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How Senior Pets are Driving Growth of Functional Pet Foods


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Functional pet food products, designed for preventive healthcare or to address specific pet health conditions, are positioned to play a pivotal role in overall industry growth, according to the report Pet Industry Outlook: Veterinary Services and Pet Product Retailing, which was conducted by market research firm Packaged Facts.

"Just as many Americans are proactive about their own health diet-wise, a sizeable majority of pet owners believe the pet foods they buy have a strong impact on the health of their pets," said David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts.

Survey data published in the report reveal that 72 percent of dog and 67 percent of cat owners agree that "High-quality dog foods/cat foods are effective for preventive healthcare," and more than a three-fourths of dog and cat owners agree that "targeted pet foods with special nutrition formulations are beneficial to pets with specific health concerns." Top functional foods sought by dog and cat owners include:

  • Oral/dental health formulas
  • Skin and coat/long hair formulas
  • Senior/mature formulas
  • Weight management formulas
  • Joint/mobility formulas
  • Digestive/sensitive stomach formulas
  • Hairball formulas (for cats)

Many of these conditions are related to the graying of America's companion animals, according to Packaged Facts. Dogs and cats are living longer, and as a result are dealing with are suffering from age-related conditions including joint, coronary, cognitive and immune-system-related, as well as diabetes and cancer. Senior-targeted pet products cover all of these needs as well as routine daily concerns, and because of their more specialized health focus, senior products and services are typically priced well above the market average, the report said. 

Older pet populations also drive human-style advancements in veterinary care, medications and supplements supported by newer payment options such as pet insurance, according to the report. Moreover, as pets age, the human/animal bond deepens, creating an increased willingness among pet owners to do whatever it takes to keep their pets healthy and happy for as long as possible. Because of all these factors, Packaged Facts forecasts functional pet food targeting conditions related to aging will have excellent growth prospects in coming years.

The report forecasts market growth for veterinary services in the overall context of pet food and non-food products and non-medical pet services. The analysis provided tracks the diversifying ways pet owners can access veterinary services, the impact pet superstores and online retailers have on veterinary channel trends, new and upcoming products shaping veterinary care services and revenues, the impact of "pet parents" and Millennial pet owners on market trends, the effects of pet population and health trends on the veterinary practices, and the trump card of veterinarian influence on pet owners, pet product purchases, and pet health and wellness.

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