A woman is pictured with her dog in her garden. Both the woman and the dog are looking directly at the camera.
Pet products that are eco-friendly, model human preferences, and feature smart technology are some of the factors driving the growth of this $303 billion industry. — Getty Images/Oliver Rossi

Business is barking — er, booming — for the pet industry. Data from Michigan State University shows this industry contributed $303 billion to the economy in 2023, a 16% increase from 2022. Weekly sales of pet care products are growing three times faster than any other fast-moving category of consumer goods, indicating strong growth potential for those looking to enter this sector. Entrepreneurs seeking to launch a pet care business can look to these five trends for inspiration.

Eco-friendly pet products

Consumer demand for sustainability is not just a trend, it's a movement. And the pet industry is no exception.

Biodegradable toys, organic food, and eco-friendly grooming products are a few ways to meet this rising demand. Cat litter is a prime example of this shift — tofu cat litter has seen an astounding 800% growth over the last five years.

Companies like Boxiecat and Dofucat are leading the way with their biodegradable and upcycled litter. This trend is not only about being eco-friendly, it's about meeting the evolving needs of pet owners.

'Humanizing' pet products

Pet toys, food, and care products are increasingly modeled after human preferences and lifestyles, a trend known as "humanization." For example, pet communication buttons that teach dogs human words are a huge hit among millennial consumers. These products are not only functional, they're fun — and they can be sold at premium prices.

"Without a doubt, pet humanization encourages greater spending on pet products and accessories. We want our animals to look and feel good. As such, we invest more in special diets and indulgent products that promise a better quality of life for our much-loved fur babies," wrote Pet Professional.

[Read more: 5 Small Businesses Leveraging the Pampered Pet Trend]

Personalized pet nutrition is a big part of this humanizing trend. Just as humans follow certain diets to meet specific health needs, pets now do the same.

"For dogs, this includes reading the fine print on food labels to weed out what your dog might not need, factoring in your animal's breed, considering supplements such as Omega-3s and probiotics, as well as adding superfoods to their diets," wrote The Wildest, an online resource for pet parents. "For cats, focusing on protein-rich meals, Omega-3s, plus 'human foods' rich in antioxidants, aminos, and fiber have become pretty compelling game-changers," The Wildest added.

Weekly sales of pet care products are growing three times faster than any other fast-moving category of consumer goods, indicating strong growth potential for those looking to enter this sector.

Smart pet technology

Airtag collars, GPS dog fences, and automated feeders are a few examples of smart pet technology that have exploded in growth. "Global Market Insights forecasts that the global pet technology market will reach $35 billion by 2032, expanding at a CAGR of 15 percent," wrote Global Sources, a B2B sourcing platform.

Pet technology isn't just product-based, either. Ginger recently reported on the rise of "smart kennels," which are pet boarding services that integrate technology to improve the animal's stay and create greater peace of mind for their owner. These kennels use climate-controlled rooms, automatic feeders, motion-activated toys and agility equipment, and wearable tech to track the wellness of their wards.

[Read more: How Anthony Rubio Turned Canine Couture Into Art and Advocacy]

Mobile apps for telehealth and care

Apps like The Kin, PetDesk, and DuePet are making it easier for pet owners to get care for their furry friends on demand. Dozens of apps now provide 24/7 access to veterinarian advice, digitized vaccine records, pet insurance, and daily medicine reminders. Some even allow you to make appointments with vets, groomers, or boarding providers.

There are also dozens of apps that offer training support and games to keep pets entertained. GoodPup, Cat Fishing, and Puppr are all popular options that help give your animal mental stimulation throughout the day and provide tailored training plans.

Pet travel options

Bark Air, the first airline for dogs, recently went viral on social media, but there are lots of other companies that aim to make travel with pets easier and more pleasant. "Pet-friendly travel options are expanding, with Airbnb reporting a 65 percent increase in searches for pet-friendly accommodations in 2020," wrote Global Source.

As more owners take their pets on the go, the demand for dog harnesses, carriers, and seatbelts suitable for dogs and cats is increasing. Consider how your business can help make travel easier for four-legged friends.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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