Today’s pets are regarded as fur babies and best friends. While leaving them at home alone has never been easier, the growing number of urban pet owners are looking for new solutions that provide the utmost comfort for their children while they are away.
A growing urban population
According to the UN ‘By 2030, urban areas are projected to house 60% of people globally’. This creates opportunities for the pet industry to have more ‘pets at home alone’-specific offerings, that provide clever and modern solutions to the common struggles pets have at home.
The goal all producers and designers need to consider when creating pets at home alone products, is counterconditioning parents and pets so that fearful, anxious or destructive behaviours can be replaced with fun, pleasant and relaxed ones.
A key moment for pet parents to set their pets up for success at home is to leave with as minimal impact as possible. Treat Traps are industry favourites for this, with Kong being a regular highlight. However, new variations, styles and complementary calming treats are infiltrating the market and creating more variety for pet parents to rotate.
Over the counter calming edibles have also updated formulas to become versatile for application on all types of toys, whether it is in chew, sprinkle, or spreadable form. Claiming sedative results with ingredients ranging from CBD to Zylkene, thus creating a winning combo with toys for owners trying to make a smooth get away.
Deterring destructive behaviour
The pet industry has the challenge of educating pet parents on how to create pet friendly spaces, while continuing to offer stylish solutions.
Pets need individual places where they can ‘let lose’, in order to deter them from spending time on and potentially damaging important furnishing around the home.
Making sure necessities – such as fresh (ideally fountain) water and relief facilities – are readily available, is the first-place pet owners can start.
However, to prevent clawing, chewing, digging, and other natural pet instincts that create issues for pet owners, designated spaces (outside of the pet’s everyday beds) and specialised accessories for those specific behaviours need to be available.
As the saying goes ‘when the cat is away the mice will play’. To combat bored and potentially lonely pets, it is important for owners to create a pet oasis. Owners need toys specialised for alone time that stimulate physical and mental exercise.
Pets can get their much-needed exercise on inside offerings, such as a treadmill or an automated ball thrower.
Most importantly, mental games that entertain pets and ideally have an automatic feature that turns on with motion detection, are best for distraction throughout the day.
Pampered pooches at home are especially lucky as the tech industry is reshaping pet ownership as we know it, creating newly accessible pet services for when ‘mom and dad’ are away. Valued at €10 ($11.2) billion in Europe alone (2018 FEDIAF), pet related services give owners easy access to schedule a myriad of activities for pets while they are busy working.
The main services currently being offered are dog walking, pet sitting or day carers. With pricing set by the caregiver ranging from €12 ($13.4) for a walk to €30 ($33.6) for a sitter. Expect the number of service providers to grow and it is likely more retailers will join the party or acquire apps that would add to their customer centric omnichannel approach.
Guilt of pet parents
Maybe the most important opportunity of all is catering to the guilt of the parents with pets at home alone. Video surveillance with treat dispersion or mobile access to a basic game like a laser allows pet parents to monitor and engage with their babies. Other tech, such as trackers, allows parents to monitor their pet’s behaviour and have a better understanding of how they are doing as if they were at home.
With the number of pets at home growing exponentially, there is a lot of room for innovation. Today’s technology has the capacity to redesign the pet at home experience for fur babies and parents alike. It will be an exciting category to watch as tech advances the availabilities and happiness of pets at home.