SA’s pet care industry on the rise

Image: Pixabay

Many a pet owner treats their furry companions as vital members of the family. According to a 2017 study by Boomerang Africa conducted in six countries, including South Africa, 72% of South African families laugh at least once a day because of something their pet does, such as kissing, licking or chasing someone or something.

It is no surprise then that pet owners want to do the best they can for their “fur kids”.

“The global trends of pet parenting and pet humanisation whereby pet owners regard pets as members of the family has filtered down to the South African pet care industry, encouraging consumers to spend more on pet products, spoiling their pets as one might spoil a child,” reads the South African Pet Care Industry Landscape Report from Insight Survey.

“As result of this, South African pet owners have become more vigilant in their purchases of pet care products, opting for products and services that treat pets as part of the family.”

While the pet food industry has taken off locally, there are booming opportunities for other sorts of businesses.

Pet insurance

This service, says Juanita Aitkenhead, founder and Editor of the Pet Health Care website, provides financial cover for a medical procedure or emergency on a dog or cat. Some plans also offer a limit on routine care like vaccinations.

“It definitely has grown over the past five years because people have realised they need insurance because vet care has become so expensive,” she says.

One visit to the vet can cost R800-R4 500, she says, depending on what type of pet you have and what is wrong.

Along with improved veterinary technology, she says, vets needs to understand the anatomy of many animals so their education is more intense compared to a normal doctor.

She advises people to read the fine print of their cover carefully and to take out insurance immediately on getting a pet. “People must keep in mind and understand once an animal is diagnosed with any illness, that will be excluded from the pet insurance cover if you get cover after the diagnosis.”

Pet-specific products: ‘Catios’

Morne Combrink saw a gap in the market in 2012 when he met many pet owners through an animal charity who asked for a way to keep their pets safe while they were outdoors. “People wanted to protect their pets from getting lost or killed in an accident,” he says.

He started Pet Safety Solutions last year and specialises in constructing enclosures for pets. These enclosures can be an extension from a window or any access point from the house. A “catio”, he says, is a concept from the USA and Europe that is gaining popularity in SA. Simply put, it is enclosing an existing patio for specifically, you guessed it, a cat.

Completed a large catio today. The rain did hamper us a little bit, but we got the roof done just in time ???

Posted by Pet Safety Solutions on Saturday, 20 October 2018

“I’d say 80% of what I build are for cats because it is so difficult to keep cats in your property,” Combrink  says. “Dog enclosures have been less popular. I am getting a lot of requests from shelters to upgrade their existing infrastructure.”

With a two-week waiting list of clients, he says he’s noticed that this is taking off in SA. Each of his jobs are custom-built to cater to the property and home. “It must be aesthetically pleasing and blend in with the property. It must also be built so it can be easily removed.”

Pet-specific: cat ‘wine’

An American company, Apollo Peak, also specialises in a non-alcoholic “wine” for cats. Though not yet available in SA, The Pinot Meow – yes, really – is made from organically grown cat nip, fresh beetroot and natural preservatives to help hold the taste and colour.

SA's pet care

Pet sitters and other accommodation

When pet owners go on holiday, someone has to look after their pets. If there is no family member or friend available to help out, options include taking the pet to a hotel, kennel or cattery or hiring a pet sitter.

“People now have a luxury touch to kennels and catteries,” observes Aitkenhead. She says it is a wonderful opportunity for people who love animals and want to start business around pets.

However, people need to do their research, she advises, and know how to maintain high levels of hygiene to keep disease from spreading, or know when to limit the number of pets, and how to separate different types of animals.

Much like a baby sitter operates, a pet sitter will either visit a pet owner’s home when they are away to take care of the pet (services include feeding the pet, cleaning the poop and so on), or stay at the owner’s home to do the same thing.

“Pet owners like when the sitter send feedback, photos of the dog or cat – that increases the credibility with the owner,” says Aitkenhead

“Some sitters charge R60 for visit, and it can go up R450 a day if they are staying over.”

She advises people who are looking for pet sitters to be specific about their requirements and then to get a quote.


Pet New Years Resolutions – part 3


Image: Pixabay

Pet New Years Resolutions – part 3

Your pets can be healthier and happier in 2024 with some or all of these pawsome pet new year’s resolutions!

A new year brings new goals and more than 300 days of opportunity for you and your pet to bond, develop healthier habits and discover new ways to live a full life. Your pet can live a better tomorrow with your help. An important first step is to avoid becoming overwhelmed thinking you need to make big changes overnight. Baby steps in the right direction are the way to go. The important thing is to make a plan and move steadily forward.

