Did you know that more than half of US households include a dog or cat? In fact, more households have a pet than a child under 18. That translates to over 150 million canines and felines in the United States, and over $70 billion spent on their care and feeding in 2018. People now consider pets to be members of the family and bring them everywhere. Pets now permeate and impact every area of our lives, including housing, healthcare, education, and prisons. This means that pets are relevant to everyone whether you are a parent, policy maker, or business leader.

PETS ARE GOOD BUSINESS

If your business is not thoughtfully incorporating pets into your offerings, you are missing out on revenue opportunities — and you may be experiencing operational impacts from a lack of effective pet policies. Pet owners make choices about dining, lodging, and more based on whether they can accommodate their furry family member. They want access to products and amenities that support their pet-loving lifestyle.

Savvy businesses and brands are adding revenue streams and building customer loyalty by adding pet-focused offerings, such as dog menu items and hotel pet beds. Look no further than the current news reports about pets being killed and passengers being bitten on airlines for an example of what can happen when your industry fails to recognize the market demand and provide effective pet-friendly options.

At Michelson Found Animals, we think the pet market is so promising that we launched an accelerator program in 2018 in partnership with Mars Petcare and R/GA Ventures. A total of 12 companies have participated in our first two cohorts of the Leap Venture Studio. They are changing the world for people and pets, with everything from vegan treats and dog food, to AI veterinary information — and making money while they do it.

PETS IN THE WORKPLACE

Your employees are animal-crazy too, and they want to bring their pets to work. While at first this may seem daunting, studies show that pets at work actually improve morale, team bonding, and productivity. Creating a solid pets at work policy can help you avoid the perils of misplaced poop and annoying barking. Still not sold? Benefits other than bringing Fido to work are also highly valued. Think about puppy paid time off or discounted pet insurance to show your staff you care.

The bottom line is that pets are big business, partially because they transcend political and socio-economic barriers. We’re here to serve pets and people, and that means helping businesses like yours better serve their customers, clients, employees, and community. If you need help navigating the furry world of pets, the team at the Michelson Found Animals Foundation is here to help.  And of course, if you want to foster or adopt a pet, we can also help you get more love in your very own household. Visit us at foundanimals.org to get involved.

Aimee Gilbreath is Executive Director of the Michelson Found Animals Foundation. To learn more, visit foundanimals.org.

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