Life not so ruff for India's pampered pooches

Mon Jul 23, 2012 2:59am EDT
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By Diksha Madhok

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Oreo marked her birthday this year with a pool party in a posh New Delhi neighborhood. 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 2-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.

Sharma's pets have been brought up in luxury. They have a full-time maid and are regulars at grooming parlors and swimming pools.

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.

Quite a contrast to when Maura Sabin, from the United States, first came to live in India with her two cats and was far from impressed by India's vet services.   Continued...

A groomer blow dries a dog after it was bathed at a pet grooming salon in New Delhi July 18, 2012 REUTERS/Parivartan Sharma