The Consumer Intelligence Blog - Infegy

Pets, Parents, and Influencers: How Consumers Shifted Pet Ownership

In an uncertain time, one thing is for certain: pets will always be there for us.


With dramatic shifts happening across the consumer landscape, pet care is undergoing its own evolution.


Brands in the pet industry or who are trying to reach pet owners need to know how consumers are spending, what their experiences are, what or who influences them, and which products, foods, and treatments matter to pet owners.


Inside our latest - and cutest - consumer insights report on pets and pet care, we uncover crucial data on pet parents and how they are shifting the ways they care for their furry friends.


As the lead research analyst for this report, I have pinpointed some key data points that are worth barking over.


In this article, we’ll fetch some of the top takeaways found in our analysis. 🐶


New Pet Parents, Especially Millennials, Are Ready to Spend

With a pet bubble booming it leads to the question will the bubble ever burst? We used social listening data to quickly predict that this trend is likely here to stay, pandemic or no.


Millennials are now the top most likely new pet parents. As millennials grow up and gain higher incomes or job status, they’re looking for an alternative to starting a family until they’re ready for a bigger commitment. Moreover, as pet ownership was on the rise even before 2020, many consumers were likely to get a pet. The pandemic acted as the final push.



Pet ownership demographics previously skewed younger and for families with larger household sizes. The 55-64 and 13-24 group has remained steady, but 25-34 has overtaken them in the pandemic era.


Additionally, these new pet owners have a higher disposable income to act as a buffer in the face of a recession, so they are likely to spend on items for their new furry friends. This contributes to the already shifting attitude towards pets from animals to care for to members of the family to adore.


Pet Parents are increasing talking about recipes and homemade dog food

We’ve documented in prior analysis of how consumer conversations vary depending on the channel and the audience segment.  


With the right research tools, social listening can help you pinpoint what different types of audiences are saying on different platforms.


When it comes to pets and pet care, this holds true.  Pet parents - those who identify as owning a pet, or who have terms like “dog mom” in their online bios - talk about foods, recipes, ingredients, pet products, and their relationship with their pets (i.e. #doglover):


top keywords in social media from pet owners and audience segments with social listening


What else can we take away from the data here?

  • Vet conversation has more volume but is less positive than Dog Influencers
  • The leading topics for veterinarians are health, safety, and rescue dogs
  • Dog influencers, on the other hand, most often discuss preferred dog foods
  • Vets dominate Pinterest whereas much of Dog Influencers voice is on TikTok
  • Vet conversation focuses on health, safety, and rescue dogs
  • Dog influencers tend to use a wide variety of positive adjectives to promote preferred dog foods. Dog influencers are the most focused on breed types (evident in their hashtag usage)
  • Overall, pet parents in general mention recipes and homemade dog food the most
  • Pet parents also mention puppies more
  • Both vets and the general population frequently  post content about training, dieting, walking/exercise while talking about dog food


Pet parents are looking for preventative care to save from costly emergency visits

Virtually any topic gets a certain amount of conversation online, even niche ones like pet insurance and preventative care.


When it comes to pet preventative care versus emergency conversation, talk of preventative care was increased 16%.


preventative pet care data with social listening

Considering pets as family, more pet parents are relying on pet insurance to pay for routine exams and emergency veterinary visits. When diving into pet insurance conversation the top drivers of positive conversation range from relief they have pet insurance to discussing their pets as family.. Note the surprising distribution of positive sentiment.


“Cost” makes up a large portion of conversation regarding pet insurance and ultimately drives a neutral sentiment score from the extreme happiness from consumers about saving money to the disappointment of overall cost.


sentiment analysis of online posts from pet owners with social listening


Amazon Reviews show how consumers view pet products like Zesty Paws

Consumers talk online on channels other than social media. Analyzing review data with social listening is a nifty little trick that typical social analytics platforms can’t do.


Our team used social listening to pinpoint how consumers felt about certain pet products when they talked about them on Amazon reviews.


For example: how do customers of a popular pet product, Zesty Paws, talk about their experiences when leaving reviews?


Zesty Paws might seem like an expensive product with an extensive ingredient list that might appeal to only a very niche audience. However the product line has been wildly successful on Amazon with an overwhelming percentage of 5-star reviews. What makes customers rave about this product?


amazon review data of pet products with social listening


Some of the top keywords associated with Zesty Paws within Amazon Reviews?

  • Works
  • Treats
  • Taste
  • Happy
  • Amazing
  • Great product

Meanwhile, the leading themes for these online reviews were easy for our research team to spot:

  • The product works
  • Their dogs love the taste
  • The customers view it as less expensive than alternative solutions


Pet owners express concern for their pets during and after the pandemic quarantining ends

The last quick takeaway I’ll mention has to do with the importance of understanding customer concerns and anxieties.


While you might have a sense of consumer pain points based on customer service calls and reach outs on social media, you’re missing out on a huge proportion of conversation if you’re not analyzing the entirety of online conversation and looking for what people say organically without mentioning certain products or brands.  


In short: how do consumers talk about their concerns, needs, frustrations or fears in general?

We looked at that for pet parents and found that during the 2020 pandemic, they worry how the strange at home schedules might impact their fur babies:


top keywords for pet owners during pandemic with social listening

Pet owners have concerns for their pets during and after the pandemic quarantining ends. During the COVID period negative conversation about separating from pets and causing separation anxiety has steadily increased.


Additionally, puppy owners worry about lack of socialization with other dogs due to quarantine.Brands should hone in on and create products designed to curb these fears.


It’s important for you to analyze online commentary in general in this way to see how the conversations are going and how you can address customer concerns that they may not share with you directly.


Ready to see the full pets report? We’ve buried the treats here.