All pet business sectors are growing as pet ownership expands, but it’s the high end – the really expensive goods and services – that’s booming. The American Pet Products Manufacturers Association’s 2006 review of industry trends and data gives these examples of high-end items in high demand:
• Luxury Items. Feathered beds, faux mink coats, Halloween costumes, monogrammed sweaters, rhinestone tiaras, and manicures with nail polish, may cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Leather animal carriers with holders for cell phones and water bottles keep the pet owner in style, too.
• More Manufacturers and Retailers. Paul Mitchell (shampoos), Old Navy (attire) and Omaha Steaks (gourmet treats) have joined the pet supply train. Retailers new to the pet field include Home Depot, and nursery and garden stores across the country.
• High-Tech and Do-It-Yourself. Selfwarming pet mats, self-cleaning litter boxes, and programmable feeding and drinking systems help pets take care of themselves. Automatic doors, touchactivated toys, computerized ID tags and digital aquarium kits are newly on the market.
• Traveling Aids. Not only are many hotels allowing pets, but they also are supplying sleep aids like pillows, plus toys and treats. For pets on the road, there are seat belts, portable carriers and harnesses, and waste disposal, feeding and drinking systems.
• Relaxation Items. For dogs, there are doggie massagers and fresh water always available from flowing fountains. For cats, there are toy gyms, feline spas and herbal catnip. For more info, see www.appma.org.