It has become common knowledge that people these days they do not marry and raise pets and spend much money on them like they would raising a family. Statistics show that the pet industry in America is very huge with an approximate of 73million household owning pets and spending a whopping $52 billion on them. As time goes, these households are becoming conscious of the health of their pets and are now buying organic and natural foods to keep their pets healthy as their families (Auch, 16). This revelation comes in light after statistics show that US pets have been growing fatter in the year 2011. A survey by the by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) revealed that over 25% of all cats and 21% of all dogs are officially obese or overweight. It is surprising to note that more than 90% of the pet owners are aware that obesity in pets is a major problem though they still dispute the furry obesity statistics they live with under the same roof.

Dr. Ernie of the APOP believes that commercial pet treats and foods are the major cause for pet obesity. As these pets continue to feed on such foods, they develop weight related problems, which shrinks their life spans in the end. Such weight related problems include hypertension, osteoarthritis, respiratory problems, kidney problems and overall reduction in quality and quantity of the pets’ life.

Accordingly, obesity prevention in pets needs to be in the forefront of all discussions for pet owners as they consider the health of their pets. There is no single animal or pet goes to the pantry or the refrigerator to get food; what these pets eat is entirely their owners’ choice and they are responsible for making the pets obese. This thus leads one to the conclusion that pet problem is not a pet problem; rather it is a people problem (Urbanik, 59). The most important decision a pet owner can make with regard to the health of the pet is the choice of food they make for the pets. While there are numerous natural and organic pet products in the market, there are still opportunities for entrepreneurs to develop and introduce new pet products.

One of the opportunity areas is natural and healthy foods for the pets since its popularity is rising with every new day. As people become more conscious about their families eating habits, they also become more conscious of the eating habits for the pets (Newman, 57). Alternative foods will also grow in demand for instance refrigerated fresh pet foods. Raw foods provide natural nutrients that have not been destroyed by chemicals or through cooking. These are usually found in the freezer section of the refrigerators and as education on pet nutrients intensifies, so will its demand.

Another opportunity lies in the growth in pet services in the year 2013. The demand for services for pets like pet grooming will continue to go up and is one of the trends in the industry. Pet grooming include among others, pet groomer service and doggie day spas, which offer pet services ranging from aromatherapy treatments, high fashion haircuts, facials and even pet tattoos. Practically, most pets require simple hair trimming, bathing and nail clipping, where an entrepreneur can capitalize on when targeting the old-fashioned pet owners.

Marketing through social media is another opportunity that entrepreneurs can capitalize on to increase their sales on the new and existing products. Use of medias like the Facebook, You Tube and twitter is necessary in the modern pet industry (Ferrell and William, 211). This trend will even have a major impact in the year 2013 when more pet owners are seeking platforms to access information on pet services and products. There also exists an opportunity in the use of video marketing like use of interactive newsletters, websites and other online tools. Moreover, pet retailers can make use of phone apps for marketing purposes. The only thing the retailers need for this to be successful is more time to be able to update the sites frequently to avoid stagnation.

Pet insurance sector is another area that is likely to offer an opportunity for entrepreneurs to take advantage of in the modern times. Pet insurance is rapidly growing especially because of the sluggish economy facing most people. Many pet parents have become more careful as they attempt to protect their wallets in cases of pet accidents or illnesses that require expensive veterinary care. This enables pet parents to pay small premiums for their pets in preparation for any eventuality facing their pets. Moreover, many people consider their pets as part of the family and as they make insurance arrangements for the entire family, they do so for the pets. People have become more bonded with their pets and times when pets used to sleep in the backyard has now changed (Urbanik, 60). Pets now sleep with their owners and amount a considerable portion of the insurance budgets.

Inclusion of pets in employee benefits will also play a role in retaining the best employees. Today, pets are part of the families and for employers to retain the best and valuable employees, they will need to consider pets in the family benefits they offer to their employees. Pet insurance lists the top of the best packages employer can offer. For instance, Trupanion staffs receive free insurance for their pets leading to a happier pet owning staffs with no stress over paying for the pet care costs.

Travel services relating to pets are booming lately with more and more pet parents opting to travel with their pets. Statistics show that more than 51% of the pet parents in the United States are taking their cats, dogs and other pets along whenever they travel. The industry is cashing in largely and there still lies an opportunity for entrepreneurs to invest. Together with the traveling, there are other industries that are booming, among others museums, stores, restaurants and wineries that are pet friendly. Pet parents are even travelling with their pets for holidays and investments in the transport industry and provision of accommodation for the pets presents a huge opportunity for entrepreneurs to invest (Steven Primm and Roncevich, 47).

There also exists franchise opportunities in the pet industry. In addition to the triumph of product-based pet trade, franchises offering dog training, grooming, pet day care and dog training are flourishing. Caring for pets’ health is one of the fastest growing trends in the industry and many entrepreneurs are capitalizing on the already existing business owners to market and sell their products. In franchise businesses, an entrepreneur uses the name of an already existing business meaning that he will not have to search for new markets and win customers. The entrepreneur then pays the franchiser a certain amount of money for using the business name. Given the rising demand in the pet products, services and foods, franchising will be the big trend in the industry. Among the opportunities in the franchising industry include pet day care involving pet sitting and dog walking during working hours, dog training, which involves teaching agility and obedience, and show training. Additionally, boarding services involving taking care of the pets when the parents are out of town, pet supplies to homes, grooming services and waste removal from homes, cleaning yards, disinfecting the porch and sanitizing dogs kennels and runs are provided (Steven Primm and Roncevich, 45).

There also exists some potential in the emerging markets, which have untapped potentials. In the coming years, Russia is expected to be among the fastest emerging market, not just for pet foods, but for other pet products and services as well. In 2008, the demand for pet foods in Russia rose by 10% and there are expectations that this will be higher in the coming years. There is also untapped potential in other areas like the Asia pacific and Eastern Europe. Moreover, entrepreneurs need to keep their eyes open on the emerging superpowers like China and India. Other huge opportunities for entrepreneur to cash in are in the Latin America where demands for pet foods have had significant growth in the past few years. For any entrepreneur wishing to make some extra money, then considering investments in the emerging market would a prudent investment rather than concentrating on the already saturated markets.

Conclusively, it is clear that pet industry in the United States and several other countries is booming. People all over the world and especially in the United States own more pets than any other time in the past. Growth in the pet industry results from the increasing pet ownership and the rise in pet spending. Pet pampering has become the norm as pet parents spending currently goes beyond mere food and grooming expenses to specialized and innovative premium products. The bottom line is that increasingly, people are viewing pets and part of their families and are, therefore, willing to spend a lot on the pets even during economic hardships (Newman, 57).

Part of the growth in this industry emerges organically with more people buying more pets. This is attributable to a number of factors like increased awareness of the benefits of owning pets. Recent researches show that pet ownership is healthy; having an affectionate, constant companion helps in reducing stress and lowering blood pressure. Demographic trends are changing with baby boomers reaching old age as their children head for colleges and seeking employments. For companionship, these people buy pets. Moreover, there are more, more single-member households as young people get married late, and divorce rates continue increasing. All this adds up to the pet buying trends, which is even likely to be higher this and coming years.

In light of the above, it becomes obvious that the industry offers tremendous opportunities for entrepreneurs to invest and make huge returns. First, pet owners are paying more attention to the health of the pets and thus spending a lot in healthy foods. Investment in a manufacturing such foods and offering natural, organic and raw pet foods is a venture worth considering. Pet insurance industry is also developing at a high rate as people caution against the high medical costs for pets; it would, therefore, be prudent for entrepreneurs to consider this type of investment. Demands for other pet services are also on the rise, like demand for transport services, grooming, and day care, boarding services, healthcare and training (Steven Primm and Roncevich, 46). For a prudent entrepreneur, this would be an area worth putting in some investments.

Pet ownership has been majorly a western culture but now it is expanding to other countries like Asia Pacific, Middle East, Latin America, and even Africa. These are areas that provide untapped potentials and entrepreneurs should make an attempt of investing in them before the markets become saturated. As entrepreneurs seek new markets, they should also consider making use of new marketing tools like the social media and the internet to reach a wider market (Ferrell and William, 211). This would offer entrepreneurs a chance to advance relatively fast as compared to the traditional marketing tools like advertisements.

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