I just joined the LinkedIn Group Packaged Facts Pet Market Research & Trends. Great group for fans of pet trends. It's a private group. But they let me in, so they're willing to let in non-pet industry folks.
Joining the group immediately paid off with this excellent description of the pet humanization trend:
Pet humanization is a natural expression of the “pets as family” trend, whereby pet owners treat their pets like children and are highly receptive to products similar to the ones they use for themselves. Not coincidentally, many of the services and products entering the market today are directly reminiscent of human fare, no doubt appealing to the pet owner as much as the pet. Examples include veterinary procedures like chemotherapy, MRIs, and hip replacements; pet supplements like glucosamine and omega 3s; human-grade pet foods containing superfruits or touted as gluten free; designer pet supplies; and luxury services including boarding options more like hotel rooms.
This definition comes from the article Amtrak “all aboard” pet humanization trend, which proves I'm not the only one who employs bad puns.
The article comes from Packaged Facts, a research firm that does really deep studies on the pet market.
For those of you who are like me and cannot afford their reports, their home page has a news feed with a series of interesting free articles on pets and other topics.