Industry Insights 2019

There’s no question—the pet industry continues to thrive.

In its 2017-2018 National Pet Owners Survey, the American Pet Products Association (APPA) reported that 68 percent of U.S. households own a pet (84.6 million homes). Because of this, the need for profes-sional pet sitters and dog walkers remains high.

The APPA also found that Americans  spent $69.5 billion on their pets in 2017—more than ever before.

Included in this total is $6.16 billion spent on pet ser-vices, which include pet sitting and dog walking.In an interview for Pet Sitter’s World magazine, Bob Vetere, APPA president, shared that according to an APPA survey, 35 percent of all dog owners report some use of pet sitters over a six month period. In addition, 67 percent of cat owners report such use. The trend in use has remained high for cats. And for dogs, it has shown a significant increase versus past surveys and appears to be continuing to rise in use by both baby boomers and millennials.

PSI’s most recent pet-owner survey (conducted in January 2018) found that 67 percent of the pet own-ers surveyed had used the services of a professional pet sitter or dog walker in the previous year.

While there was once concern that the demand for pet-care services may decline as baby boomers (and their pets) aged, recent data supports an ongoing—and likely growing—need for pet-care services.

In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook, “employment of animal care and service workers is projected to grow 22 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations.”  (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics:

The high level of pet ownership, combined with the increase in ownership of a variety of types of pets, equals an increased need for professional pet-care providers, including those who specialize in specific pets (“cats only” pet sitting, for example).

And, it’s not just about cats and dogs. The National Pet Owners Survey found that many households own other pets such as small animals, reptiles or saltwater fish.Breakdown of pet ownership in the U.S. according to the 2017-2018  APPA National Pet Owners Survey: