1) Dogs and cats are living longer. The old 7 years for every year math is out the window. More and more vets are seeing dogs living into their mid teens and sometimes late teens, and some cats into their late teens or early twenties due to a stronger human animal bond, more responsible pet ownership, better vetrinary care, and better nutrition. article link
2) Pet owners live longer too. A research study that followed 4,000 cat owners over ten years found that owning a cat can significantly reduce your chance of dying of heart disease, with cat owners being 30% less likely to die of the disease. Here is a link to a slideshow of 27 ways pets can improve your health from Web MD link .
3) Better Veterinary Care. Just 20 years ago nearly every Veterinary was the equivalent of a general practitioner, today there are are oncologists, dermatologists, and brain surgeons to name a few. In 1995 just 15% of Veterinary school graduates went on to post graduate study and specialization, today the number is about 40%.
4) Improved cancer care, for pets and humans. Today there are more Veterinary oncologists and more pet owners seeking cancer care for their companions and this has lead to improvement in care for both species. Veterinary oncologists can try experimental therapies on their patients that wold not be permitted in human treatment. The results can be used to benefit care for both species. Article Link.
5) Better Food. These days the role of nutrition in human health is better understood, and the same goes for the health of our pets. There are more and more choices of high quality nutritionally optimal pet foods and more information about how to find them. There is a wealth of information on the raw food diet and home cooking, and specialities in pet nutrition are available online. Here is a link to a Q and A with a pet nutritionist from the New York Times.
6) More information. I can't imagine that even fifteen years ago a main stream, non pet focused news paper would feature an interview with a pet nutritionist but these days the Times and many other publications frequently run stories on pet health. The internet provides owners with information at the touch of a button.
7) More and better dog training. Today more owners are enrolling their puppies in dogs in basic classes, the classes are more readily available, and they are far more likely to use effective, positive, rewards based methods then the old school punishment and dominance approach. There are also more qualified behaviorists available to help dog, and cat, owners deal with serious problems.
8) Pet adoption is on the rise. While there are still far to many dogs and cats euthanized each year, 3 to 4 million in the US alone. Education and out reach have increased adoption rates and euthanasia rates are decreasing across the country. In 1970 an estimated 20 million dogs and cats in shelters where euthanized and the number was about 3 million in 2011 (article link)
9) More pet friendly employers. Today some lucky pet owners can take their dogs to work with them. Companies are finding that workers are happier and more productive with dogs in the office and companies like google and Ben and Jerry's allow owners to bring their pets to work. (link).
10) Pets really are family members. Pet ownership in the US is at an all time high with nearly 2 out of every three households in the US having a pet in residence. During the recession where spending in nearly every other area has decreased, spending on animal companions increased significantly. In 2011 owners spent $50 billion on their furry family members. link