THE RISE IN PET OWNERSHIP CREATES NEW OPTIONS FOR DOG SOCIALIZATION

Source: TRNTO (Extract)
Posted: April 9, 2021

Animal adoption agencies, dog breeders, and animal rescue groups saw a surge in demand for pandemic pets in the last year, with long waiting lists for more. The trend is so popular that it spawned a new term among pet owners — the “pandemic puppy”.

Canadian dog ownership is at an all time high, surpassing cats for the first time, with over eight million dogs firmly and happily ensconced on our couches and in our hearts. Over 40% of Canadian households have at least one dog. It’s no surprise the pet industry is continuing to boom.

Whether you recently welcomed a pandemic puppy or have been a long-time pet parent, it’s a good time to get organized on how to best care for your Best Furry Friend (BFF) in the long run.  Dogs are pack animals by nature, and need socialization. Right now they have you, at home, most of the time. What happens to your pup when your family gets back to regular life outside the home? 

Local outdoor dog parks are amazing, but not in all weather, and maybe not great for social distancing. Daily walks are an essential way to give your dog the exercise it craves and needs to stay healthy, if you can spare the time. A fast growing, popular alternative is dog daycare facilities. 

Currently deemed as an essential service provider in Ontario, many dog daycare facilities are servicing pets of frontline and essential workers, while also providing a break for work-at-home pet parents — all while giving the dogs much-needed exercise and new pups the socialization necessary for their development.

Not just great fun for your pets, it seems that the pet industry has proven to be recession- and pandemic-resistant as a business model, according to experts at Dogtopia Canada. Michael Waitzer, Head of Franchise Development, says, “With continued projected growth over the next several years, the spending on pets does not look like it will diminish anytime soon.”

Waitzer noted that the appeal of pet ownership and dog care services spans generations. Since many Millennials are having children later, or not all, and older couples have grown children, both groups are often drawn to pet ownership.

“In addition to the Millennial age group, Boomers are also enjoying the benefits of dog ownership and filling that empty nest,” says Waitzer. “While the expenses of an “empty nester” (between the ages of 55 and 64) will usually decrease, the spending on their pets generally spikes! These two core demographics are fueling the growth of the pet care sector, along with the cultural shift of anthropomorphizing one’s furry friend.”  

With over 18 locations across Canada, Dogtopia franchises continue to grow along with the country’s dog population, joining the wealth of pet services available to the families who love them.

Dogtopia Canada has been offering pups and their parents some ease of mind during the pandemic with their services.  Their model is essentially an “indoor dog park” facility with knowledgeable canine coaches who ensure dogs are always supervised, and are matched to play with similar dog friends and benefit from socialization, education and exercise.

The playrooms have specialized flooring that is easier on the joints of aging dogs, or softens robust pup wrestling. Sophisticated HVAC systems with antibacterial ultraviolet lighting keeps the air fresh and clean, exchanging play area air every 10-15 minutes. Dogtopia has high-definition webcams so that you can watch your dog play all day!

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