The rise of ‘Pet Parents’ in India

Bangalore, 10 April 2018: Gone are the days when pets were considered an extension of your family, now they are a part and, in some cases, more than family – discovers a bi-annual survey on pet parents conducted by LANA Paws (www.lanapaws.com), a pet accessories e-commerce portal. The first-of-its-kind survey outlines insights and interesting trends in transitioning pet relationship, purchasing behaviour and lifestyle changes!

As per thesurvey, India is going through a remarkable phase, which is redefining pet(dogs and cats, in this case) ownership and almost rewriting the rules of petparenting in the country. Lifestyle trends such as social media, mainly,Instagram pet accounts, increased sensitivity towards animals, companionship,increasing purchasing power, delayed marriage and family planning are some ofthe key instrumental factors in fueling this growth in pet ownership andreshaping people’s relationship with their four-legged friends!

Primaryfindings of the survey include:

-          Petparents now splurge more and want to create more ‘meaningful’ experiences withtheir pets, including travel and hikes outside the city

-          Expertssuch as vets followed by social media are the main sources of information forpet parents

-          Healthand wellbeing of their pet is the most important issue for pet parents

-          Homemade,natural and organic food are fast gaining popularity over packaged dog or catfood

-          YoungIndians want more pet-friendly spaces including cafes and workplaces to hangout with their pets

The surveywas conducted over a period of three weeks and included a sample size of morethan 500 pet parents largely from four metro cities – Delhi-NCR, Mumbai,Bangalore and Chennai.

The purposeof this survey titled, Pet Parents Unleashed 2018, was to assesstrends around pet parenting, pet care practices, purchasing behavior ofpet-related products and sources of pet-related goods, services andinformation.

VidhaShukla, founder of LANA Paws,said, “Young Indians have a very special relationship with their pets. Theysee them as their best friends, siblings and in many cases, even as theirchildren and prefer being called a pet parent, dog/cat mom, dog/cat dad than apet owner. They shower them with loads of attention and are splurging on theirpets by buying them expensive gifts, celebrating occasions, such as birthdays,planning trips and hikes with their pets.

However,some people also need to realise that their pets’ needs are different fromhumans. Over grooming, inappropriate dressing and over-pampering may lead tocertain behavioural and health issues in pets, which is harmful for them.Understanding your pet and their real requirements are crucial to truly lovingthem for who they are and giving them the best possible life!”

Mumbai-basedMansi Talwar, mom to two beagles, Maynard and Chloe, shares, “I was goingthrough a very tough time a few years ago and my puppies helped me heal. I callit “puppy therapy” and it is the best kind of therapy in the world. People whodon't have dogs, don't know what they are missing in life. I go to work and putin my best because I want to be able to be successful enough to providewhatever my dogs need. They are my blessing and my inspiration.”

Pets nowdominate travel plans (for all the right reasons)

Over 60% ofrespondents would plan shorter holiday trips because they don’t want to be awayfrom their pet for too long. Close to 50% of respondents have travelled outsidethe city with their pet, while over 35% of the respondents would love to plan atravel with their four-legged buddy soon, as per the survey.

Delhi-basedjournalist, Divya Dugar, who has been travelling with her two rescued dogs,Marcopolo and Tigress forthe last few years, shares, “I travel with Marcopolo and Tigress asthey give me fresh eyes to see the world, make me enjoy little things and it isgreat to be experiencing things with them as I feel complete as a family (otherwise I always worry about them) .. Dogs are the best companions even onyour mad travels.”

Expertsfollowed by social media are the most sought-after sources for pet care adviceand tips

The surveyfound that more than half of pet parents turn to experts such as vets (51%) for information onpet care and new products followed by social media (47.7%). They alsoactively seek advice from their peers, friends or family with pets as well asrely on their own experience.

RenownedDelhi-based vet, Dr. S. K. Choudhary from Dr. Choudhary’s Pet Clinic says, “People come tous seeking all kinds of advice from feeding related queries to recommendationson the right kind of accessories as well as travel planning and recreationalactivities for their pets. Open spaces and activities such as swimming are inhigh-demand, especially in summer months. We also recommend swimming ashydro-therapy for certain kinds of conditions. Additionally, cats, small breedof dogs and alternate pets such as guinea pigs, mice etc are fast gainingpopularity among youngsters owing to factors such as limited space and nuclearfamily structures.”

“Whilepeople are spending a lot more time with their pets now, we would like tohighlight the importance of preventive health check-ups and proper vaccinationson a regular basis to avoid any serious health implications at a later stage,” he further added.

Healthand well-being of the pet is the most important issue!

92% of the respondentsadmitted that they are most concerned about the health and wellbeing of theirpet followed by the right diet. Training and grooming were other key issueshighlighted by the pet parents.

Petparents are investing more time and money into giving their pet a healthierdiet

One in everytwo pet parents would mix homemade and packaged diet to ensure their pet isgetting good nutrition, while one in every three pet parents would preferfeeding only homemade diet to their pet. Many are now also exploringspecialized meal plans and organic options available in the market.

They wantto hang out more with their furbabies!

Pet cafesand pet-friendly cafes are the new ‘it’ hang-out joints for not only many petparents but also for animal lovers! There’s been a rise in pet cafes and petfriendly places over the last couple of years in all major cities allowing petparents to take their pets out for a puppy-date session, to celebrate theirbirthdays or to just spend time with them! The survey found that more than 50%of pet parents would visit such places with their pet at least once everymonth.

Themethodology of the survey included targeted outreach to pet parents on socialmedia platforms, emailers, online groups and WhatsApp push.

According toIndia International Pet Trade Fair (IIPTF), the pet population in India hasgrown from 7 million in 2006 to 10 million in 2011. On an average 600,000 petsare adopted every year. The Indian pet market is now $800-million-plus industryand is expected to register strong double-digit retail value growth in thecoming years


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