The trend of treating pets as little humans has become more common in this past decade. Important reasons for this are that more and more people are living alone, seeking the companionship of an animal. Retired people are living longer, and many younger people are opting to live without a partner. Additionally, younger couples are opting for pets in place of children. Nowadays, we can get for pets almost every product or service available to humans. Doggy day care, dog sitters, party planners for pet birthdays and weddings, professional pet photographic sessions, pet fashion designers and pet spa treatments are just some of the popular items and services.
Americans spent billions on products and services for pets. The largest portion is spent on fancy pet food. Pet owners are looking for healthier food for themselves and their pets, paying premium prices for it. Pet food companies are taking advantage of this trend and are transferring human eating philosophies to the pet food industry. Diets are being marketed as grain-free, containing high amounts of a single ingredient, no GMO, whole grains, real chicken etc. and showing pictures on the package of the meats, fruits and vegetables in the product. The same company may offer a brand of canned dog food for $0.85 and a more “foodie” brand for $1.85. They are seeking to target the traditional pet owner as well as the ones who humanize their pets. The problem is that as pets are fed more like humans, they, too, are becoming more susceptible to consequences such as obesity.
Humanizing pets benefits companion animals because they become integral members of the family, and their well-being and needs are always considered. It also benefits humans as it strengthens the animal-human bond, which is known to be advantageous to our emotional and physical health. However, the most important thing to remember is that you do not need to worry if you cannot afford high-end products or services for your pet. To show love to your four-legged family member, you don’t need to max out your credit card with French designer pet collars or mahogany memory foam pet beds. Just spend time with your pet, take her for walks, pet her and keep her clean, brushed and healthy. Those are the things that will be appreciated the most and cannot be bought with money. Everything else is extra.