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The UK has a vast pet industry, with the population owning approximately 25 million pets. For many people, pets are bought for companionship and soon become fully-fledged members of the family. As a result, a large amount of money is spent on pet services, to ensure that pet animals get the best care and treatment possible.
Pet services include all businesses and professions involved in the care and general wellbeing of domestic animals. These services are separate from veterinary healthcare, but focus more on everyday care, training and grooming.
Whilst there has been a general reduction in pet ownership in the last two years, there has still be a consistent and stable market in pet food, general health care and pet accessories. This is largely due to the willingness of pet owners to spend large amounts on their beloved pets. Some pet owners follow the normal consumer trends of fashion and health and apply these to their pets, with money frequently spent on regular grooming and the very best healthcare.
As well as companions, pets can become the pride possessions of the owner; with a trend in owners entering pets in various competitions, many pets now go through special training and regular grooming.
In 2008, the UK pet food market was valued at just under £2 billion (Lantra). Growth in pet accessories has also been reported. There has also been a shift in the amount of people trusting old-fashioned dog kennels or catteries, preferring to use individual, qualified pet-sitters.
As a result of the above trends, the pet services industry is growing rapidly, with businesses such as pet shops, pet food suppliers, grooming salons, boarding establishments, and freelance pet sitting services following suit.
Pet services is a job path open to people from all academic backgrounds and from all walks of life. Generally, the professions in pet services do not require degree-level education, but there are some positions where this may be helpful in getting a job. Especially now that animal businesses such as pet boarding establishments, grooming salons and pet shops all need to have licenses, there is growing demand for people working with animals to possess recognised qualifications.
Careers in animal care are becoming more popular, not just because of a boom in the industry, but also because of a growth in awareness about some of the more obscure animal-related professions. Experience and interest in working with animals is all important, and a good reputation in quality animal care is all-important for a successful pet business.