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What does the Humanization of Pets Mean for Pet Habitats?

Last week we discussed how the humanization of pets affects the pet food industry. Many of us in the industry are observing this trend of pets now being fully integrated into the family. Instead of the family dog Fido, it's the fur-baby Fido.

Pet humanization is causing a large shift in the way manufacturers produce pet products and how marketers are selling them. With everything from pet food and care to habitats, the pet industry is adapting to the needs of the consumers and their lifestyle. At this time, it means producing products that allow pets to be a part of the family.

The Decline of Dog Houses as Habitats

Just a few years ago, nearly every dog-owning household had a backyard with a dog house sitting in it. Those were the days when sending your dog outside to sleep at night was the norm. Instead of allowing dogs to sleep on beds inside of the family home, canines were banished to the outdoors for the night to sleep in their own cozy little home set aside just for them.

These days, we are seeing more dogs sleeping on dog beds, human beds, and even couches inside the family home, making the dog house a little redundant and unnecessary in many cases. While there are still a good amount of homes with dog houses in certain regions of the states, it seems that this style of canine habitation is in decline.

Related Article: 3 Ways the Pet Industry is Becoming More Humane

So what are we seeing rising in popularity among consumers today instead? Rather than opting for a permanent outdoor residence for the dog, consumers are choosing to purchase products that offer a more temporary and modern solution: An outdoor kennel.

A great example of a top selling dog kennel is the the Pet Gazebo by Advantek. As sales for dog houses are slowly declining, Advantek has seen the demand for the Pet Gazebo rise tremendously. This may be due to the fact that the Pet Gazebo allows for the safety and security of having a dog outside (especially when traveling and doing activities such as camping!) while also giving them the sense of an open space and shade.

The multi-functionality of the Pet Gazebo also lets the pet owner use the product for whatever purpose they wish, whether it be for camping and fishing in the shade with their best pal, or enjoying an outdoor Summer BBQ with little kids around who may accidentally get knocked over by a large dog. The best part is that whenever the owner is finished using the Pet Gazebo, they can then let the dog back into the family home where he can cuddle on the bed with his loving owners.

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Humanizing the Rabbit Hutch

Historically, rabbit owners and manufacturers alike haven't put much thought into their rabbit hutches. It was common, and widely accepted, to have a small hutch for a couple of rabbits who were just left inside until the owner decided they wanted to play. Rabbits were considered to be a lesser pet than a cat or dog. So why focus on improving the space they live in if consumers are still willing to buy rabbit hutches that don't nearly offer these pets enough space?

Related Article: Engaging Shoppers in the Small Animal Category

Well, the truth is that is also starting to change. As consumers get more educated and rabbit "activists" start speaking up, the pet industry is once again being forced to change their tune. Instead of manufacturing the same too-small rabbit hutches, product designers are looking into ways of inexpensively and efficiently improving the rabbit owning experience by providing consumers with a properly sized rabbit home.

Advantek's product design team, for example, has dedicated themselves to researching new rabbit standards and ensuring that all future products are produced to these standards. Advantek is making sure their newly designed habitats will fit the needs of these consumers by reading through studies, books, and blogs such as justrabbits.com, which demands for a higher quality of rabbit hutch design.

After researching and reading through these new consumer demands, one often wonders: Is all of this extra work and time actually worth it? The answer is, simply yes. By observing these trends and researching consumer needs, manufacturers such as Advantek are realizing that this isn't just a fad. In fact, it's likely going to continue growing until rabbit owners are continually more aware of higher standards of rabbit ownership. We can see the trend growing, already, through the hashtag #AHutchIsNotEnough which was started by the Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund and widely spreading throughout social media.

Higher Standards Required with Backyard Chicken Habitats

This is probably the point where many of you are thinking, "Come on, chickens are not a part of the family now too...are they?" Well, yes and no. While some backyard chickeners love their feathery friends just as much as any other pet, this isn't actually the point we're trying to prove. Instead, the trend we are seeing here is a demand in transparency for the actual number of chickens any one chicken coop can humanely and comfortably hold. Many manufacturers will overestimate how many chickens will comfortably fit into a chicken coop without overcrowding it. This is understandably leading to unhappy customers and negative reviews.

Similar to the rabbit habitat research, Advantek has also conducted several in-depth hours of research into the proper amount of space required for chickens. We have been working with the company to ensure all product descriptions now correctly reflect the number of chickens that will comfortably fit into a chicken coop. While this is lowering the total number of chickens significantly, and could potentially make Advantek look less competitive, it will actually benefit them in the end as consumers find that these totals are much more accurate than other chicken coops.

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About the Author

Ashley Hoffman – E-Commerce & Digital Marketing Manager joined the All Points family in April of 2015. Ashley brings a fresh outlook to the marketing industry as well as a constant desire for learning something new. She is dedicated to consistently improving her skills and efficiency in the marketing industry and using those skills to promote APM and all brands we represent. Ashley has grown up with many animals throughout her life and is currently the loving owner of two cats.

Click here for more information about the All Points family.

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