This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

How to Unleash Pet Lovers' Spending

Stocks in this article: GPS HOG HD

NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- The pet industry is enjoying growth at a time many other industries are stagnant or shrinking due to the economy.

According to the American Pet Products Association, roughly 73 million homes, or two-thirds of U.S. households, own a pet. The association estimates those consumers are spending more than $50 billion, up 5% from last year, on such things as pet vitamins, travel expenses, kennels and boarding, and food treats, among other things.

A dog is led through its paces by an employee of Zoom Room, a dog training and agility franchise.

Small-business owners should take advantage.

"The biggest reason why the market will stand is the humanization trend that's been going on for a number of years," says Bob Vetere, president of the American Pet Products Association. "You see pets treated like family members. It's no longer collars and feeding bowls. It's become so much larger than that."

Some of the hottest business trends include organic pet food, computerized identification tags, touch-activated toys, digital aquariums, pet spas and pet costumes -- yes, dressing Fluffy as a lumberjack.

"You don't have to go out and invent some patentable, new concept that's technologically innovative," Vetere says. "If you have a pretty sweater that you can knit for a dog -- that's got a niche too. You can cater to both ends."

The largest segment of pet owners are baby boomers who have discretionary money to spend and whose kids have left home. "They were called helicopter parents and now are looking to hover over something else," Vetere says.

The pet segment is also relatively easy to enter -- not only is there large opportunity for product innovation, but many businesses can be started at home. Vetere estimates the industry adds roughly 200 to 250 serious businesses a year. Many small pet-related businesses don't make it past their first year, though, and approximately 80% of the association's members report annual sales of less than $2 million.

Surviving in the pet industry isn't just about creating a cool toy for Fido or filling a need such as a dog-walking service in your local town. Experts say pet entrepreneurs must understand the market they are targeting and the business logistics of their product or service.

1 of 3

Select the service that is right for you!

Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!


DOW 17,941.42 +136.62 0.77%
S&P 500 2,077.53 +6.88 0.33%
NASDAQ 4,778.2620 +12.8820 0.27%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs