2023 in Review: Dog Trends and Highlights

December 5, 2023

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2023 has been a big year for the canine industry. From new pet products and services to exciting developments in grooming techniques, there's been no shortage of pet trends for dog owners to keep up with.

At Barkbus, we've also had our fair share of highlights this year! In addition to expanding to two new states — Arizona and Texas — we also teamed up with International Professional Groomers (IPG) to create a training program for our pet stylists. This collaboration has allowed us to provide even better grooming services for our furry clients while also upskilling and empowering our employees. In this article, we'll dive into some of the major dog trends and developments in the canine world throughout 2023. 

Dog Ownership Trends

The past year has seen some new and interesting dog trends related to dog ownership. One of the most heart-warming shifts is a growing interest in senior dogs. More people are choosing to adopt older dogs rather than just puppies. There could be a few reasons for this, including people perhaps realizing that senior dogs can make just as loving and loyal companions, or maybe a greater awareness of the challenges faced by senior dogs in shelters. Either way, it's great to see older pups finding forever homes!

Popular Dog Breeds in 2023

When it comes to 2023 pet trends, the French Bulldog rose fast in the American Kennel Club's rankings, claiming the top spot among the most popular dog breeds. This ended the Labrador Retriever's 31-year reign! Known for their compact build and adaptable nature, they're particularly good for apartment living​​.

Apart from the French Bulldog, the rest of the list were familiar faces, with the Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, German Shepherd, and Poodle rounding out the top five. Other breeds, such as the Rottweiler and Dachshund, also climbed the rankings slightly. 

Dog Adoption Rates in 2023

Over 65 million American households own a dog, which equals around 78 million dogs. Of those dogs, approximately 23% were adopted from shelters or humane societies, and an additional 6% were found as strays. This means that breeder purchases still account for the majority of dog adoptions at 34%. In total, every year, two million dogs are adopted from shelters across the U.S. on average.

In general, there is a positive trend towards more responsible pet ownership and dog adoption. The number of dogs entering shelters every year has decreased by 3.9 million compared to 2011. In the spring of 2023, pet shelter intakes slightly decreased in the United States, with May's intakes falling to 83,529 from 84,770 in the same month as the previous year. Thanks to growing awareness of the benefits of adopting from shelters and spaying or neutering, these pet trends are expected to continue.

Dog Health and Wellness Trends

In recent years, there has been a growing trend towards telehealth in the veterinary industry. This allows pet owners to consult with veterinarians remotely, saving time and potentially avoiding unnecessary trips to the clinic. That said, pet telehealth still faces challenges before becoming widely accepted. The American Veterinary Medical Association reports that legislation is being proposed in California to allow the establishment of the "veterinarian-client-patient relationship" to take place remotely, but there are concerns about the lack of physical examinations and the potential for misdiagnosis. Despite these obstacles, telemedicine has opened the door to new ways to keep dogs healthy and happy.

Another aspect of pet healthcare that has come a long way is nutrition. With more research being conducted, we are discovering the benefits of various supplements for dogs. According to the American Kennel Club, here are some of the trending pet products people are buying to keep their dogs healthy:

  • Antioxidants. These help prevent cell damage and boost the immune system. Antioxidants can also improve coat health, joint mobility, and cognitive function in dogs.
  • Fish oil. Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fish oil can benefit a dog's skin, coat, joint health, and even brain development.
  • Glucosamine. This supplement is commonly used for joint health and to alleviate pain caused by arthritis or hip dysplasia. 
  • Probiotics. Just like humans, dogs need a healthy balance of good bacteria in their digestive system. Probiotics can help improve digestion, immunity, and overall gut health in dogs.

While the above supplements are recommended for dogs, it's important to consult with your veterinarian before adding any new supplements to your pup’s diet. Every dog is unique and may have different nutritional needs based on their age, breed, and health conditions. If you’re interested in learning more about each type of product, keep reading.

Best Antioxidants for Dogs 

Antioxidants help dogs combat oxidative stress, which can damage cells and lead to chronic diseases. They also support immune function and may help to slow aging processes in pets. Here’s a closer look at some top pet products for dogs containing antioxidants:

  • Get Naked Super Antioxidant Dental Stick Treats. These grain-free treats not only support dental health but are packed with a rich blend of antioxidants from natural sources like cranberries, pomegranate, and green tea to support overall health in dogs.
  • Doggie Dailies Cognitive Puppy Chews. Designed to support cognitive development in puppies, these chews are formulated with a blend of vitamins and antioxidants to help maintain a healthy brain function as your puppy grows.
  • Greenies Immune Health Supplements. These tasty soft chews made with real chicken are tailored for adult dogs of all sizes to support their natural defenses without artificial flavors, preservatives, or fillers.
  • Pet Vitamin Co's Shed Free Soft Chews. These delicious dog chews offer a tasty krill oil treat to reduce shedding and improve your dog's skin, coat, joint health, and cognitive function.

