There is a quote that I often see pop up on Instagram that says “I only work to give my dog a better life.” Well, I think I should have a t-shirt with this emblazoned on it, as after a recent reality check I can confirm this is 100% true for me! The pet industry is growing at an ever-increasing rate; lifestyle accessories, clothing, technology, and food are just some of the ways we can now spoil our pups and treat them if not better than ourselves!
Just a glimpse on social media will tell you that our pets have some serious pulling power. Many established brands are expanding into the pet market and new companies are frequently emerging in the field of accessories and fashion for pets. Pets have also well and truly infiltrated the world of Instagram and are often considered “influencers!”
Dave (my 4-year-old beagle) was recently lucky enough to be part of the annual Dog Lovers Show held here in Melbourne where he appeared as one of the ‘Insta-Pooch’ stars. Hundreds of fans lined up to get their pictures taken with these pups, who are popular on Instagram, with questions for their owners like “who are they wearing?” and “what does their glam routine involve?” Personally, it was amazing and incredibly rewarding to meet so many people that engage with us on the “gram” and hear how they are genuinely invested in seeing what Dave gets up to via our posts. It also made me feel slightly less “crazy dog lady,” or at least that I am in very good company!
This annual event (held in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and Auckland) also highlights many of the new products and accessories we can purchase for our fur-iends. Based on the crowds that came through the doors and the line-ups at the stands, it is safe to say that a considerable amount of money was spent by all (and yes, I may have been one of them!) The fact that a dedicated dog expo is one of the biggest annual events in Melbourne’s calendar says a lot about the dedication of pup owners.
Whilst dogs have always been valued family members, more and more businesses are tailoring their offerings to both human and hound. Traditional kennels are still available in the event we need to leave our pups behind if we go away (nooooooooo!!!!!!!), more frequently owners (or fur parents) will choose to utilize services where someone will come and stay in the home, or go to stay in luxury retreat style accommodation with swimming pools, agility courses and other incredible facilities. Many accommodation websites have a filter for pet-friendly places to stay, and other such as Holidaying with Dogs, only feature dog-friendly accommodation.
Dressing our dogs in a raincoat or jumper may be practical in particular weather conditions, but pet fashion has taken off as a dedicated industry of its own! Owners can now wear matching outfits with their pets and coordinate on those days out together brunching and lunching! One of our favorite brands is Pablo and Co, a Brisbane based small business that produces matching shirts for humans, hair scrunchies that match your pup’s wear, and bandannas that feature iconic pop culture references and brands (think Kimmy K having a meltdown, Snoop Dog, Beyoncé and Kanye to name a few).
Luxury brands have been quick to pick up on the dog lover trend, you can score yourself a Dog Carrier from Gucci, a Trench Coat from Ralph Lauren, charms by Henri Bendel, or there is a whole collection to peruse by Coach!
Our pets no longer have to put up with basic canned wet food from the supermarket or sawdust infused dry food, many owners now choose to follow a raw diet for their dogs, which involves more preparation than an Instagram model’s! Organic treats and subscription boxes allow us to provide healthy and safe foods for pups that vie away from the mass-produced big brand products of old. Two of our favorites are based here in Melbourne. ‘Laila and Me’ is a small company run by a qualified Pet Nutritionist who makes healthy treats in small batches all from Australian ingredients free of additives, preservatives, salt, and sugar. Treats range from dehydrated chicken breast jerky, pilchards, and Dave’s personal favorites, chicken feet! “Laila and Me” also make a well being range that can aid specific dietary issues and skin conditions.
Scratch was the brainchild of two Melbourne lads (one of whom used to work for a big pet food company), both with a love of dogs. The idea was to offer a new type of dog food that is better for our dogs and the planet whilst being conveniently delivered to your door. The kibble produced by Scratch is preservative free and avoids all the cheap and nasty ingredients often found in big product ranges. The ingredients are simple, healthy, and transparent for the pet owner.
Specific pet-based technology means that we can now satisfy our urges whilst at work and find out just how much our pups sleep during the day! There are cameras that throw out treats such as Furbo via an app on your phone as well as alerting you if your dog is barking. Just as we might wear a fitness tracker, you can also find ones specifically for your dog that will allow you to track their movements, or lack thereof, as the case maybe! These can be especially useful if your dog is an escape artist! Dog TV is a TV channel especially for your pups! They can sit at home and watch this to their hearts content providing them with entertainment and an opportunity to take ownership of the remote while you are out.
I have only scratched the surface of the emerging pet services and accessory industry. I have no doubt this already lucrative business will continue to grow, and why not, who doesn’t want the best for their pampered pooch?! What extravagant accessories or luxuries have you indulged in for your pup?
Featured Image by @SushiSaid.
I’m Sophie, Dave the Beagle’s human. Together we make a pretty good team, sharing a love of Netflix, BBQ Chicken, and sleep! I am originally from the UK but have lived in Australia for almost 15 years.