Happy Dog = Happy Family


Pet adoptions became all the rage as the pandemic swept across the land, and their unconditional love has earned the critters plenty of treats, toys and food. It shows in the industry’s sales figures.

Petco CEO Ron Coughlin says cutting back spending on pets is one of the last financial adjustments families make in hard times.

Houston dog trainer Michael Baugh of Michael's Dogs says he thought the pandemic would hurt his business, bracing for possible cutbacks. “Then the calls started coming, the clients just started coming, and we finished 2020 with gross sales up 27% over 2019.”

And that's doing dog training on zoom. Those businesses that were able to adapt to e-commerce were greeted with unanticipated demand. Land-locked brick and mortar businesses suffered during lockdowns. Year over year, online sales of pet food jumped 77% in March of 2020. The average amount pet families spent on furr babies’ holiday gifts average $90, according to a Deloitte survey of pet owners.

Michael Baugh says his successful dog training business had some experience with Zoom before the pandemic’s arrival, but it wasn’t certain that there would be enough interest in correcting behavioral issues online. “When we started this back in March we were pretty good using Zoom for consulting and training, but we’re really good at it now. We did over 1,000 Zoom consults for our dog training and behavior clients from March until the end of the year.”

photo: Getty Images