Dogs and cats have become privileged family members over the last decade.
And this increase in status means an increase in the purchase of pet-related businesses such as kennels.
Luxury is a money-spinning trend as it means clients are willing to pay kennel owners higher premiums to ensure that their beloved pet is treated well when away from the family home.
Here are some current trends in luxury pet-care products and services:
The climate seems to change from hot to cold in a matter of hours and owners want their pets to look both stylish and warm if the weather takes a turn for the unexpected. Dog clothing has moved from being purely functional to being attractive and utilising the finest quality materials.
The range of clothing products available is now also extensive, with retailers selling anything from quilted waterproof parkas for outdoor play to woolly jumpers, which are hard-wearing and canine-friendly.
A dog kennel with a retail area allowing owners to browse clothing ranges shows that they appreciate pet aesthetics, and most pets absolutely love dressing up. Supplying pet clothing should generate additional revenue from customers, as luxury products can be retailed at high values.
More and more kennels are starting to personalise their sleeping areas making it, quite literally, a home from home.
You’d be mistaken if you thought a dog basket or a kennel was enough. Dog beds have evolved into a home accessory – ranging from memory foam, to dog chesterfields (yes you heard me) and four poster metal framed beds.
Kennel owners often provide a variation of bed sizes, catering to the needs of each dog. After all you never know who your clientele are going to be.
Sympathetic dog kennel owners can now set up cameras in both individual pens and play run-around areas.
By sending them an internet link to a live feed via email, pet lovers can be reassured that their animals are being treated well and are enjoying themselves at the kennels. It may seem far-fetched, but Skype calls between pets and their owners organised by kennels are not far off.
There are some surprising trends emerging in the world of dog grooming, as how pets look becomes more important to their owners. At the far out end of the scale comes a trend for pet tattoos.
Before the AWFC start knocking on kennel doors – these are fun and colourful temporary tattoos which do not cause animals any pain, however, they should only ever be carried out by a trained groomer.
If tattoos are off-limits, offering general grooming services as part of the dog kennel experience is something that will aid any kennel business. This could include coat washing and drying, and perhaps another recent trend - extreme coat dyeing (also as only a temporary feature) in a multitude of hues.
Kennel owners keen to try out these trends should ensure that staff are properly trained in grooming in order to avoid injuries or unhappy clients – in fact some kennels instead allow professional pet hairdressers rent space.
Of course, most dog kennels also cater to cats and there has been a rise in cat grooming services, with the focus on keeping animals healthy and looking good. To stay on top of this trend staff should be trained in the differences between cat and dog grooming.
For example, there has been a recent development in owners using special claw guards on their cats. The guards help cats not to scratch themselves and other things and are easily affixed, plus they come in a range of colours. Kennel managers can be easily trained in applying the guards to guests.
Many kennels are being asked to provide a la carte menus to ensure that pets are eating high-quality foods. In recent years the word ‘gourmet’ has weaved its way into pet food language, with manufacturers developing special gourmet – and therefore higher-priced – versions of food staples.
The newest trend in the UK is for pet food that can be heated in the microwave to give a more pleasant dining experience, so kennel owners should be prepared to up their culinary skills if they want to please fussy pets used to more extravagant food.
Lastly, and perhaps as a result of all that luxury food guzzling, increased awareness of pet fitness needs is on the rise. The increase in stand-alone pet fitness centers omeans that pets can take part in canine aqua-aerobics in specially-designed swimming pools and enjoy aromatherapy massages.
Although the initial outlay may be more than kennel owners are used to, having a dedicated fitness center will ensure that kennels can meet pet exercise needs, and state-of-the-art equipment will impress even the fussiest of pet owners.
If you enjoyed this article, sign up for a *free* BusinessesForSale.com account to receive the latest small business advice, features, videos and listings directly to your inbox!