An Economic Indicator: Yappy Hour and Other Doggy Treats

by Elaine Schwartz    •    Oct 5, 2013    •    1427 Views

Dogs can tell us a lot…economically.

San Francisco’s dog owners can select among 60 different dog treats and 4 birthday cake sizes at Le Marcel Dog Bakery. They can drop off a pet at one day care center that soon will have a senior oasis for older clientele (gently sloping ramps and lots of sleeping areas). Canine massages, “dog-u-mentary” photography, and online on-demand walkers are multiplying.

Think also of high per capita incomes, companionship for urban singles and long lived seniors, and entrepreneurs with good ideas.

China could be our perfect example. Increasing affluence, the one child policy, and more couples without children have meant a growing pet population that is increasingly treated like members of the family. In Brazil’s more affluent urban population, we would find the most small dogs per capita for the developing world. Actually, the biggest proportional increase in dog ownership in 2012 was led by India but still they have only 4 dogs per thousand people.

Finally, the financial woes in the euro zone have had the reverse impact on pet ownership and treatment. In 2012, France with a sagging economy, and Greece on the brink of economic cataclysm had fewer dogs than 5 years ago. As Euromonitor explained, in Greece, “…pet owners [were] leaving aside humanization trends and reducing considerably the budgets they allocate for their pet.”

You can see that economic growth and dog ownership can be an economic indicator of growth or contraction. But then, what about Switzerland (see below)? From what I could discover in a Euromonitor report, although dog and bird ownership in Switzerland are declining, cats have become more popular. Unlike the Greeks, the Swiss are continuing to buy premium products for their pets.

From: Quartz

From: Quartz


Thinking of past econlife posts, we can add dogs to beerCoach purses, and pecans as economic indicators of ascending affluence.

Sources and Resources: This Quartz article from last year remains the best summary of the economics of pet ownership while the Euromonitor Greece report and China report summaries provided some details. A hat tip to APM’s Marketplace for reminding me of our pets’ economic significance.


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