Pet business is nothing to bark about

Canadians have never been more in love with household pets.

According to the latest statistics from the Canadian Animal Health Institute (CAHI), there are 8.2 million dogs and 8.3 million cats in Canadian households.

That’s a ten per cent increase over the past ten years, reports CAHI.

This equates to approximately 41 per cent of all homes having one dog, or 37 per cent having one cat.

It’s no surprise then that the pet business is booming.

Food for thought

Pet owners are concerned with the health and safety of their furry friends now more than ever.

According to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (Ag Canada), a third of respondents in a recent UK study said their dog or cat’s health and wellbeing was of greater concern to them than their own.

That means scrutinizing food more closely and not just buying the kibble on sale at the grocery store.

Specialty and big box pet stores have expanded across Canada occupying massive retail square footage in nearly every urban centre with expansive food product lines.

The global pet industry was recently valued around $116.6 billion (US), with the lion’s share of that going towards pet food specifically at $84.5 billion (US).

Expansion of pet care options

With the humanizing of animals as “part of the family,” comes a need for expanded services than what pets have traditionally enjoyed.

This has opened a wealth of opportunities for businesses right in Saskatoon including Furbaby Pet Care, who recently opened its doors to a new facility with some unique services.

24/7 boarding, mobile pet massage, pet taxi for appointments, in home sitting, and scheduled dog walking are just a few roles they provide.

Validating their status as a true 24-hour facility, staff actually sleep alongside their charges.

Furbaby offers daily daycare or drop in for two indoor parks separating small and large dogs.

As a dog parent, I will truly welcome this luxury come January when my furry one is bouncing off the walls because it’s -30 outside.

The owner, Jocelyn Davey-Hawreluik, made the investment to become a certified canine massage therapist in addition to certified professional pet sitter because she saw a gap in the market.

Along with her designations, all staff at the Furbaby facility must possess Pet Saver, pet first aid and CPR training.

While this may seem like overkill to some people, Davey-Hawreluik believes people will pay to know their pets are truly comfortable in capable hands.

Bigger picture

Another trend identified by Ag Canada is that pet owners are more likely to support brands and businesses that show humanitarian work towards animals.

Most manufacturers of pet food, for example, have partnered with rescue or adoption centres.

“Mission-based marketing” is one of the strongest trends in the pet industry, they add.

Market analysts predict the strength of the pet industry still has plenty of room to grow too. Optimism in our commercial real estate world for pet related businesses is understandably high.

Unlike other industries that seem to have buckled under the challenge of online commerce, there continues to be a need for brick and mortar storefronts for pet retailers.

I can only assume I am in good company as I sink embarrassing amounts of disposable income into my dog’s lifestyle. That’s right, it’s her world now, I’m just in it.

Posted by Kelly Macsymic

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