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4 Crucial Things to Know About Millennial Pet Owners

They’re definitely ready to coddle their pets.

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Younger pet owners could set the pet industry on a “new course,” according to market research firm Packaged Facts.

These pet owners, who have grown up in an increasingly health-conscious U.S., are more interested in “natural,” sustainably made food for their pets. And their influence on the marketplace will grow as they develop more buying power and baby boomers pass their peak purchasing years.

Millennial pet owners, defined as those between ages 18 and 34, “not only have pets of their own, they are ready to coddle them using the most sustainable (and sometimes economic) ways possible,” according to Packaged Facts. About a third of U.S. pet owners are millennials, responsible for 43 percent of pet owner growth between 2007 and 2015.

Here are four important facts to know about this group:

  • More than half (55 percent) of millennial pet owners are willing to try holistic and natural-branded nutritional supplements before resorting to conventional pet medication. That’s compared with only 30 percent of owners 35 and over. When the only option left is to buy conventional pet medication, however, more than half (52 percent) of millennials buy meds compared with only 28 percent of any other demographic.
  • Nearly three-quarters (69 percent) of millennial pet owners are more likely to consider foods whose recipes use naturally made ingredients over “normal,” mass-produced foods. That’s compared with fewer than half (44 percent) of owners over 35.
  • Three-quarters (75 percent) of millennial dog owners agree that fear of pet food contamination or product safety is a key consideration in the foods they buy. That’s compared with only 66 percent of their older counterparts. Almost two-thirds (64 percent) of millennial cat owners compared to just 49 percent of other owners are likely to feel the same way. Today, pet food companies are increasingly vigilant in their internal protocols for indentifying safety issues, and it’s not uncommon for companies to recall as much as a week’s worth of product when just one line of product is found to be contaminated, Packaged Facts notes.
  • Millennials are on the lookout for products whose labeling is transparent and green, and are most likely to use pet foods with formulations geared toward enhancing the health of their pets, including pet foods characterized as organic, holistic, non-GMO and grain-free.

Check out Packaged Facts’ report Millennials as Pet Market Consumers for more information.

Read more at Packaged Facts

Since launching in 2017, PETS+ has won 16 major international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact PETS+'s editors at editor@petsplusmag.com.

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Dogs May Be More Perceptive Than We Ever Realized, Study Finds

Even untrained strays can read human gestures.

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Dogs seem to be able to interpret human gestures even when they’ve had no training, a new study has found.

As any dog owner knows, pet canines understand commands and gestures with ease. A group of researchers set out to determine whether these capabilities are innate or require training, according to a report from Frontiers Science News.

The researchers looked specifically at pointing, with Dr. Anindita Bhadra of the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Kolkata, India, and colleagues studing stray dogs in several Indian cities.

“The researchers approached solitary stray dogs and placed two covered bowls on the ground near them,” Frontieers Science News reports. “A researcher then pointed to one of the two bowls, either momentarily or repeatedly, and recorded whether the dog approached the indicated bowl.”

About 80 percent of participating dogs successfully followed pointing gestures.

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“We thought it was quite amazing that the dogs could follow a gesture as abstract as momentary pointing,” Bhadra was quoted saying. “This means that they closely observe the human, whom they are meeting for the first time, and they use their understanding of humans to make a decision. This shows their intelligence and adaptability.”

The research was published in Frontiers in Psychology.

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State Considers Banning ‘No Pets’ Rental Listings

Some landlords are not happy about the proposed legislation.

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New Hampshire legislators are considering a ban on “no pets” notices in property listings.

Proposed legislation would forbid landlords and home sellers from barring pet owners, the Concord Monitor reports.

They could make rules related to pet deposits, noise control, sanitation and safety, according to the newspaper. But they could set make rules based on size, breed or appearance.

The legislation was proposed by state Rep. Ellen Read, a Democrat from Newmarket. It has drawn opposition from some landords who say it could lead to unsanitary conditions as well as allergy problems for some residents.

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But Julia Seeley, New Hampshire state director for the Humane Society, said her organization supports the bill.

We just strongly believe that a family should not be torn apart simply over housing,” she said.

Read more at the Concord Monitor

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Spotify Rolls Out Music Playlists for Pets

Pets seem to favor classical music and soft rock.

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Digital music service Spotify had a hunch that people were playing tunes for their pets.

A study by the company found that 71% of pet owners did exactly that. The survey included 5,000 music-streaming pet owners from the U.S., the UK, Australia, Spain and Italy.

The company explains:

That being said, we created a unique experience to help you craft the pawfect algorithmically generated playlist for you and your pet to enjoy together. Head to spotify.com/pets for a playlist you can share with your dog, cat, iguana, hamster, or bird.

See the graphic below for more details from the survey.

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