Why pet care is becoming increasingly tied to our own wellbeing

Byline: Rafi Kalachian, Regional CEO (North America) at H&H Group

From premium nutrition to customised grooming, over the past few decades, product innovation has revolutionised the world of pet care. The global pet care industry has encountered explosive growth – it’s on track to reach over $241 billion by 2026 while, in tandem, domestic pet ownership itself is also on the rise.

About 70 percent of American households – or 90.5 million homes – have a pet, according to 2022 statistics. And during the COVID-19 pandemic, US estimates suggest that one in five households adopted a dog or cat, with researchers revealing that pet owners believed their furry companions had a positive effect on their mental health during this tumultuous time. It’s safe to say pets truly are man’s best friend and are counted as a key member of the family.

With so many families opening their homes to these fluffy new additions, society is seeing a rise in what’s been nicknamed “pet humanisation” – the concept of treating our pets as a crucial member of the household, and tending to their health, happiness, and well-being just like we’d take care of ourselves. 

And we’re seeing this trend across generations – Baby Boomers, Millennials, and Gen Z account for the largest share of total pet spending at up to $1,885 annually, according to industry estimates.


The industry has evolved in response to this cultural change, shifting to capture the interests and needs of owners doting on their pets. 

Pets improve our health and mental wellbeing

A growing area of research is uncovering what pet owners have always known: that our pets are more than just funny companions. 

From lowering stress and improving mood to decreasing risk of heart disease and blood pressure, scientists studying the benefits of human-animal interactions have found plenty of ways pet ownership can do wonders for our physical and mental health.

During the pandemic, pet owners said their dogs motivated them to get out of the house for daily walks, some fresh air, and to interact with their neighbours, according to one study. The people taking part in the study said their pets gave them a “reason to keep going,” maintaining a healthy routine and providing a much-needed distraction as the world grappled with lockdowns, social distancing, and uncertainty from a global crisis.

Beyond COVID-era research, scientists have also linked pet ownership to leading a healthier lifestyle, from fitting in more daily exercise and managing weight, to combatting loneliness and feelings of anxiety.

And the perks are symbiotic, according to research: both pets and their owners are flooded with oxytocin, the so-called bonding hormone, along with decreased levels of cortisol, also known as the stress hormone. 

Pet humanisation and its impact on the industry 

With these findings in tow, it’s no wonder why families cherish their pets.

A testament to how health is now the biggest revenue generator in the pet industry, pet healthcare is no longer just an occasional check up at the vet. Instead, a whole host of innovative solutions and market innovations in the pet care industry is emulating the ever-advancing healthcare world of humans. 

Consumers are health-conscious shoppers, zeroing in on nutrition labels, opting for healthy ingredients, and making environmentally friendly choices. This mindset is extending to their pet’s diet, too. Over 60 percent of US pet owners are willing to pay more for foods that target their pets’ dietary needs – with some selecting alternative pet diets, ranging from flexitarian and pescetarian to organic and ethically sourced. In a recent survey polling 2,000 dog and cat owners, two in three pet owners said they wish they could be their furry friends for a day, especially because 65 percent of pet owners spoil their pets daily with food, treats, and toys.

Pet supplements is an area which has experienced significant growth, with its global market size valued at $1.9 billion in 2021 and forecast to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 5.9 percent from 2022 to 2030. This upwards trend in the use of supplements to support the health and wellness of pets has been addressed by Zesty Paws and its growing line of functional supplements that support pets of all ages and life stages. From behavioural to immune support for cats and dogs, Zesty Paws provides innovative formulas and formats for pet parents to easily incorporate supplements into their pet’s diets and routines. 

Additionally, Solid Gold Pet’s gut health product range, featuring a variety of holistic food for dogs and cats, offers superfoods and proteins to help deliver balanced nutrition to pets. We anticipate this consumer focus on wellness will continue to flourish post-pandemic, in which the heightened sense of health awareness amongst consumers continues to permeate through the pet care world. 

Though we have always had an affinity with pets, advances in human healthcare over the last few decades have seeped into the landscape of the pet care industry. And that deep bond between humans and their pets is impacting how pet parents address their companion’s physical and emotional needs.

Overall, it’s clear that the increase in consumer expenditure is driven by a mutually beneficial outcome: the happier the pet, the happier the pet parent.

Byline: Rafi Kalachian, Regional CEO (North America) at H&H Group

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