more people are treating their pets like family.  

“People want to return the affection they get from pets," he says, "and so they buy good food, good products, toys and so on.”

Canine cookies

As Americans seek healthier lifestyles, many are adopting a similar approach when it comes to their pets, including better food and dog treats.

Canine cookies are baked daily at “Dogma Gourmet Dog Bakery and Pet Boutique” in Arlington, Virginia.
Canine cookies are baked daily at “Dogma Gourmet Dog Bakery and Pet Boutique” in Arlington, Virginia.

Canine cookies are baked daily at “Dogma Gourmet Dog Bakery and Pet Boutique” in Arlington, Virginia.

“They’re all healthy ingredients," says manager Kamala Mohammed. "We don’t put any added salt, sugar or preservatives into our cookies. In fact, I have some people that come in and buy a cookie for themselves because it’s all human-grade ingredients.”

Judy Smith buys cookies for her three dogs. She owns “Woof Woof Travels”, a pet travel agency, and says more people are traveling with their pets.

“I can tell you which cities are very pet friendly," Smith says, "and once you’ve decide on that, fix you up in a hotel or motel, give you activities that you can do there, including restaurants that are pet friendly.”

Shannon Parker's dog gets a blueberry facial at "Bark and Bubbles” in Fairfax, Virginia.
Shannon Parker's dog gets a blueberry facial at "Bark and Bubbles” in Fairfax, Virginia.

Salon for dogs

The ultimate pampering for pets might be found at dog salons, such as "Bark and Bubbles” in Fairfax, Virginia.

Pets can be washed and groomed, have a birthday party or get a facial.

High school student Shannon Parker opts for the self-serve version. She's giving her dog a blueberry facial while she bathes the animal.

She says coming here to wash her dog is worth the cost. "She kind of gets the water all over the house. For me, it’s just a much better option than me trying to do it myself.”

The business has taken off, according to owner Vicky Pittman.

“I just always felt that it would succeed because it seemed so practical that if I was looking for a place to wash my dogs that there were other people out there looking for the same thing,” she says, addng that dogs have a special place in American society. “People love their dogs. There is a special dog bond.”

You May Like

Multimedia Ferguson, Missouri Streets Calm After Days of Violence

Police official says authorities responded to fewer incidents, noting there were no shootings, Molotov cocktails or fires More

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

For Chanthy Sok, rap infused with Cambodian melodies is a way to pay respect to the survivors of the victims of Khmer Rouge genocide More

Study: Our Life with Neanderthals Was No Brief Affair

Scientists discover thousands of years of overlap between modern humans and their shorter, stockier cousins More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid