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Home is where the pets are…

Americans are extending their personal style and lifestyles to their pets and more importantly, investing in their fulfillment. We don’t just go on a run with our dogs–we talk to them, watch TV with them, buy them holiday gifts, have their portraits made. Often that is all reflected in an owners personal style and the pet itself. In fact reveals that 16 percent of Americans buy cars with their dog in mind. Not only is that a lot of cars but imagine the different styles, colors and options we consider with our pets in mind.

Americans’ deepening identification with their pets creates a big opportunity for home related businesses and the style we present. While today most of the money spent on pets is for food, veterinary care and boarding, trends suggest a willingness to indulge our pets in other ways… think style items from clothing to household items and more. Today’s pets travel with us, have their own social-media accounts, require stimulating day care, eat organic food and even doze on luxury fabrics.

When that luxurious velvet sofa catches your gaze for the first time, it’s easy to think, “I can totally do this, Fido will learn that he is not allowed up. Simple as that.” We’ve all been there, but let’s get real. Even if you become the dog whisperer and are indeed successful in keeping him off the sofa, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will stay clean. No matter what kind of animal you have, their hair magically finds its way through the air and onto your fabric, so it’s best to decide on an upholstery fabric you know you can work with before you even go out shopping. Fabrics with patterns are a good option to consider for hiding evidence of pet hair.

And remember you’ll want to make sure you choose a fabric that is fairly easy to clean, as drool marks and paw prints are a possibility. Consider Synthetic Fiber (Ultrasuede/Microfiber): It’s not always easy to get excited about this choice aesthetically but it’s about as close to “pet proof” as you can get. Cats don’t seem to like scratching it (especially if there is a scratching post nearby) and even if they try, it’s easy to brush away, if it even shows up.

And when shopping for that pet friendly furniture consider the example of IKEA, which built dog parking lots with astroturf beds that dogs hang out in while you shop. Furniture designers create pet-oriented and pet-proof furniture and fabric. Even a fashion brand like Mulberry appeals to pet owners. Now that’s style!
Even though scientists believe that our reliance on pets is hardwired into our brains, because our survival and evolution depended on animal companionship, whatever the reason, style trends show that pets are serious business. Consider jewelry.

Companies offering bedazzled collars and harnesses with a dose of glam in their designs will be the kind of companies that we’ll be seeing more of at retail. One example; the Snakeskin Collar where the name of your cat or dog is written in bold letters using Swarovski crystals and can’t be missed. The collar is made from stylish imitation snake skin and is available in seven fabulous colors- white, red, metallic silver, black, metallic gold, pink and blue.

The Collar was designed for decorative use only and you cannot attach a leash to it (for this reason the collar doesn’t come with a D-ring). With this Snakeskin Collar your pet is bound to turn some heads the next time he or she goes out for a walk in the neighborhood. Hey look at you… both!

And prettying up our pint-sized poochs has been going on for years. But now it looks like even the big dogs are going to have their day. It seems sizing of fashions to go beyond petite and dainty to bodacious, big and beautiful is in style. This not only includes wearable fashion, but also stylish furniture, beds and accessories found in the home.

It’s hard to say for sure why Americans’ bond with pets is growing stronger. It has been 20 years of gradually increasing pet ownership, so today more than 62 percent of Americans own pets. Think about that.

Therefor it seems logical that creating a Zen like in-home spa experience has been a growing style trend for a while. You can’t watch a home-remodeling show without noticing that it’s expected to have a full upmarket bath along with a master suite for pets! Included with that suite are all of the high-end soaps, cosmetics, shampoos, conditioners and other personal care products… all for the pets in our care.

And pet owners aren’t just looking for a driveway and a hose, just-get-my-dog-clean experience. They want their pets to feel as pampered and fulfilled as they do when they enjoy down time together. From cleaning and skin care to pawdicures, owners have embraced this trend with enthusiasm.

And, to keep those pretty pads and nails looking their best, stylish products will continue to gain popularity. Be on the lookout for the big cosmetic, department stores and spas to start having pooch pampering sections along with promotional human/pet pampering events.

More often nowadays pet parents are seeking convenience without sacrificing style. You know how it is: Just when it starts pouring buckets of rain, Spot needs to get outside and do his thing and of course he needs to go like yesterday! You have to deal with a harness, a leash and a raincoat, maybe four booties. Getting everything on in time or else! That’s why it is now stylish and smart to combines fashion with practicality.

You can now find products that combines the leash, harness and coat all into one proprietary piece. You may just have to forget the booties sometimes. Spot is literally ready to go in a few seconds flat. It’s so fast that you hardly even realize what just happened when you see it done.

When traveling with your pet in style be on the lookout for products that will cater to this pet, um, jet-setting crowd. Just as business travelers have changed travel so they have conveniences abound, pet owners look for products that help make their lives easier. It’s no different than having to take a stroller, toys, snacks, drinks and all the other necessities you need when you have a toddler.

Which ever it is child or pet the items need to be travel-size. Products need to be portable, lightweight and easily moved about. But getting through security lines, waiting at the airport, taking a road trip or train ride still presents challenges when you have Spot in tow. Pet parents don’t want their fur babies treated like a cargo and need solutions.

We all know as consumers that our pets are serious business. Our spending on pets hit a record in excess $58 billion –more than a three-fold increase since 1994. Perhaps it’s because pets provide some of our most enduring relationships: first marriages last a median of eight years, but life with a dog or cat can extend far beyond a decade. That’s a lot of style!


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