The Future of Dog: 2044

Hersch Wilson
4 min readJan 11, 2024
Future Dog!

Have you ever looked at all that’s happening worldwide and wondered what it might be like in twenty years? It’s an exercise that might exhaust you and let you know if you are a pessimist or an optimist (or a little of both).
So much is changing so quickly that it can seem a fool’s errand to peer into the future. On the other hand, emerging trends will radically reshape how we live if they continue.
And it is the same with dogs. Over the past twenty years, our understanding of dogs has evolved, and as we look into the future, that evolution seems sure to continue.
To help us imagine the future of dogs, I assembled a panel (well, I talked to them on the phone) of three individuals whose lives and work are devoted to dogs. The first is Maggie Marton, an Indiana dog blogger at The next is Murad Kirdar, the voice of Pet Chat, a weekly radio show on KTRC in Santa Fe, and a pet whisperer. And finally, Bridget Lindquist, the Executive Director of the Espanola Humane Society.
Here is the gist of our conversations.
First is a meta-change in how we perceive the animal world. Most of us grew up with the idea that humans were apart and above the animal kingdom and we had “dominion” over all other beings. Now, we are beginning to understand that we live in a world of sentience, astonishing intelligence, and adaptation wherever we look in the wild world. We may be stewards of nature now, but we are also part of the natural world, not separate from it. As this awareness becomes “common sense,” it will radically change how we think about and care for the natural world. Over the next twenty years, be prepared for some rattling and shaking of long-held “truths.”
How we think of dogs, of course, is part and parcel of this shift. Think back twenty years. The role of the household dog was a watchdog, hunting dog, and “pet,” often consigned to the back yard, a doghouse, and sometimes tied up. (never tie up a dog for long periods of time!)
Now, more dog guardians consider their dogs family members — a significant shift in our thinking. Dogs sleep on our beds, couches, or orthopedic dog beds. We dress them in dog coats and even “boots” for walking in the mud and snow.
If you watch commercials for dog food on TV, (there are a lot of dog food commercials) you will note that we are rapidly moving away from “kibble” based food and switching to fresh food. Many folks are cooking dinners for their dogs.
I asked my friends where this trend will take us in the coming years.
First, some data.
Right now, we spend upwards of a billion dollars on our pets. According to, that number will grow to 300 billion by 2027. Just the dog walking “industry” (hired dog-walkers) is already close to a billion dollars a year. Increased spending on dogs is not just a function of more dogs but also how much we care for our dogs.
Given this explosive growth, the panel imagined a world where dogs would play a more prominent and accepted role in our culture. More people will take their dogs everywhere they go. Shops, stores, cafes, and airlines will be welcoming of “well-behaved” canines. (our dogs have some work to do) Many stores will have “dog greeters.” What better way to welcome a shopper than a wagging tail?
A troubling related trend, because we are going through an epidemic of loneliness and demographic changes (individuals getting married later in life, deferring children, working from home), is dogs are becoming a primary source of companionship instead of humans. As Maggie pointed out, achieving the “American dream” has become more complicated, yet everyone needs and wants companionship. Living with a dog can make life easier.
Finally, individuals, communities, and governments will increasingly focus on what dogs need to be healthy. For example, Deltona, Florida, just passed a law that requires daily exercise for dogs. This trend will continue, and there will be pressure for more open spaces to walk dogs and more dog parks so dogs can regularly achieve the Holy Grail: time running around off-leash.
Next month: We imagine the future of shelters in 2044.

Hersch’s latest book, Dog Lessons: “Learning the Important Stuff from Our Best Friends,” is available at Collected Works in Santa Fe, bookstores everywhere, and online.



Hersch Wilson

Writer. Retired Firefighter. Dog Lover. Buddhist Beginner.