Most of the expenditure was on food (30.9 per cent) and veterinary bills (45.7 per cent), according to a survey by mobile dog grooming and wash business Blue Wheelers. But Australian pet owners don't just spend money on daily needs; when it comes to their fur babies, they also splash out on designer pyjamas, diamante-encrusted collars, jewellery, shoes, hats, dental care, travel cages and toys. Animal Medicines Australia (AMA) said the so-called fur baby phenomenon and humanisation of domestic animals saw owners spend 1.1 bn dollars on products and accessories in 2016. The organisation said fur babies were treated more like family members than companions, with many enjoying home-cooked organic meals, park play dates and family holidays at animal-friendly hotels.
Demand for services
Day care, pet sitting services and walking businesses crop up across the country as the demand for all-day stimulation and socialisation grows, stresses Blue Wheelers. The dog grooming and wash business quotes Dr David Neck, a former vice-president of the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA), saying logistical changes were also an explanation for this demand.
Whereas pets were once considered "unclean" and therefore "ostracised" from the house, he said dog owners in particular had become more accepting of animals "being next to us on the sofa". The use of professional groomers was another reason more pets were being invited indoors. The AMA report showed in 2016 the average household spent 129 dollars per year on dog clipping and grooming, an increase of 33 per cent since 2013.
Martin Rose, CEO of Blue Wheelers, summarises the results of the study in just a few words: "With baby boomers having an empty nest and people either getting married later or not at all, our fur children have become even more a part of our family. Our research only proves that they are fed well, washed and groomed regularly and pampered on a daily basis - and this trend only grows."
Source: Blue Wheelers, © Dähne Verlag