NEW DELHI: Oreo marked her birthday this year with a pool party in a posh New Delhi neighbourhood. Nothing
unusual — except that the two-year-old is a dog. The Dalmatian celebrated with a cake of flour, cheese and chicken tikkas, garnished with a rib-shaped biscuit on top and spent the day splashing in a swimming pool and chasing her 20 canine friends at a sprawling dog resort.
“It was like I was having my daughter’s birthday party,” said Priyamvada Sharma, Oreo’s owner, who also has a two-year-old female Labrador. “We had every possible type of biscuit and bone any pet shop would have.”
Oreo is one of a growing number of pampered pooches in India lavished with indulgent care — and a growing range of products — as the ranks of the middle-class increase and pet owners spare nothing for their furred darlings.
While some years ago, the concept of branded pet food was unheard of in India, and dogs were often fed table scraps, the market is now flooded with pet dietary and health products. There are also pet salons, upscale vet clinics, pet couture, pet nannies, dog walkers, reiki therapists, grooming specialists, dog-friendly hotels and air-conditioned kennels mushrooming across big cities.
A Euromonitor research report estimates that India’s pet industry is expected to grow 22 per cent this year and reach IRs 4.5 billion in a nation where the per capita income is USD 1,256. Dogs account for 80 per cent of all pets in India, with cats and fish also popular. —