We’re Treating Pets Like Humans—and That’s Great for Business

Joshua Lott -- AFP/Getty Images

The pet humanization trend has created new categories of companies and celebrities.

Americans spent an estimated $60 billion on their pets this year, up from $36 billion in 2005.

It’s not hard to figure out what’s motivating this flood of cash. According to a poll conducted by Fortune and Morning Consult, 76% of pet owners in the U.S. said their pets are “beloved members of the family,” while only 19% classified them as “well cared for, but still considered animals.”

In the U.S., pets are basically people. The reasons behind the erasure of the line between animal and family member are varied and up for debate, but the results are indisputable. Today, many pets enjoy the same amenities as we do. It’s never been a better time to be a pet in America.

That’s thanks to entrepreneurs who have sniffed out an opportunity, and pounced. From startup founders offering humanized pet services, to veterinarians working with surgeons to develop new live-saving procedures, to social-media savvy owners who have turned their pets into brand ambassadors, the humanization trend has spawned a range of business opportunities.

In a fourpart series we explore how and why the “humanization of pets” trend is playing out.

Read Part I of Fortune’s The Business of Pets Package: Pets Are Basically People

Read Part II of Fortune’s The Business of Pets Package: When Fluffy’s Surgery Costs More Than a Car

Read Part III of Fortune’s The Business of Pets Package: What It’s Like When Your Dog Has More Instagram Followers Than You

Read Part IV of Fortune’s The Business of Pets Package: How the Internet’s Cuddliest Influencers Get Paid

Sign In


Thank you for your interest in licensing Fortune content. Please find information on various licensing contacts below and choose the one that best suits your needs:

  • 1. To license Fortune articles, excerpts, or headlines for republication in various media (including books, eBooks, film, web, newsletters, newspapers, magazines and others), please email syndication@timeinc.com.
  • 2. To license a Fortune cover, order reprint or e-print copies of an article or cover, or license an accolade, please contact PARS International at www.timeincreprints.com.
  • 3. To license text only photocopies of Fortunearticles as print or digital handouts in academic settings, or in academic coursepacks, please contact the Copyright Clearance Center at www.copyright.com