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More time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to rising attachment anxiety and behavioral interests among dogs and cats.

5 trends to watch in pet care and products

Expect more humanization of pets, focus on sustainability and an increase in tech solutions

The overarching trend in pet care anticipated this year is the accelerated humanization of the family pet, according to online pet product marketplace

“There are certainly more chapters that have yet to be written before this pandemic comes to an end, but one subplot has already emerged: love and appreciation for our pets has reached an all-time high,” said Kate Jaffe, trend expert at Rover. “More and more, we’re relying on our pets to be our friends and to provide emotional support. It’s a fair assumption that pet parents will repay the favor in 2022, accelerating the pet industry to new heights.”

Rover tapped the expertise of its Dog People Panel to identify five pet-specific trends and predictions expected to emerge in 2022.

1. Anxiety solutions soar

More time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to rising attachment anxiety and behavioral interests among dogs and cats. In fact, demand for training and anxiety solutions is “10 times higher” than pre-pandemic levels, according to Rover Dog People Panelist and Certified Professional Dog Trainer Nicole Ellis. 

As we enter a third year of the pandemic, retailers can expect to see a sizable sales increase in calming products and solutions such as calming treats, lick mats and more. 

2. Pet parents go green

With a growing emphasis on climate change, 2022 will see more sustainably made and eco-friendly pet products come to market as pet parents learn more about the carbon “pawprint” of their companion animals.

Expect more mindfulness, a ‘how-can-I-reduce’ mentality and eco-friendly products —including sustainable pet food protein sources, packaging and cat litter — to become a priority among pet parents.

3.  Nutrition goes next-level

Two main factors will drive improvement in pet food nutrition in 2022, according to Rover: The aforementioned increasingly climate-conscious culture and the growing sentiment that pets deserve a healthy, well-balanced diet that fits their needs. 

Consumers will increasingly seek out alternative protein sources with more nutritional benefits and less environmental impact. Wellness trends will trickle down to pet care, with more options for digestive and immunity support, and rising “human-grade” fresh pet food options. 

4. The pet tech boom

A growing pet industry market capitalization means more money and innovation will provide pet parents with more technology-based solutions than ever before.

Dog-activated video calls, virtual vet visits, smart feeders and collars, microchip-enabled devices, and even online services — like a virtual weight-loss clinic for pets —are already a reality. Expect these new technologies to double down as pet parents seek out tech that delivers convenience, safety and health monitoring solutions in the years to come.

5. The humanization of pets continues

The growing recognition that “pets are people, too”  continues to grow strong with human comforts and needs — from organic bedding to meal delivery services and telehealth and insurance — crossing over to our pets. 

“If you ask most parents, they’ll say that their top priority is providing their children with happy, healthy and fulfilling lives — and they’ll do just about everything in their power to make that happen. I really think we’re approaching the point where the same can be said for pet parents,” said Jaffe.

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