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

    Vietnam Urges US to Lift Lethal Weapons Ban Amid S. China Sea Tensions

    US president’s upcoming visit to Vietnam underscores strength of relationship, and lifting embargo would reflect that trust, ambassador says

    Are US Schools Turning a Blind Eye to Radical Qatari Preachers?

    Parade of radical Islamist clerics using mosque at Qatar’s Education City draws mounting criticism for American universities that maintain satellite branches there

    Why Islamic State Is Down But Not Out

    Despite loss of territory, group’s ferocious attacks over past three months seen as testimony to its continued durability and resourcefulness

    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.
    Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroadi
    X
    May 02, 2016 1:36 PM
    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora