The Market For Pet Apps

August 13, 2013 in Daily Bulletin

Sophia Hollander wrote about apps designed specifically for pets:

  • Pets that are stranded alone at home can use apps on tablet devices to entertain themselves
  • These games allow cats to swat at mice, go fishing, and even destroy urban landscapes. If the cat begins to lose interest the game might emit a ‘meow’.
  • Focus groups of cats and dogs are used to ensure that the games will be popular for pets across the world. They are known as gamer pets.
  • But it’s not just cats and dogs who play the games. Tigers and frogs have enjoyed them. Penguins, in particular, seem to like “Game for Cats”.
  • It’s also possible to play against your pet. In You vs Cat competitors try to score goals against cats. The cats are currently in the lead 28.2 million points to 19.7 million.
  • There are in fact entire classrooms devoted to teaching pets how to use tablets. In one class if dogs stop paying attention then peanut butter is smeared on the screen.
  • It’s not all fun and games. Some apps are used for therapeutic purposes to build trust in abused animals.
  • Those who have taught their pets to use tablets may come to regret it. The pets soon begin to think that the tablet belongs to them, and get in the way when it’s the human’s turn to use the device.
  • Unfortunately pets cannot yet help humans out with tasks like online banking.

The article is entertaining and well written. Find out about “catty” critics of the phenomenon, the rising competition, and more over here. Read our entire series on pet perks here.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Via: Marginal Revolution

The Rise Of The Llamas

July 5, 2013 in Daily Bulletin

Chosen a side in the war between cats and dogs? Llamas may trump all writes Jennifer A. Kingson:

  • Llamas are becoming increasingly popular pets.
  • Those who own llamas say that they are similar to dogs in that they are highly attuned to the emotions of humans.
  • Other behaviours such as the humming noise that llamas like to make have also endeared them to humans.
  • Given the size of the animal they are fairly cheap. One can be had for $500, and the valued fiber they produce can be sold for a profit
  • There are llama shows, similar to dog shows, where the best llamas are given ribbons.
  • There are also ‘therapy llamas’ that visit the sick, elderly and disabled, and ‘ambassador llamas’ that visit schools, churches, and libraries.

Read more about llamas, the stories of llama owners, the myth of them spitting, and why male and female llamas have to be kept separate over here. And read more of our ongoing series on Pet-Perks over here.

Source: The New York Times

Via: Marginal Revolution

Lady And The Tramp Stamp

April 30, 2013 in Daily Bulletin

Victoria Bekiempis covered New York’s latest trend: dogs with tattoos:

  • As summertime approaches and dogs have their hair cut short, dog owners are using (temporary) tattoos to glamourize their pets.
  • Dog owners say that they go to several events where other peoples’ pets are dressed up in expensive outfits and that this is a low cost way to compete.
  • The tattoos themselves cost $100.
  • Owners argue that their pets like the tattoos. They might not appreciate its design or colour but they enjoy the resulting attention they receive from people who notice.

Read more about the trend, the celebrity dog groomer driving it, photos of pets and owners with matching tattoos, and how the practice is spreading outside of New York over here. And read our entire coverage of Pet Perks over here.

Source: DNAinfo

Exclusive Dog Clubs

January 5, 2013 in Daily Bulletin

The next big thing for dogs? Exclusive clubs, writes Bob Morris:

  • To get into high end dog clubs, the dog needs to go through a rigorous interview process to see if the dog would be a good ‘fit’ for the club.
  • These clubs are particularly worried about canines that exhibit “toy aggression” or those that don’t share treats. All of this can cause anxiety in the clubs’ other four-legged members, and the owners of the club want it to be a peaceful experience for all patrons.
  • Dogs that are accepted have their information stored in an online database which handlers use to know what to expect when dealing with the pet.
  • A variety of services are available at these clubs including, yoga and massages for the dog.

Read more about these clubs, the people who work there, and the experience of one dog-owner who got choked up seeing his pet get accepted into an exclusive club over here. You can also read about menus and hotels designed specifically for dogs in our series on pet perks over here.

Source: The New York Times

Via: Marginal Revolution

What Dogs Tell Us About Economics And Culture

November 20, 2012 in Daily Bulletin

Theresa Bradley and Ritchie King argue that you can tell a lot about a country by the relationship it has with pet dogs. Highlights include:

  • Dog ownership can be thought of as an economic indicator. As incomes rise; pet ownership rises. America, unsurprisingly, has the highest number of dogs, with one pooch for every four Americans.
  • India has the fastest growing population of dogs. There is now a TV station available just for dogs.
  • Switzerland has seen its dog population shrink in recent times.
  • Hong Kong and Singapore have the most dogs per-square-kilometer but that’s because those city-states have a high population density. Asian countries in general appear to dislike dogs and have low rates of dog ownership.
  • Middle Eastern countries have a preference for large dogs – perhaps because dogs are seen as hunters and guardians rather than companions.

The full article here has many more statistics including the country with the highest number of small dogs, and the country which spends the most on dog food. Or check out our coverage of some of the crazier services available for dogs including plastic surgery, funerals, and special restaurants.

Source: Quartz

A Love Motel For Dogs

November 13, 2012 in Daily Bulletin, Signature

Centives has reported in the past on restaurants and menus designed specifically for dog owners. Now entrepreneurs in Brazil have taken things a few steps further in launching a love motel for dogs:

  • The motel rooms have heart shaped mirrors, red mattresses, and mood-setting lighting.
  • Dog owners can pay $50 for a mating session where dogs can do things in privacy and comfort. Doggie beer costs extra. Spa services are available.
  • If the attempt to mate is unsuccessful then the motel can arrange for artificial insemination.
  • In addition to the on-call veterinarians the upscale motel keeps 35 staff on hand.
  • Other services available for pets in Brazil include a pet taxi that transports the animals, café’s that specialize in pet food (“beef-flavoured muffins”), $40-a-bottle perfume for dogs, and plastic surgeons willing to provide Botox injections to pets.

Read more about the hotel, the people behind it, and why one pet owner was impressed with the establishment over here.

Source: The New York Times

Via: Marginal Revolution

Pet Funerals

September 12, 2012 in Daily Bulletin, Signature

We’ve seen restaurants with menus designed specifically for pets. It turns out that there are crematoriums and other such services that operate on largely the same principles. Eric Spitznagel wrote:

  • The pet after-care industry has grown tremendously – some report growth rates of hundreds and thousands of percent annually. In 2011 it was worth $52.87 billion.
  • Some of the services offered include $1,765 bronze grave markers and $1,135 velvet lined caskets. You can also get your pet freeze dried, embalmed, or have a diamond made of their remains.
  • According to one service provider, families are quite likely to complain about the cost of burying/cremating their human relatives. They never complain about the cost of after care services for their pets.
  • Some suggest it is because baby boomers find their only source of companionship in their pets after their children leave home or their spouses pass away. But young people are just as likely to use these services.

Read more including some of the other options offered, and why people from Ohio will bury their dogs in Pennsylvania, but not their relatives, over here.

Source: Business Week

The Doggie Menu

July 28, 2012 in Daily Bulletin, Signature

We’ve all heard of places which have dogs on the menu. Alina Dizik reported on the rise of restaurants that have menus designed specifically for dogs:

  • Dogs dine along with their owners and get a special menu for themselves. Some of the items include:
    • Bowser beer (nonalcoholic)
    • Frozen raw bone sprinkled with dill
    • Freshly baked dog biscuits made by the pastry chef
    • Lamb stir fry
  • One place offers all of its human-menu items in doggie version. While the food is the same the price is lower for dogs because they require less preparation and don’t include side dishes.
  • Chefs must be careful when designing the doggie entrees. There are foods such as onions, chocolate and dairy products that are unsafe for dogs.
  • Some restaurant owners even consult with vets to ensure their menu will appeal to dogs.
  • There are economic benefits to doing this. Not only does the dog-menu introduce a new revenue source, customers with dogs generally stay longer and order more food and drinks. There is also greater brand loyalty from these patrons.
  • Dog-owners are regulated to the patio – a typically underutilized space. Those who dislike dogs can avoid them by eating inside.
  • One restaurant had to build a separate entrance for dogs because regulations prevented dogs from walking through the human entrance.

The entire article is fascinating and sprinkled with wonderful insights. If you click on the link here you’ll find out how the restaurants deal with dogs that have to use the bathroom, how much these items may cost, what percentage of revenue doggie items make, some other dog-only menu items, how many dogs typically visit such establishments, why owners are concerned that their pets are getting old food, why certain pet owners hate the idea of a dog-only menu, and what restaurant owners and customers have to say.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Via: Marginal Revolution

Using Fed-Ex to get Athletes to the Olympics

March 12, 2012 in Daily Bulletin, Signature

2012 is an Olympic year and this means that the world’s fastest runners will soon be gathering in London. We are, of course, referring to horses. But how do you get them all the way to England? Bill Chappell found out:

  • The 1100 pound horses will be Fed-Exed from Newark airport to London in specially designed stalls that will house two horses each. Fed-Ex charges by the kilo.
  • The horses will be given an inflight meal that consists of hay, carrots, Gatorade and apple juice.
  • The horses are going to be jetlagged when they arrive in England, although certain horses deal with changing time zones better than others.
  • While the horses aren’t seated for takeoff, landing, or times of turbulence, they are required to keep their equivalent of a seatbelt fastened throughout the flight. No word on whether or not they have to put their smartphones into flight mode.

To read about the measures being taken to ensure that the horses don’t fret, the role that mood lighting has to play, and why they may give the horses the equivalent of a couple of glasses of champagne click here.

Source: NPR

Via: Marginal Revolution

10% of Pets are on Facebook

July 17, 2011 in Daily Bulletin

The Telegraphreports on a study that found that up to one in ten pets in the United Kingdom have a Facebook page, Twitter profile or YouTube channel. This has spawned several social networking sites for pets such as “Critter” and “Doggie Dating”. Cats seem to rule the online world with Romeo amassing close to 10,000 followers and Maru registering over 100 million views on YouTube. Sociologists believe that as online worlds become more deeply integrated into our own identity, it’s only natural for pets to have a bigger presence in our social networks. Read more over here.

Source: The Telegraph