Pet Stores to Target the Owners of America’s Overwhelming Number of Overweight Dogs

BY Rachel Cagle
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Ollie, a healthy pet food brand that delivers freshly cooked, human-​grade food tailored to each dog, released the results of the Ollie 2018 State of Dogs in America Report. The comprehensive report analyzed data from more than 400,000 dogs to uncover what a dog in America's household looks like, identifying health, nutrition, and overall activity trends.

"Over the course of two years, we've been able to amass data from nearly half a million dogs, giving us an unparalleled understanding of dogs across America," said Alex Douzet, co-​founder and CEO of Ollie. "When analyzing the health data for the Ollie 2018 State of Dogs in America Report, we immediately noticed the direct correlation between a dog's diet and activity level with their ideal weight, which was the catalyst for developing the Ollie Wellness Score, ranking dog health in cities across the country."

Who's America's Top Dog? Contrary to cultural notions where families have a golden retriever running in a picket-​fenced backyard, the most common dog in America's household is the chihuahua. After the chihuahua, the most popular breeds are the larger-​sized labrador retriever, pit bull, and german shepherd. Rounding out the top 10 list of dog breeds is the siberian husky, which replaced the poodle in 2018.

What does America's Dog Household Look Like? 54% of U.S. households have a male dog, compared to 46% of female dogs.

How Many Dogs are Overweight? Although the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention finds that 56% of America's dogs are overweight, Ollie's report reveals that a mere 17% of pet parents think their dog is overweight. A majority of pet parents (73%) say their dog is the ideal weight and 10% say their dog is too skinny.

"There's clearly a disconnect between what pet parents think is a healthy weight for their dog, and what's reality," added Douzet. "According to the Ollie report, 1 in 5 medium-​and large-​sized dogs tend to be overweight, compared to 1 in 8 small-​sized dogs. Households with multiple dogs also tend to be the most overweight with 60% of four-​pet households at their ideal weight, compared to single-​dog households with 69% at their ideal weight."

Nearly half (48%) of Dog Owners themselves have the personal goal to eat healthier this year, according to AudienceSCAN. Nearly 34% would like to try cooking new recipes this year. While they're searching for new recipes online (probably using Google, which is preferred by 88.8% of this consumer group), they can be targeted with ads concerning their dogs' eating habits. Luckily, this group is 12% more likely than other adults to be willing to sacrifice some privacy to get ads that are relevant to them.

What are Dogs in the U.S. Eating? Traditional kibble reigns supreme with 75% of dogs eating dry food. 12% of dogs eat freshly cooked food, followed by wet food (6%), a mix of dry and wet food (4%,) raw food (2%,) and freeze-​dried food (2%.)

Despite chicken being the most common allergy dogs have, it is the number one protein fed to dogs. Following chicken, the top proteins dogs eat are beef, lamb, salmon, and turkey.

What are the Biggest Dog Food Trends? The dog food revolution is starting with pint-​sized foodies: 20% of toy and small dogs eat alternatives to traditional wet and dry food, compared to 12% of large dogs.

How does a Dog's Diet Influence Health? Whether it's a small, medium, or large dog, canines who eat alternatives to dry and wet food are more likely to be at an ideal weight. According to Ollie's Wellness Score, dogs who consume dry food or a mix of wet and dry food are the least likeliest to be at their ideal weight.

"For years, pet parents have been fed the myth that dry food was the healthiest choice for their dog," added Douzet. "However, Ollie's analysis shows that the complete opposite is true. We hope that by continuing to collect health and nutritional data for dogs, we'll be able to help pet parents make better informed decisions so their dogs can live healthier, happier, and more appetizing lives."

According to AudienceSCAN, 48.3% of Dog Owners are willing to pay more for higher quality products. Why shouldn't that mentality extend to their dogs? Pet food advertisers can promote their brands' health benefits to Dog Owners through a number of digital methods. Last year, 48.3% took action after receiving an email advertisement and 44.8% reacted to either ads on their mobile smartphone apps or a text message advertisement they received. They're also 8% more likely than other adults to click on text link ads on websites and 19% more likely to find ads on social media useful to them. Don't rule out traditional though. Last year, 63.2% of this audience took action after seeing a TV commercial.

AudienceSCAN data is available for your applications and dashboards through the SalesFuel API. Media companies and agencies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.