Canadians’ love for their animals goes far beyond nutrition and basic medical attention. It’s moved into a more consumer-oriented direction, which includes pet-wearable technology, human-grade diets, and child-minding-like care for when owners go on vacation or to work.
For some of us, this may seem over the top. But, if you’re one of the many pet owners across Canada (with pets in more than half of the country’s homes), it’s right in line with the expanding Canadian pet culture.
Pet ownership is pricier now than ever before, but not just because typical services like vet visits are increasing in price. It’s because our pets are increasingly being considered members of our family.
This new found familial status brings with it the extravagances of modern life, including high-end dining, hotel stays, and high tech gadgets to match our own connected lifestyles.
Canadians spend $6.6 billion a year on their pets. And increasingly, more urban couples are opting to become pet owners. A recent pet food industry report suggested that there is a link between the fact that more city-dwelling couples are getting dogs and that more of us are waiting until we are older to have kids.
The biggest part of spending still goes to food, as a lot of it gets more expensive. Canadians shell out big bucks to feed their pets, making pet food a thriving, multi-billion dollar industry.
If you need more evidence that pets are treated just like children, look no further than purchasing decisions of us as pet owners. We purchase holiday presents, designer outfits, and specialty shampoos for our pets.
As we make pets more important parts of our families, naturally, manufacturers have followed and introduced products that are less about basic survival needs. Premium pet foods and eco-friendly pet services are on the rise, as well as pet sitting and dog-walking services, puppy daycare, and pet spas.
And don’t forget emergency supplies, like a grab & go kit. During an evacuation, pets need supplies just like their human counterparts.
Older Canadians are largely feeding the industry’s growth, with some evidence suggesting pets are filling the void left by their children who have grown and moved away from home.
There is a body of science that now validates that pets are good for us. Having a constant, affectionate companion helps reduce stress and lower blood pressure. And the simple act of a daily walk provides fitness many of us would not otherwise achieve in our daily routines.
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Just as we use devices to connect remotely with other people, Canadian consumers seem to want the same connectivity with our pets.
When it comes to pet tech, Canadians typically want to improve their pets’ lives with devices similar to what they themselves are using. The two areas that are driving these purchase decisions are focused on pet safety and lifestyle enrichment. Check out these 4 high tech gadgets for pets:
Not sure if your pet is getting the exercise they need? Then the Whistle’s got you covered. Basically, this is a wearable fitness monitor. An on-collar device that measures your dog’s activities including walks, play, and rest.
Suffering from tennis elbow? Or stuck finishing that report for work? Don’t worry, Sparky can still get in his daily ritual of ball chasing with the iFetch.
Tired of getting up to let your pet in or out? You like the idea of a pet door but you don’t want the neighbourhood cats coming over for a visit? The PetSafe Passport Selective Electronic Dog Door is the answer.
Can’t take your pet to work? Not a problem. Watch, talk to, and even remotely play with your pet (via the system’s integrated low-intensity laser pointer) through your smartphone with PetCube.
Pets across Canada live more and more like little humans these days. As long as people treat them that way, pet spending should keep climbing.
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About the expert: Jackie Kloosterboer
Jackie Kloosterboer runs a speaking business called Survive It. As a disaster preparedness expert, Jackie facilitates upwards of 100 preparedness workshops annually to individuals and groups, working with them to prepare for whatever disaster comes their way. Jackie is the recipient of the Queens Jubilee Award and the Northwest Preparedness Society Award of Excellence, recognizing outstanding dedication to providing emergency support services and disaster preparedness education.
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