Pet Pampering The ‘Dry Run’ of Parenting for Millennials
Parenting for millennials has taken a turn the older generation did not see coming.
Buddy, who came into Brett Gurskys’ life two years ago as an adoption, always flies first-class, stays in the Beverly Hills Hotel and has an impressive three thousand followers on Instagram. Yet, Buddy isn’t his son or daughter, but a Maltese mix that enjoys pedicures and hitting up Chateau Marmutt.
“Once you see how much they enjoy it, you just keep doing it,” says Gursky, 38. “I don’t have kids yet, so this is good practice.”
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The pet industry, that is expected to surpass it’s sixty three billion dollars a year is starting to be considered the dry run of parenting for millennials. With new dog food companies such as V-Dog for the pups, and Halo if you’re adopting an older companion in the mix, its no wonder that house call veterinary care and anxiety medication for animals that are traumatized by their pound stay are growing in numbers.
Millennials have started to outnumber the amount of boomers who have pets by 3%, and are shaping the way we feed, walk and treat out pets “The trend is really toward high-end brands,” says Jack Curran, a senior analyst at Ibis. “Businesses are trying to take advantage of the fact that people want to give their pets the best possible options for everything.”
Yet, ask many a millennial about their ‘pet’ and they’ll explain how they are pet-parents, spending more time, money and energy on their adoptive offspring. Years ago, when a pet became ill and the treatment was costly, putting an animal ‘to sleep’ was a given part of societal norm. Yet, with changing attitudes towards animals as being sentient beings, capable of the same emotions as humans. Millennials are becoming more compassionate towards their ‘children’ and acting as any parent would when their child became sick. Parenting for millennials means taking care of their ‘fur-babies’.
“Everyone is using pets as part of advertising campaigns,” says Bob Vetere, president and CEO of the American Pet Products Association. “You will see dogs, cats, fish, anything pop up in commercials for any type of product out there because of the public’s embracing of pets as that necessary part of life.”
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It’s not just the food and advertising that is seeing increasing profits. Luxury spas that offer screen time, purified water and acupuncture to its guests, while they have their fur trimmed and nails clipped has become a booming business.
Rover, one such pet provider that was started seven years ago has doubled in space and customer base, and recently acquired a dog sitting company DogVacay in May, with a staggering two hundred thousand available sitters on the platform.
At pet services provider Rover, which was founded seven years ago, it’s unclear which is growing faster—the company, which has doubled revenue every year since its founding, according to a spokeswoman, or the number of dogs in the company’s Seattle headquarters.
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“We’re a national and local company all at once,” says Halle Hutchison, VP of marketing, touting the ease the brand brings to pet owners who need a dog sitter, groomer or walker on the fly. “In the future, we want to become more of a lifestyle brand so people can incorporate Rover into their daily dog-care life in ways they haven’t done in the past.”
However, with all the new food, technology and luxury spas that millennials spend on their offspring. We wonder if it really prepares them for having a little person knock on the door every time they use the bathroom, or knowing the true victory in managing to catch vomit in their hands at 3am.
Is this the new wave of parenting for millennials? It sure looks like it.
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