Published Date: Mar 2024


Rise of On-Demand Pet Care Services

The pet care industry has seen tremendous growth over the past decade as pet ownership rises worldwide. Alongside this growth, new trends in on-demand services have emerged to better meet the needs of busy pet owners. Mobile pet care services allow owners to book grooming, walking, sitting, and other services directly to their homes through a mobile app or website. This on-demand model provides convenience and flexibility that has fueled the rise of pet care startups around the globe.

Mobile pet care startups first gained popularity in major cities where owners had busy schedules and limited free time. Services like Wag, Rover, and Waghotels enabled last minute bookings for drop-ins, overnight pet sits, and on-demand walks near the owner's location. The ability to have a service provider quickly come to their home eliminated the need to transport pets long distances or work care around the owner's schedule. This new model addressed a real problem for urban pet owners and helped normalize the idea of outsourcing daily pet tasks.

Expansion into Smaller Markets

As mobile pet care companies established themselves in larger cities, many have expanded their coverage areas to include smaller metropolitan and suburban regions. Recognizing high demand even outside of dense urban centers, services like Rover began actively recruiting sitters and walkers in neighborhoods near most major cities. This expansion introduced on-demand pet care to new client segments, from families in the suburbs to single pet owners in smaller towns.

The growing reach of these platforms creates convenient access to care wherever owners live. Pets no longer need to board at a facility when the family travels, as home boarding options through apps allow owners to choose trusted sitters near their vacation destination. Even owners in remote areas now have the ability to book last minute or emergency services without relying only on local options they find through word-of-mouth. Mobile care has connected the pet industry on a global scale.

Rise of Hyperlocal Services

While large platforms facilitated the initial growth, many new companies have developed with a specific focus on serving individual communities or neighborhoods. These hyperlocal pet care startups address demand within small regions by cultivating trusting relationships between owners and providers in their local areas. Specializing in a single city or even sections of a city allows them to gain an understanding of client needs and build a dedicated customer base.

One example is the Boston-based mobile pet care company Scratch, which concentrates exclusively on high-demand neighborhoods. By placing sitters who live locally, Scratch ensures pets are visited regularly by familiar faces within a short distance. Owners benefit from knowing their pets are staying close to home in trusted hands. Other similar hyperlocal startups advertise their “community focus” and ability to service pets within a few mile radius. Providing the convenience of on-demand bookings with an emphasis on neighborhood relationships fills a unique niche.

Growth of On-Site Services

While drop-ins and walks dominated the early mobile pet care market, new types of on-site services are gaining popularity. Rather than owners transporting their pets for grooming or training, these services are bringing the resources directly into people's homes. Mobile groomers transport all the necessary tools and equipment in fully self-contained grooming vans. Bookings for on-site grooming appointments have removed stress around sedation or acclimating pets to a new environment.

Mobile training is another emerging segment that avoids the challenges of distracting classrooms. Trainers designed their methods and equipment for use inside peoples' homes to work one-on-one with each pet and owner. This customized approach allows assessing a pet's unique needs and progress without other distractions. As with grooming, bringing resources on-site saves transport time and hassle. While still relatively nascent, on-site services represent a growing share of the mobile care economy.

Future of Global Mobile Pet Care

All signs point to continued growth and innovation in mobile pet care around the world. Expanding platforms and emerging hyperlocal companies are addressing demand everywhere from dense cities to suburban and rural communities. New service types like on-site grooming and training add convenience without requiring owners to visit brick-and-mortar locations. Advancements in mobile booking technologies also enhance the user experience, whether through redesigned apps or online account management.

As the pet industry realizes double-digit annual growth, mobile care startups targeting every customer segment and region will fuel that expansion. Catering care directly to where people live through on-demand services aligns perfectly with trends in e-commerce and the sharing economy. Global spend on pet services will likely shift towards these convenient new models that reshape expectations for convenient care. Mobile pet care has found ample demand worldwide and only further innovations will determine how it adapts to pet parents’ needs wherever they are located.