Re-publication: Originally published 18 January 2023


  • Keep toxic substances like medications, cleaning or gardening products, alcohol and toxic plants out of reach.
  • Just because a pet shop or vet sells something, doesn’t make it safe. Buy safe bedding and toys made of natural material without strong smells.
  • Clean their food and water bowls daily. We prefer stainless steel bowls to plastic.
  • Be careful about cleaning products, non-stick pans, air fresheners, or perfumes and candles you use that can affect your pets.
  • Resolve to take the time to safely secure your dog in the car on all car trips, regardless of the length of the journey. Never leave them alone in a car!
  • Start firework preparation before the festivities catch you unprepared.
  • Secure your yard so it is safe and so that pets can’t escape or get poisoned from the street.
  • Keep your cats safe in your yard.
  • Make sure there is proper shelter from all the elements.
  • Have a safe space in your home that belongs to them.


Since our pets spend the most time at home or in the garden, we should do our best to build them safe, entertaining places to rest and play. Make sure all potentially harmful plants or substances are out of reach. Create some nice hiding places and vertical territory for your pets to enjoy and explore. Learn more about zoopharmacognosy, which allows your pet to self-select remedies that best soothe them, especially during periods of anxiety.


Be better prepared for the unexpected. This is a healthy habit and can save you a lot of worries later. Pet owners can now choose from a variety of pet insurance plans that meet their needs and fit every budget.


What do you think your senior pet wants to do before crossing the Rainbow Bridge? You can make the last phase of your pet’s life memorable by compiling and completing a list of activities that will have their tail wagging and your heart soaring. Prepare in advance to navigate the Rainbow Bridge journey and making the tough but kind decision to euthanize your pet.


Image by The Paw Company


  • adopt or foster a pet
  • donate to a rescue or shelter
  • donate pet products like beds, towels, bowls, leashes, collars or food
  • volunteer at a shelter
  • say thank you to rescuers (and a vet)
  • take a shelter dog for a walk
  • sign a few petitions to help us save more animals
  • share lost and found animal posts to improve their chances of being reunited with their owners
  • join a specific cause like “stop fireworks”, “say no to the circus” or sterilizations campaigns


Animals can pick up on our energies. We see how sensitive animals are to our emotional state. They get excited when we are or try to comfort you if you are down by climbing on your lap. If you’re continuously agitated or angry when you come home, this could negatively affect your pet’s emotional state. Maybe a good New Year’s resolution idea this year is to learn how to have balanced energy before coming home to see your furry family. Even though a walk might do you good, maybe not attempt it on a day that you are angry or frustrated or not in the mood because you might ruin the experience for your pet.

Keep in mind that barking, humping and digging for example are natural behaviours, but don’t allow your pet to do things if it frustrates you as this will not be good for either of you. There are alternative and healthy ways to deal with such natural behaviours.


Identify what type of pet sitter service you need. Start your search as soon as possible, ask for referrals and interview potential sitters. For us, a big factor (apart from being trustworthy) is someone who has training in pet first aid (behaviour and grooming are a bonus) and who has professional documentation (forms and terms & conditions). List your pet sitter at your vet.


If you are planning to get a new pet, please do your homework in advance about the specie and their needs. It is important that the animal and breed you choose fit with your family’s energy levels and lifestyle. Please do not support breeders who fuel this massive overpopulation crisis, so opt to adopt from reputable organizations that include home checks, a contract and sterilization.


Image by The Paw Company


Only visit True Sanctuaries and say no to those that offer animal rides, interaction, walk with, pet, or taking of photos with the animals.

  • Use your birthday to raise donations for a reputable animal shelter by asking friends and families to donate or let your wedding registry be donations to an animal shelter.
  • Organize a community clean-up because plastic and other trash are harmful to the environment and animals.
  • Support the life in your backyard like the small ecosystems, and animals and insects that live around your home.
  • Say no to pesticides and poisons because poisoning rats and other animals influences the natural food chain.

Choose to wear it kind by buying and wearing clothing ethically. Avoid leather, fur and wool and try sustainable, animal-friendly alternatives because their lives matter! Don’t buy products that are tested on animals. You can find the approved beauty brands on the Humane Guide.


This is one we really want you to help us with! Try and share an educational post about animals regularly to help others learn more about animal care and welfare. Advocate for the voiceless and the unheard, especially about topics like breeding, selling, petting farms, the circus and fireworks.


Almost done. You have your pet and you have decided to make some pet-positive changes in the new year. You even have some great ideas now for pawsome resolutions. To execute these resolutions though, there needs to be detailed goals and an easy plan to follow every day. It is important to create a plan that you can stick to. Consider asking a friend to check in with and make sure you are keeping to those resolutions. Maybe start a calendar and write down the days and the goals. The most important part…..get excited!

Do you have a New Year’s resolution for your pet? Are you sticking to them?


Source: The Bulletin