‘Pet’ or ‘Family’

Sweet baby girl with a beagle dog on a couch next to each other on a couch.

More often than not, you hear the expressions “furbaby”, “furchild” or “pet mom/ dad” but just how popular are pets as family members?

         There are an estimated 7 million cats, and 6.4 million dogs in Canada alone, and almost 90% of pet owners consider their pets family members. That’s a lot! And it’s not just cats and dogs who are a part of the family either… apparently snake owners are more connected to their pet as a family member than any other pet, who would have thought-right?!

Why do we feel like our pets are family? Most dog owners believe that their pet improves their physical health, and cat owners feel that their pet improves their mental health- and since you want to surround yourself with supportive and motivating people… even if those ‘people’ are pets, it makes sense! The top 5 reasons we consider pets as family though, are as follows: They are smart, protective and experience separation anxiety, as well as grieve and of course- They love their owners back! When you receive a pet’s unconditional love, it’s hard not to consider them family and it’s also why there is an emerging trend in the pet industry, to cater to pet parents- those who feel like their pet is a part of the family and even remember (81%) or celebrate their birthday with pupcakes, presents and parties (77%)!

Our treating pets like family have generated a lot of revenue in the pet industry- about $1.9 Billion! The term ‘pet owner’ is being replaced by ‘pet parent’ and customers are being treated as such. Retailers are beginning to realize that pets aren’t ‘just pets’ they are a part of the family, and new and improved products and services are hitting the market!





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