Best Fish Oil for Dogs 

Fish oil is a valuable supplement for dogs that offers support for their skin, coat, joint health, and cardiovascular function. It's rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help reduce inflammatory processes in the body and promote overall well-being. Here are some top pet products containing fish oil for dogs:

  • Native Pet Omega Oil. This supplement supports skin and coat health with wild-caught omega-3 fish oil. It’s designed to be easy to mix with your dog's food.
  • Active Chews Premium Omega Skin & Coat Chews. Made with pure fish oil, these chews aim to enhance your dog's skin and coat while also supporting their immune system.
  • Fera Pet Organics Fish Oil with Vitamin E. This formula combines fish oil with Vitamin E to optimize your dog's health. It supports heart health and helps to maintain a shiny coat.
  • Vibeful Omega-3 Fish Oil Liquid. Vibeful provides a liquid supplement that's easy to add to meals. It’s designed to promote a healthy coat, reduce itching and inflammation, and support joint health.
  • Nutri-Vet Fish Oil Softgels. These soft gels offer a convenient way to provide omega-3 fatty acids to support your dog's skin and coat health, as well as overall wellness.

Best Glucosamine Products for Dogs

Glucosamine is particularly beneficial for maintaining your dog's healthy joints and supporting mobility. It helps to rebuild cartilage and restore joint health, which is so important for aging dogs or those with arthritis. Here are some popular pet products containing glucosamine:

Best Probiotics for Dogs

Probiotics help maintain a healthy digestive system in dogs. They keep a balance of good bacteria in the gut, which can aid in digestion, absorption of nutrients, and immune function. Here are some of the most popular pet products for dogs containing probiotics:

  • Zesty Paws Probiotics. Designed to improve your dog's gut health, these chews offer a blend of probiotics and prebiotics, helping them to go to the bathroom more easily.
  • Fera Pet Organics Probiotics. This blend contains organic prebiotics from sustainable sources to encourage healthy bacteria growth and digestive function in dogs.
  • Honest Paws Probiotic. Honest Paws combines both prebiotics and probiotics that are designed to boost gut flora and support the immune response.
  • Native Pet Probiotic. Developed by vets, this powder supplement is perfect for picky eaters and boosts digestion with a blend of several probiotic strains.
  • NaturVet Digestive Enzymes Plus Probiotic. This supplement adds digestive enzymes to the mix, helping dogs break down food more effectively alongside probiotics for gut health.
  • Active Chews Probiotic. Active Chews is a more comprehensive digestive aid that combines probiotics with a bunch of vitamins to support not just gut health but overall dog well-being.

Innovations in Pet Technology

With the increasing popularity of pet ownership, it's no surprise that new technologies are emerging to make pet care easier and more convenient. From smart feeding devices and pet cameras to automatic pet doors, there’s a growing market for high-tech trending pet products designed specifically for dogs.

We surveyed over 1,000 pet parents and found that 46% of pet parents have a GPS tracker on their dog's collar. This technology allows owners to keep track of their pet's location in real-time, giving them peace of mind. Other popular pet tech includes interactive cameras that allow owners to check on their pets remotely, as well as smart toys to keep pets entertained while they are away from home. On average, dog owners have spent $253 on pet technology — with the most popular pet products being automatic pet feeders.

Best Automatic Pet Feeders 

Pet parents know how important it is to ensure their dogs are well-fed, even when they're not home. That's why it's no surprise that 54% of pet parents have an automatic pet feeder for their pets, according to our survey. Check out these highly rated automatic pet feeders on the market:

Best Pet Cameras 

According to our survey, 37% of pet parents have a pet camera at home — reportedly checking their cameras an average of four times during the workday. If you want to check up on your pup while you're away, take a look at the top pet products for keeping an eye on your pet below:

  • Petcube Cam HD Monitoring with Vet Chat. This camera offers high-definition video monitoring and a built-in vet chat feature for real-time health consultations.
  • Wyze Cam v3 Pet Camera. It provides clear live streaming with a waterproof design, so you can set the camera up both indoors and outdoors.
  • Blink Mini. This smart security camera provides 1080p HD video, night vision, and two-way audio, plus motion detection and Alexa integration.
  • Kasa Smart EC71. With 360° panoramic views, motion tracking, night vision, and two-way audio, this camera is perfect for keeping an eye on your pet's activities.

Dog Grooming Innovations 

At Barkus, we understand that grooming is not just about keeping your pet's coat clean and trimmed. It also plays a crucial role in their overall health and well-being. This is why we prioritize continuing education for our groomers to ensure they provide the best care for your furry family members.

As mentioned earlier, we’ve partnered with IPG so that all of our team members are dog first-aid and CPR certified. This allows us to respond quickly and effectively in case of any emergencies during grooming sessions. We have graduates of the Certified Grooming Program (CGP), and we’re always looking for ways to provide more education and training as new dog and pet trends arise. Keep the good times rolling in 2024 and book a grooming appointment with your favorite Barkbus pet stylists!


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