George Osborne will be celebrating the election result today with his dog Lola. According to a recent Euromonitor survey two thirds of animal owners see their pets as a family member, and over 50% of respondents celebrate holidays with their pets. The Daily Telegraph reports that more and more hotels around the country are welcoming dogs, “it’s known as the ‘hound pound’. Hotels that open their doors to dogs could increase revenues by 30pc per year,” PetsPyjamas chief executive Gracia Amico said. Britons’ spending on their pets is likely to exceed $7bn (£4.6bn) for the first time this year, a growth of 25pc since 2010, before hitting $8.1bn by 2019, according to a forecast by Euromonitor. A fifth of that UK spending goes on non-food items, such as toys, grooming, daycare and holidays. And it’s not just in the UK, according to the recently released 2015 American Pet Products Association report, consumer pet spending shows no signs of halting across the pond. Pet owners spent $58 billion in 2014, which is only expected to increase with industry experts projecting it will pass $60 billion this year.
When we first saw pet onesies we thought them a bit of a joke. Yet one of the most expensive items on the PetsPyjamas website is a £7,795 treadmill for dogs. Earlier this year, Gina Westbrook, director of strategy briefings at Euromonitor, said: “Pet owners are increasingly treating their cats, dogs and even small mammals like members of their family. The opportunity to commercialise this trend into a vast range of goods and services – from dog beer to cat counselling with specialists (they have some of the healthiest cat food by the way), from pet weddings to “social petworking” – is staggering for the company that can position itself to gain credibility among this growing demographic.” Custom-designed clothing like pet onesies, meals prepared by a personal chef, and a trove of priceless jewels; high-end retailers are already starting to exploit the hound pound. As well as the £1,715 dog sofas, the £738 Marco Morosini travel bags for pets, the luxury website VeryFirstTo.com has created the ultimate experience for pets. In 2013, it offered a £47,000 two-week luxury dog holiday at the Paw Seasons, the dog hotel in the Cotswolds, that offered canine clients surfing lessons, a personal chef, a grooming session at Harrods, a reiki class, a designer outfit and a run along the beach with world hurdling champion Dai Greene.
But if your dog prefers a house for one, $32,000 will get you a house by Samsung that includes a specially designed interior, treadmill, pool, automatic feeder and the latest technology for downtime. “We’re starting to see us go a little overboard with pets and that’s not necessarily a bad thing because the truth is dogs, especially, do a lot for us,” said psychotherapist Diane Lang. Lang said dogs reduce stress levels and can help us through trying times, but she cautions it’s too easy to be extravagant with our furry friends. With food, toys and vet bills, even your moderately pampered pooch can still cost you up to $3,000 a year, CBS reported.