PetCoach Reviews 2016, Predicts 2017 Trends
What pet industry drivers of last year will carry over into the new year, and what can pet lovers expect in 2017?
PetCoach, a consumer tech, media and health service platform for pet owners based in Wayne, Pa., reviews the big trends that drove the buying decisions of dog- and cat-owning Americans in 2016, and the company gives its predictions on how pets will be cared for in 2017.
6 Trends From 2016
1. Nearly Unlimited Pet Food Choices
Last year saw an immense increase in the volume and variety of pet foods available to consumers, with grain-free diets and diet “mix-ins” (packaged ingredients designed to complete the nutritional profile of raw or home-cooked diets). Then, there were new players such as The Farmer’s Dog and NomNomNow, which sell pre-cooked, portion-controlled, home-delivered meals that cater to a pet’s individual tastes—at premium pricing.
2. Grain-free and Paleo Pet Diets
Consumers who experience problems digesting grains often want to feed their pets the same way. So pet food manufacturers began marketing grain-free foods as well, some as a treatment for food allergies, others to mimic human food trends. The truth is that true food allergies in pets are relatively rare, and allergies to grains are almost unheard of. In fact, many of the grain alternatives in these foods—such as potatoes and tapioca—have much higher levels of sugars, so these diets are often higher in calories than foods containing grains.
3. Treats Consumption Increases … but Beware of Sources
In 2015, the market for pet treats increased by 40 percent, with no slowdown in 2016. Dental treats, holiday-themed treats, rawhide and other natural chews such as jerky are popular items. However, beware the origins of jerky treats. More than 6,000 dogs have been sickened and 1,140 have died since 2013, with jerky treats made in China suspected of being the cause. Manufacturers have begun to steer clear of Chinese processing facilities, said PetCoach, which encourages pet owners to look for “made in the USA” labeling when buying these treats.
4. The Rise of Personalized Pet Care and Telemedicine
Veterinary telemedicine opened up access to care for many, helping people understand treatment options and diagnoses, and making pet owners better consumers of veterinary care. Apps such as PetCoach enable pet owners to get advice and answers from veterinarians about their pet’s health, behavior or nutrition problems. Pets still need to be seen regularly by their veterinarians for hands-on physical examinations, but now some chronic problems or follow-up visits can be handled using telemedicine, enabling pets to get more regular care.
5. Like Us, Our Pets Got Fatter … But There Is Hope
Despite all the publicity around pet obesity, our cats and dogs continue to get fatter. We saw many innovative approaches to getting pets moving in 2016: the increase of pet-centered yoga classes, and even triathlons with dogs and their owners competing together. Activity trackers, such as FitBark, also grew in popularity. These devices permit pet owners to not only track their pet’s whereabouts, but also get important data about activity levels and sleep efficiency. Also, they can help veterinarians make sure owners are in compliance with post-surgical exercise restrictions, and to monitor pets with certain conditions when owners aren’t home.
6. Pets and Pot?
With the legalization of recreational and/or medical marijuana in many states, people began to wonder whether this plant might help animals as well. Cannabidiol (CBD) oil, a nonpsychoactive extract used by people suffering from disorders such as epilepsy and anxiety, can now be found in dog treats. However, pet owners should remember that pets can become critically ill when they ingest marijuana, so don’t experiment on your pets with marijuana until states figure out the legalities, and determine the therapeutic doses and indications.
To see the complete article on 2016 pet care trends, click here.
6 Trends Predicted for 2017
1. More Cities Will Ban Pet Store Pet Sales
More municipalities will follow the hundreds to date that have outlawed the sale of puppies and kittens in pet stores, according to PetCoach.
2. Increased Access to Personalized Veterinary Services
More pet owners will seek at-home care for their pets, whether through mobile veterinary visits or veterinary telemedicine. Mobile veterinary care is becoming available in more areas, and not only because pet owners want it, but because mobile care models offer veterinarians alternatives to the high stress of traditional practice. We envision a practice of the future that combines the in-office care of the fully equipped “traditional” veterinarian with the convenience of a mobile visit (when necessary), along with 24/7 access to virtual veterinarians. With the sharing of patient care data, we’ll see more care integration between all three methods, ensuring more options for pet owners and better overall pet health care.
3. Pet Owners Will Spend More on Specialty Care
Multiple advancements in research on diseases and drugs have opened the door for more money being spent on specialists for advanced treatments. Pet health insurance has been around for more than 30 years; however, now we are seeing real growth in the U.S. In 2015, 12 percent more pet health insurance was purchased, and it’s expected that 2016’s growth will be shown to be larger once numbers are available. The increase in pet insurance and rise of veterinary specialty chains such as Blue Pearl Veterinary Partners allows pet owners to consider more expensive treatments than they would be able to afford on their own.
4. Baby Boomers Will Continue to Spend Big on Pets
No trend piece would be complete without considering the high-earning and high-spending baby boomers. With children grown and off of the payroll, they’ll focus more of their considerable resources on pets. While previous generations have owned fewer pets as they aged, baby boomers have acquired more. It follows that they’ll spend their pet funds on products and services that enhance their bonds and make it easier to care conveniently for them.
5. Millennials Forego Kids for Pets
When examining pet ownership of the American population as a whole, 50 percent own dogs and 35 percent own cats. For millennials, the numbers are 75 percent and 51 percent, respectively. Compared to their same-aged counterparts of 50 years ago, they’re half as likely to be married or living with a partner, and they’re pushing off parenthood until later as well. More than any other generation, the pets of millennials are their children—they are more willing to splurge on their pets than boomers, especially when it comes to buying clothes. Hopefully, they also will be willing to spend well on veterinary services, increasing the longevity and quality of their pets’ lives.
6. Positive Adoption Trends Will Continue
Pet ownership is at an all-time high and, compared with previous decades, Americans are adopting more pets from shelters than ever before. From 1973 to 2007, the animal shelter euthanasia rates in this country dropped by more than 60 percent, thanks to increased awareness as well as a continued rise in the number of foster groups and nongovernment funded shelter organizations.
To see the complete article on 2017 pet care predictions, click here.