While my son and I waited for his dentist I picked up a copy of Business Week. It caught my attention because of this headline THE PET ECONOMY. Americans now spending $41 Billion on their pets. And a lot of humans are getting rich.
I was excited to read this article but ended up with mixed feelings. I was glad to see the pet industry showcased in this national, well-received publication. The article does a good job with showing the positive role pets play in adding fulfillment to our lives and showing the benefits of human-animal bonds. I was equally pleased to read discussions about pet related ethics. They go on to say some products encourage us to do more harm than good for our pets. For example, find a great treat your pet loves, but over feed them and make them overweight and unhealthy. Cute strollers and totes are great for starting conversation but letting pets walk for exercise is so much better.
What I found disturbing about the Business Week article was the focus on extreme examples of pet products. These were things like a $30-an-ounce perfume, $430 indoor potties and $225 trench coats for fur kids and their wallet carrying people. When consumers read articles like this one they wonder if all pet related companies are all just out for their money when in reality many companies have a passion for helping animals through better health and well-ness. The emphasis was put on the extravagant not the mainstream products of caring pet lovers. In my opinion the article has made the pet industry and customers seem a little over extravagant and ridiculous.
The article begins with: “If there’s still any doubt whether the pampering of pets is getting out of hand, the debate should be settled once and for all by Neuticles, a patented testicular implant that sells for up to $919 a pair.” Now how many families with a beloved pet will ever do something like this? But the article will make some people think we are all nuts enough about our pets to dish out this $919.
A senior writer said she wanted to talk about the lengths people would go for their pets, explore the social factors prompting people to humanize their pets and look at the burst of entrepreneurialism in a $41 billion industry.
I think the writer did these things but I also think they undermined the pet industry with the implication that companies are taking advantage of pet lovers’ passion by selling things they don’t really need. There will always be pet lovers who will pamper their pets with the non-essential items and there’s nothing wrong with that. Articles like this can make educating about better health and well-ness of pets even more challenging.
Maybe I read too much into this article. I just don’t like it when real pet lovers are made to look ridiculous and extravagant when we just want to do right by our pets.