While for some people the idea of owning a pet is associated with emotions as such responsibility and obligation, a vast portion of the European population owns pets and considers them as their best friends and beloved members of the family. The number of households owning one pet animal has increased and consumers have been spending more and more on their pets, thus boosting the turnover of the pet food products industry. Although the pet food industry represents a large share of animal-related household expenditures, growth in the value of pet products and services also witnesses such a trend.
The recognition of the human-animal bond is being slowly accepted and exploited by health communities and veterinary medicine. Hence, Animal Assisted Intervention (AAI) is becoming more and more popular as a form of cost effective therapy for patient populations in various acute and rehabilitative care facilities. In Italy, as of the year 2015, 23.6 percent of patients undertook AAI. Among the benefits of the various forms of AAI, relax in the main strength of such therapies.
The pet industry comprises of two major product categories: pet food and pet accessories and/or supplies. As a result, several countries in Europe have a large number of feed and pet food companies. The leading countries in this case are Spain and Italy, followed by the United Kingdom. However, the United Kingdom is the highest ranking European country when it comes to the sales value of pet food and accessories.
Despite the diffusion of small pets such as ornamental fish, reptiles and small mammals, the vast majority of European households are especially attached to cats and dogs. The immediate consequence of such a preference is the greater sales value of cat and dog food when compared to other pet food and accessory products.
Overall the market value of pet care both in Western Europe and Eastern Europe in 2016 was over 25 billion and 4 billion euros respectively. Moreover, household monthly expenditures for pet care and pet supplies were generally between 30 to 50 euros, accounting for a considerable share of household income.