More than 23 million American households — nearly 1 in 5 nationwide — adopted a pet during the pandemic, according to the ASPCA. The pet market grew 14% in 2021— an increase over the 10% growth the industry experienced in 2020.
The industry is evolving to meet the needs of modern pet ownership, resulting in a shift toward more convenient and tech-forward services, as well as more sustainable and environmentally friendly products. Vets will become more specialized and efficient. Pet grooming will move toward subscription-based services. Pet food manufacturers will reformulate their products to include more sustainable sources of protein and ingredients that support gut health, and other pet retail products will be increasingly U.S.-made. Finally, dog training will shift toward positive reinforcement methods, and laws and regulations benefiting pets and their owners will become more common.
The future of veterinary medicine: from friendly neighborhood vets to highly specialized practices
The future of veterinary medicine will move away from the traditional model of the friendly neighborhood vet to highly specialized practices. This shift will be driven by a number of factors, including the need for vets to be more efficient in their work, the desire of vets to improve their work/life balance and the increasing cost of veterinary care. The rise of vet telehealth will likely play a big role in this shift. Overall, the future of veterinary medicine will be more specialized, more efficient, and more convenient for pet owners.
The future of pet grooming: more subscriptions, fewer surprises
Pet grooming will see a move toward subscription-based services, which offer convenience and predictability for busy pet owners, especially true for Millennial and Gen Z pet owners. This growth is bolstered by an increasing awareness of the importance of pet health and wellness, which is driving demand for routine care services as preventive care to avoid more serious health problems down the road.
The future of pet food: supplements and novel proteins
Pet food will see a shift toward more sustainable and environmentally friendly sources of protein and pet supplements. As we learn more about the connection between gut health and overall health, pet food manufacturers are likely to reformulate their products to include probiotics, prebiotics, and other ingredients that support gut health. Pet retailers will see a rise in demand for U.S.-made products as supply chain issues lead to higher costs and unpredictable delays from overseas producers and inflation takes a toll on the price of international pet products.
The future of dog training: positively positive
As pet ownership in the U.S. has increased in recent years, the demand for dog training services has risen sharply. Pet owners have become more aware of the importance of positive reinforcement in training. The future of dog training will see a continued shift toward positive reinforcement methods, as studies have shown time and again that these methods are the most effective approach to training a dog.
Pet socialization is also a priority for owners, so there will be a continued shift toward in-person classes. As a result, apps and other services that offer remote training will become increasingly irrelevant. Our brand, for example, has seen exponential growth throughout the years: the number of our locations has doubled in the past several months and quadrupled in the past 18 months.
The future of community standards for pets
As pet ownership becomes more popular in the U.S., there will be an increase in laws and regulations concerning pets. More municipalities will pass legislation mandating better green spaces for their residents to enjoy quality time with their pets, including parks with agility equipment and dog-walking trails.
We are entering an exciting time in our industry as we leave outdated practices behind and embrace innovative approaches across different sectors. The pet care and training industry will see vast opportunities for growth as pet owners continue to support organizations that cater to the health of their pet.
Mark Van Wye is the CEO of Zoom Room, a dog training franchise brand founded in 2007 and based in Culver City, California.