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U.S. PET OWNERS WANT MORE PAMPERING FOR THEIR PETS

Survey Find Trend To Treat Pets Like Kids Continues to Grow

Remote video monitoring, supervised play groups and routine health check-ups — those are just a few of the services that modern American parents expect for their “kids” from care providers.

In this case, however, the kids are their pets, and the care providers are boarding kennels.

That’s one of the conclusions of the third annual “Kennel of the Future” survey, a national trends survey that looks at changing pet owner attitudes about the care of their pets. The survey, which includes feedback from a total of 1,400 dog and cat owners, was conducted by Best Friends Pet Care, Inc. during 2003.

Among the significant trends uncovered by the survey were the following:

• Almost half of survey respondents (48.5%) said they would like their boarding kennel to offer a video monitoring service so they can “look in” on their pets via the internet while they are away,

• More than 53% said they want their pet to take part in a daily play group with other pets during their boarding stay, and

• 45% said they would play extra for radio or television in their pets’ room.

More amenities, more services

Consistent with the findings of the baseline survey in 2001 survey, pet owners say want the best care money can buy. The survey found that 40% of cat owners and 38% of dog owners would pay for luxury suites with raised beds and rugs for their pets.

The 2003 survey also found that today’s pet owners want the convenience of having all the pet care services they use – boarding, grooming, training and even vet check-ups – available under one roof. Survey respondents who board their pets when they travel indicate that they would like the kennel to offer additional services including:

• More than 70% of survey respondents say they want grooming services at the facility where they board their pets,

• Almost 35% want dog training while their pets are boarding, and

• More than 30% would like their pets to have vet check-ups when they board.

“These trends have been growing since the first survey in 2001,” notes Dennis Dolan, President and CEO of Best Friends Pet Care Inc. “Today’s pet lovers view pets as members of the family. They want their pets to have all the comforts of home when they board. That’s one reason for the success of our Best Friends Pet Resorts & Salons. We offer high quality care and service.”

Online booking

The survey also found that a growing number of pet owners want to book their pets’ boarding reservations online. More than 40% of the 2003 survey respondents indicated that they would like to make reservations online, compared with just 25% two years ago.

However, 50% still want to make their pets’ reservations with a person – either on the phone or face-to-face. That’s because, while amenities are important, the most essential feature for most pet owners is a staff that loves pets. “What’s important to me as that the people who are caring for my dog really love animals,” said one respondent. “I want to know that she’s as well cared for there as she is at home.”

The Kennel of the Future survey was established in 2001 and is administered via e-mail. Participants include pet owners from across the U.S. Of those responding, 1,311 own at least one dog, 377 own at least one cat, and 288 own both a dog and a cat. The survey included questions on the type and location of facilities, services offered preferences for making reservations, room size and special amenities. There was also a section where pet lovers could describe .

For more information visit the Best Friends website at www.bestfriendspetcare.com.



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