Over the past decade, relations between people and their pets have undergone dramatic changes. If in the twentieth century 79 % of residents believed that the reasons for owning cats and dogs were: catching mice and rats for the former and protecting territories for the latter, by 2003 this number had decreased to 31 %, and in 2017 only 16 % adhered to this opinion. Today, 83 % of cat owners and 76 % of dog owners are ready to call their pet a family member, friend and even a child.
This research would be beneficial for dog breeders and animal shelter owners- people will become more aware of technological development in pet keeping and can decide to buy or adopt a pet. Also, it could help pet owners to become more informed about the services and options offered and prevent some deplorable situations.
The pet industry has been experiencing explosive growth. According to American Pet Products Association’s 2019–2020 National Pet Owners Survey, almost 85 million households have a pet and over the last 30 years, pet ownership has gone from 56 % to 68 % of all households (APPA, 2018).
The attitude of people towards pets can be influenced by many factors: cultural (Kellert, 1994, Pifer et al., 1994, Laurent, 1995), demographic (Kellert and Berry, 1981, Gallup and Beckstead, 1988, Bowd and Bowd, 1989), as well as both physical and behavioural attributes of the animals (Burghardt and Herzog, 1989, Driscoll, 1992). Moreover, some of the changes in pet ownership are due to technology and the advent of online purchasing. From a psychological point of view, the attitudes of modern pet owners towards their pets are hypothesised to be determined primarily by the parental behavioural system (Askew, 2003), directed in this case towards a member of another species. Voith (1985) reported that most dog owners view their pets not as helpmates but rather as family members, mainly as children (Berryman et al., 1985). Moreover, companion animals have established special relationships with humans, as demonstrated by many studies describing their abilities and bonds to communicate with humans. Some studies have assessed the emotional benefits of interacting with cats and dogs (Amiot and Bastian, 2014, Kelly and Eller, 2017).
“In poor countries, people are more focused on a chicken that will lay eggs or a pig that might eat their waste. It changes only as they get a little bit richer. Pets might be seen as a relative luxury purchase,” said Charles Robertson, chief economist of Renaissance Capital.
As for Kazakhstan, attempts are being made to regulate relations between a person and a pet in the country. New rules have been added to the “List of compulsory rules for keeping pets” as part of the “Welfare of Pets 2017–2020” roadmap. For violation of the above Rules, an administrative penalty is provided in accordance with the Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan «On Administrative Offenses». Furthermore, in order to regulate the number of pets the first National unified database of electronic identification of animals of the Republic of Kazakhstan: “PetID.kz” was created.
Phillip Cooper, a pet industry expert, talked about how those changes are affecting what consumers want now when they own pets. The fastest-growing pet businesses are taking advantage of these trends:
Food — Consumers don’t want traditional pet foods. They want healthy ingredients and they want to understand the ingredients list. Progress in veterinary medicine- Modern veterinary clinics can be equipped with the most modern medical equipment: computer tomographs, instruments for fibro endoscopic examinations, operating tables, and anesthesia machines, and much more. Technology — We are seeing pet services and conveniences developing along the lines of services for people. Increased services — There is more attention being paid to pet grooming, pet care, pet transportation, pet hotels, and many others.
Aims and Methods
The purpose of the study is to investigate the relationship between trends in pet keeping and people's attitude towards pets. My hypothesis is that the worldwide development of pet keeping has improved people's relationships with pets. So as to achieve the aim, the following research questions will be examined:
− How do owners treat their pets?
− What pet services and supplies do owners use?
− Owners’ attitude towards pets chipping?
− What vet clinics’ services do owners use?
In order to obtain the necessary data, three types of methods were used: survey, interview, and a focus group interview.
Results and Conclusion
It can be clearly seen that owners worry and care of their pets because 65.5 % treat them as a friend and companion (image 1); 55.4 % answered that they feed them with a special dog or cat food, and 35.1 % make separate food from meat, bones, and groats (image 2). The most popular way of getting an animal is from breeders-55.4 %, 37.8 % took them from animal shelters, while 6.8 % owned them in other ways.
Fig 1. Reason for having petImage 2. Pet feeding
Following conclusions could be made from the triangulation of results of the research:
- How do owners treat their pets?
- What vet clinics’ services do owners use?
Referring to data from the survey, it can be concluded that most people treat their pets as a friend and companion. Which enhances the reliability of the information in the secondary research. This is proved by answers from focus group interview, that no one considers pets below themselves and buy or prepare special food for them, take care of their health, regularly visiting veterinary clinics, which was supported by doctors who agreed that attendance increased significantly and reached 300 clients per week and that diagnosis and vaccination are among most popular treatments.
- What pet services and supplies do owners use?
Through triangulating survey data and focus group interview, I found that most owners use collars, but, surprisingly, rarely use leashes and muzzles during a walk, although they are considered mandatory. As for pet services, the vast majority visits the necessary institutions, but do not use other services that they think you can easily do without.
- Owners’ attitude towards pets chipping?
According to the results of the study, it was found that the procedure of animal chipping is not particularly popular among the pet owners in Ust-Kamenogorsk. And as it turned out from interview, most are still not aware of this innovation, not mentioning the latest NFC-tags. Which increases the relevance of this work, as a means of familiarization with new technologies in this field.
Therefore, analyzing everything that has been done, I think that I have received evidence of the validity of my hypothesis. But I it is worth to add that the change in the relationship between pets and people is also closely related to the development of the country's economy and the well-being of the family.
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