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

    Former US Envoys Urge Obama to Delay Troop Cuts in Afghanistan

    Keeping troop levels up during conflict with both Taliban and Islamic State is necessary to support Kabul government, they say

    First Lady to Visit Africa to Promote Girls' Education

    Michele Obama will be joined by daughters and actresses Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto

    Video NYSE Analyst: Brexit Will Continue to Place Pressure on Markets

    Despite orderly pricing and execution strategy at the New York Stock Exchange, analyst explains added pressure on world financial markets is likely

    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.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora