It is estimated that the global size of the pet products and services sector is around USD 110–150 billion. Although Turkey slightly lags behind developed countries at this front, it seems to catch up with them at a fast pace: A turnover of USD 1 billion was achieved in 2017 merely from the sales of pet food, toys and accessories in our country. According to the data revealed by the Association of Pet Breeding and Businessmen, the expenses on pets grow at an average of 15% each year . It must be noted that this figure is many folds higher than the overall economic growth.
According to N11, one of the biggest e-commerce platforms in Turkey, consumers make an expenditure up to around TRY 500 for each pet . In line with the 2018 data of the Turkish Statistical Institute, this figure is almost one quarter of the average per capita income of our country. Hard not to wonder: how come we can spend one quarter of our average income on pets?
The oldest dog pet remains found buried next to humans in some 14,000 year old Paleolithic tombs point out to an ancient comradeship . However, the relationship we had with pets in the past was much different from the current one, which can be defined as “a roommate who doesn’t pay rent”. We expected an absolute functional benefit from them, fed them with our leftovers in the best-case scenario, didn’t care about their comfort and could give up on them more easily .
Currently, a Moncler down jacket, one of the high level status indicators of today with its average price tag of USD 1500, is available for not just you but your dog (or cat, if she’s into it) as well. In that case, we believe that you won’t skip the birthday of your pup, either. Then you can order a fully organic birthday cake with no flour or sugar from one of the dog cake boutiques on Instagram, proliferating one after the other. Let’s not forget the custom made biscuits with liver for other hairy guests!
We believe that you will pick the relevant gift but your dog can do it on its own as well. For instance, your lovely friend can “pick” the toy that enlarges its pupils the most and “buy” it online thanks to the Pet-Commerce system, biggest source of pride for the Brazilian brand Petz. Seems like the only limit in this field is the imagination of brands…
The most recent examples that grabbed our attention are as follows:
In the last quarter of 2017, Ikealaunched the Lurvig line exclusively designed for pets by designers and veterinarians together in Canada, USA, France and Japan. The line includes elegantly designed beds, toys and kennels as well as leashes, combs, poop bags, etc.
Social network applications that help locate dog friendly restaurants, playgrounds and stores such as Slobbr, defined as “a kind of Foursquare for dogs” by its founder and other applications that aim to establish a local group by gathering neighbors around the love of dogs — and cooperation on dog care when need be- such as Houndr in Toronto are much popular recently.
However, the pet-sitting service of EasyJet is the real piece of fresh news… For the sake of a whopping 58% of majority pet owners stating they would travel more often only if their pets would be taken care of under better conditions, EasyJet cooperates with TrustedHouseSitters, biggest pet care service of the world. Thanks to the application it offers to its passengers as of the beginning of 2018, it provides a business model that matches the ones looking for keepers for their pets such as cats, dogs, pigs, chickens and even llamas free of charge with the ones who are willing to sit them.
In February of this year, Tesla, the most popular electric car brand, launched a “dog mode” exclusively developed for the pets left in the car. While keeping the temperature in the car at a safe degree, the app will send a warning to the mobile application of the driver in case of a threat. Modern technology offers various conveniences of course, however, it is better not to leave our dear friends in the cars alone in any case…
The ones who have to leave their pets at home are rescued by Amazon in cooperation with Cesar Millan, the renowned dog whisperer. Audible for Dogs is a an audio book service, 3 out of 4 users of which state to observe positive behavior changes in their dogs.
Pet care isn’t only limited to unique products, interesting services or cool applications; it has legal dimensions as well. The Indian branch of Harper Collins Publishing entitles a week long “maternity leave” to its employees who adopt pets. Pet insurance, which is a standard product for many insurance companies in Western countries, was recently begun to be offered by two insurance companies in Turkey.
Our responsibilities to our pets, which we take care of as if they are our children, aren’t limited to our lifetime, either. It is estimated that Karl Lagerfeld’s famous cat Choupette inherited USD 150 million from the legendary fashion designer who passed away earlier this year. Thus, Choupette will be able to carry on her luxurious life in Paris with two personal maids. The normalization of prodigal pets proves that they are more than mere roommates who don’t pay rent.
Okay, but why do we make our pets wear expensive jackets, fill up our mobiles with relevant applications and want to make sure that they are nourished even better than we do, although they don’t facilitate our daily lives at all? Let’s approach this question which couldn’t be answered through history from a scientific perspective this time. It is an exceptional case for an animal to adopt and look after another species consciously in the animal kingdom. Although news titles such as “mother cat adopted the puppy” and “the friendship of the duck and the donkey is astonishing” warm us inside, zoologists claim that such cases can occur merely in “extra-natural” environments created by men, such as zoos or farms .
Some researchers evaluate this humane behavior as a reflection of our tendency to look after our offspring for years onto the other creatures we live with. As well as this “evolutionary accident”, the neurophysiological and behavioral findings indicate that humans find the creatures with baby like features such as big eyes, small head and round facial lines as naturally attractive. According to a research made in the animal shelters it has been observed that the dogs with paedomorphic — childlike — facial features were significantly faster to be adopted . Another answer given by science on why humans cherish animals is the antropomorphism which is one of the main distinguishing cognitive skills of our species. Antropomorphism, meaning to attribute human mental and emotional characteristics to non-human species, explains why we are able to have an emphatic connection to animals . Due to these three factors our furry friends are still in the focus of our lives although they don’t offer practical benefits anymore.
Do you think that there will be a limit to our material and emotional expenditure on pets in the future? As far as it is seen, the answer is a “no” for now…