Many recent studies show that pets have become a popular substitute for parenthood in recent years. According to Ericka Basile of Jazwares Pets, 61% of young people under 40 agree that pets are the new kids. This overwhelming consensus shows how much dependence people place on their animal companions — and it’s especially helpful in understanding global spending growth on pet care, with markets reaching a staggering $261 billion by 2022.
Younger generations, particularly Millennials, are turning to pets as an affordable option for companionship and emotional support, with 7 in 10 young adults in Gen Z preferring to adopt a pet over having their own children. While pet ownership remains costly, most owners are willing to pay a significant portion of their incomes for their furry friends in lieu of having children. Some estimates report that millennial pet owners budget $216 a month for their pets and spend roughly $198, which reflects on the broader variety of pet products available online and in brick-and-mortar stores today. But what do pet parents look for when it comes to purchasing products for their cherished animals?
Pets need mental and physical stimulation just like kids do, which is why providing them with toys that interest them is so important. Toys give pets the chance to explore, learn, engage their senses, and manage impulses — all activities that are beneficial for pet health and development. Not only do toys invoke a sense of joy in our furry friends, but the best types of pet toys also help strengthen the bond between pets and owners by involving both parties in interactive playtime. Moreover, some pet toy designs are specifically geared towards a specific animal group's instinctive drive, such as prey drive, mental stimulation, and enrichment. Taking into consideration the various benefits that come with playing with proper pet toys, it's easy to understand why supplying our animal companions with well-designed fun is so crucial. Pets have natural play patterns and unique ways they like to interact with toys, so it's important for pet owners to get the correct types of toys for their pets. Some toys are designed for dogs specifically, such as squeaky toys and chew ropes that help promote teeth cleaning and entertainment. There are also active toys meant for fetching and retrieving so owners can engage with their dogs in fun activities outdoors, or even specific plushies designed to be chewed up instead of a pair of shoes. For cats, many models of crinkle balls exist to swat at and rile up their senses during playtime. Other types of pet-friendly toys include those designed for burrowing or foraging activities, as these mimic actions experienced in nature. Even owners who want to go one step further can invest in clothing for their pets!
The pet industry is increasingly humanizing pets, and this trend shows no signs of slowing down. As the industry grows, so does the variety of products available for pet owners. When it comes to choosing toys for their animals, pet parents are looking for products that fit their play patterns and provide a fun and safe experience for their beloved pets. Pets are becoming more and more like children to their owners, who want the best for them in every way. The pet industry has done a great job of keeping up with this trend by humanizing pets even further with an ever-growing variety of pet products. As we continue to see our pets as family members, it's important that we also consider their playtime needs and find toys that fit their natural play patterns.
This blog is inspired by WiT Webinar ‘Why Pets are the New Children.’ Watch it in the Video Library HERE.