A recent poll conducted by Vet’s Kitchen, has shown that British people consider immunity to be the most important aspect of their dog’s health, with digestion and behaviour coming second and third respectively.
The trend comes following almost two years of a global pandemic, during which we saw the nation’s health consciousness skyrocket, and sales of immunity-boosting supplements boom. Could it be that our concern for our own immunity has been transferred to our pets?
Laura Shears, MD of Vet’s Kitchen, acknowledges a “shift towards more health-conscious purchasing” – and suggests it is the latest stage of an enduring behaviour. “In recent years, humanisation has been one of the key trends driving premiumisation in petcare. That is now moving more into people taking an interest in their pet’s health – and that is part of humanisation, of course,” she says.
During the pandemic, there was an upsurge in puppy purchases, as Brits looked to their four-legged friends for company during isolation. In fact, the Pet Food Manufacturers Association revealed that 3.2 million households bought a pet during lockdown last year. Young people are the main drivers of this trend, with more than half of new owners aged 16 to 34, the PFMA says.
The research also revealed that the nation was divided between their love for small and large dogs, with younger people (under 35s) tending to prefer smaller dogs: 55% show a preference for more petite pooches.
One of the drivers for this choice was the fact that a smaller dog would take up less space and be easier to handle. Could the seed of this sentiment also have been planted during last year’s lockdowns, when so many of us were forced to remain in a confined space, working from home?
As the relationship between humans and their pets grows stronger, pet humanisation trends mean owners are increasingly treating their ‘fur babies’ as part of the family. This can range from owners buying their dog a special birthday cake, to checking them in to dog spas or hotels. The pandemic has only fuelled this growing trend, when pet sales increased and British people turned to their (small) dogs for comfort.
Vet’s Kitchen nutritionist Fiona Firth says, “At Vet’s Kitchen, we’ve seen humanisation take the form of an increased consciousness for pet health and we’ve reflected this in our recipes which include pet food to support a dog’s immunity such as Grow & Develop puppy food, aimed at dogs aged 0-1 years which contains added beta glucans, nucleotides and omega 3. Our Everyday Health and Protect & Care dog foods, aimed at adults and senior dogs, contain added supplements for joint health, digestion and to support healthy skin and coat. It’s all part of our mission to improve pet health and wellbeing.”