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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid