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Covering the wacky world of pet services

February 7, 2018

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The American Pet Products Association estimates that U.S. pet owners spent $69.36 billion on their animals in 2017. (Image by Pixabay via Pexels, CCO Creative Commons)

Pets are big business. The American Pet Products Association estimates that U.S. pet owners spent $69.36 billion on their animals last year, including food, vet care and pet services like grooming and boarding. As pet owners increasingly treat their animals as beloved members of the family, those with disposable income have ample ways to indulge their furry, feathery or scaly friends.

In addition to fancy toys, organic pet food or designer outfits, there are now plenty of pet services vying for pet owners’ money. Millennials are largely driving this trend, according to TheStreet.

Here’s a look at several pet services to consider in your business coverage.

Wedding attendants for pets

Many engaged couples feel a deep bond with their pets, so naturally they want their pets to be part of their wedding day. For a fee, some dog sitters including Metro Pop USA in San Antonio, Texas will walk a dog down the aisle, provide potty breaks and more. Meanwhile, Mountain Peak Llamas and Alpacas will bring dolled up llamas to weddings or other special events in the Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington area.

Pet relocation and shipping companies

Whether owners are moving or traveling with their pet, the logistics can get complicated, especially if they’re crossing international borders. Companies like Austin, Texas-based Pet Relocation or Dog Gone Taxi, an animal transportation and logistics service located in Washington state, help with the paperwork and logistics.

Pet artists or photographers

Proud pet owners can now commission a custom painting or book a photography session for their four-legged friend. Inexpensive options abound on websites like Fiverr, while artists aiming for a higher-end client might create their own website. Because pet photography requires such a specific skillset, some photographers like Kaylee Greer of Dog Breath Photography in Boston focus on photographing pets. Some pet photographies also volunteer their services with local shelters or animal rescues to help pets find new homes.

Pet body work

Ordinary pet care used to be things like booking annual vet checkups and enrolling dogs in obedience school. Now pet maintenance may involve pet massage, acupuncture or reiki (a form of alternative medicine that uses touch to heal). Some pet groomers will also travel to the pet’s house, giving new meaning to the phrase “pampered pooch.”

Pet memorial services

Losing a beloved pet is a devastating event for many families, so Pet Memorial Services in West Chester, Pennsylvania will help plan a memorial in its funeral parlor or provide products like urns and keepsake jewelry. Search “pet memorial” on Etsy and over 50,000 results pop up, including picture frames, headstones and custom Christmas ornaments.

Reporter’s Takeaway

  • Calling itself “the mobile app your dog has been waiting for,” BarkHappy helps dog-owners connect with other owners, locate dog-friendly places or sign up for events. If BarkHappy is active in your city, this could be a treasure trove of ideas. Yelp, neighorhood social network Nextdoor or Facebook groups for the local community may be other resources for locating pet service providers in your area.
  • When profiling pet service providers, find out how long they’ve been in business, how they attract new customers and what (if any) startup costs their business had. How did they choose this service or services? Is this a full-time venture or a side hustle? What are their busiest times of year and why? What do these services provide the customer and who’s buying?

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