According to the 2021–2022 American Pet Products Association (APPA) National Pet Owners Survey, 70% of U.S. households — 90.5 million homes — now own a pet. And while dogs and cats continue to reign supreme, the growth of the “other” pet space can’t be denied: 9.9 million homes own a bird, 6.2 million homes have a small pet (usually small mammals) and 5.7 million homes own a reptile. Multi-pet households are increasing which means dog and cat customers may also be parrot or lizard customers, hence the added importance of this, our annual "Small Pets" issue.
Trends and looking to the future
In this issue, you’ll find plenty of information on the latest in small pets. Our cover profile, Supreme Petfoods, has expertise in all sorts of small mammals and has a company mission focused in part on a familiar trend in the dog and cat space — sustainability. And speaking of trends, if you want to know how the ones we’re more than familiar with in the larger pet space are playing out in the “other” spaces, look no further: every feature this month has a focus on trends, the statistics behind them and what we can expect from the small pet world in the future as bird, reptile and small mammal owners continue to reach for the “humanization” aspect of ownership that dog and cat owners long ago turned into a given.
Whether we’re looking at small pets through the lens of a manufacturer, a pet owner or scientific research, the message is clear: “other” pet owners are catching up to dog and cat owners in terms of how they feel about their feathery, fluffy, scaly companions. Premiumization is making inroads, customized formulas are more important than ever and everyone wants to feel like they’re giving their pet the very best. In a US$103.6 billion (the amount that, according to the APPA, U.S. pet owners spent on their pets in 2020) industry, there is a lot to learn, and a lot to watch, moving forward.