From wagging tails and gentle purrs to their unwavering loyalty, pets bring joy, companionship, and a sense of belonging to countless households. It's no wonder then that the way we care for our pets has evolved significantly over the years. Approximately 2/3 of pet owners feed their furry children a diet similar to their own, according to a 2022 study of 2,000 pet owners conducted by Ollie. Is anyone surprised? Afterall, a 2023 Forbes Poll already highlights that “The majority of dog owners (85%) and cat owners (76%) consider their pets to be members of the family.”

Gone are the days when pets were solely fed traditional meals consisting of meat-based diets. The winds of change have blown in a gust of innovation, bringing forth a wave of vegetarian meals designed specifically for our beloved pets. This radical departure from convention has sparked debates and discussions, igniting passionate conversations among pet enthusiasts worldwide.

The passion for our pet’s longevity opens new doors to specialized health products promoting longer and healthier lives for our best friends. Here is a list of some of the many products that are excelling in this field.  

Food and Diet: Fido just ate an insect

Courtesy of Brands Awesome

Petaluma focuses on plant-based formula dog food. Founded during the pandemic by a California couple, the brand was born out of a dilemma the owners had when feeding their own pets. They felt forced to choose between quality nutrition and environmental sustainability. Their roasted peanut butter and sweet potato variant allows pet owners to feed their pets food in line with their ethical beliefs without sacrificing their principles when it comes to the environment.  

This couple is onto something as more and more pet owners are becoming aware that having a pet is not necessarily environmentally friendly. Our pets contribute significantly to our carbon footprint, with their meat consumption alone generating about 64 million tons of carbon dioxide annually in the US, equivalent to 13.6 million cars on the road. In fact, their diet accounts for 25-30% of the environmental impact caused by meat consumption in the country.  

PawCo Foods , founded by an ex-Impossible Foods employee, is also targeting the plant-based consumer interested in minimizing her pet’s environmental footprint. PawCo uses environmentally friendly packaging, so pet owners are reducing their emissions. This 2022 start-up is also highlighting the allergy-friendly nature of their foods, specifically chicken and egg allergies. It is believed that roughly 1 out of every 5 pets will develop some sort of allergy in their lifetime. This is usually in the first few years of a pet’s life.

Courtesy of My Pet and I

Some companies are taking the vegetarian option in a different direction. A French pet food company, Reglo, is replacing meat in pet food with insect-based dry food. Reglo wants to find an environmentally friendly alternative that uses the earth’s existing resources to its advantage. This innovation is at the forefront of a new insect protein industry altering pet nutrition.

Vitamins & Supplements: Time for your daily Vitamin

Pet supplement and nutraceutical brands are major players in the pet food industry, as this category continues to grow. “It is estimated that between 10–33% of dogs and cats and up to 84% of horse owners in the United States are fed a pet supplement or nutraceutical. In 2022, the pet supplement industry achieved a double-digit growth rate, "increasing by 10.5% to surpass the $1.0 billion milestone, as reported by Pet Supplements: United States."

It should come as no surprise that there are currently 1,440 pet vitamin and supplement companies in the U.S. This number has been growing at a rate of 4% for the past 5 years. This is the same growth rate as human supplements, “Revenue in the Vitamins & Minerals segment amounts to US$4.06bn in 2023. The market is expected to grow annually by 4.15% (CAGR 2023-2027).”  The pet and human supplement markets are continuing to grow at similar rates meaning the pet vitamin industry is here to stay.  

Courtesy of Amazon

With the highest concentration of pet supplement brands in Colorado, California and Florida. Zesty Paws is a clear example of a Florida brand that has ridden this wave. As pet owners became more interested in their own wellness, their pets were not far behind. Originally, part of a human supplement company (Zenwise), the pet supplement side of the company was sold for $610 million in 2021 – only five years after the Chewy pet supplements were launched.

Brands like Dog is Human are looking to compete in this space. This 2022 start-up promises to help Fido live his healthiest life by translating human science into pet vitamins and supplements. Over the pond, Blue Pet Co. harnesses the power of seaweed and sea minerals to offer a full range of vitamins, minerals and supplements specifically designed for canines.

Courtesy of Top Dog Health

The humanization of pets stems from our deep affection for animals and our aspiration to extend their lives. By intertwining our diets with our pets, we demonstrate our love and desire to provide them with a quality of life that rivals our own. Pet owners want to optimize their animal’s longevity by curating a healthy lifestyle, including a nutritious diet, supplements, and regular exercise. As the pet health market expands and innovative products emerge, society is uncovering new ways to enhance the well-being of aging pets. Recent studies have shown that our pets are living longer: “the average life expectancy of dogs increased from 10.5 years to 11.8 years between 2002 and 2016.This is correlated with the increase in viewing our pets as children rather than animals. The process of humanizing animals has increased their life expectancy. Pets are cherished members of our families, offering unwavering companionship and love. With such profound connections, they should have access to the same nourishment and vitamins as we do, further solidifying the bond between humans and their furry companions.

These are just a few brands that have impacted the health and wellness pet market. However, numerous opportunities still need to be tapped, presenting the potential for further growth and innovation. If you're interested in exploring this dynamic market and discussing how your business or brand could spearhead transformative change, don't hesitate to reach out. We'd love to share more insights and explore the possibilities together.

Louisa Purinton

Louisa is a Tufts University senior studying psychology and entrepreneurship. At Compass Marketing, she leads all Social Media and Content marketing efforts in addition to assisting with business development activities.

See All Works