23.1 C
New Delhi
Wednesday, November 29, 2023
HomeBusinessFood, toys, salon visits and vet: Here is what it costs to...

Food, toys, salon visits and vet: Here is what it costs to keep a pet

Vasudha is among the many new-age pet owners who go beyond the basics of providing food, shelter and medical care and want their pets to have a luxurious lifestyle. Of course, all of it comes with a pricey tag but that’s no deterrent for these pet owners.

In distant Gurgaon, Priyamvada Biyani and Abhishek Pant (see graphic) buy only five-star quality food and treats and deluxe spa services for their two-year-old Ronnie, a Siberian husky . “We want to give Ronnie the best food, medical care and experiences. For his sake, we are slightly price conscious—we are more inclined to buy expensive, superior quality products that come with good reviews,” said Priyamvada, who works with a global consulting firm.


View Full Image


A high disposable income allows the couple to splurge on their adopted pet—they spend a little more than 1 lakh annually on Ronnie but that hardly constitutes 5% of their income. “We haven’t yet seen any pet care service in India which is too expensive, so we never have had to budget carefully while spending on him,” Priyamvada said. For Vasudha and Devraj, the total cost of Dylan’s ownership is 1-3% of their income.

Apart from higher disposable incomes, an evolving idea of pet ownership is also changing how people spend on their pets. People are increasingly being recognized as pet parents, as opposed to owners, and extending their own lifestyle to the pets, said Samriddh Dasgupta, chief marketing officer, Heads Up For Tails. “Most parents don’t think twice about costs while buying things for their children. It is the same with pet parents,” he added.

Bangalore-based Sushma and Dasharathi are a case in point (see graphic). Sushma categorically calls herself a mother to her 7-year-old Indie mutt, Zoya. All decisions pertaining to Zoya’s well-being are driven by parental instincts. “I won’t say we splurge on her but that’s because she won’t enjoy most of the pet luxuries on offer. So, we have never spent on a spa as Zoya takes time to trust new people and she won’t enjoy being bathed by a stranger. But, we have a ritual of taking weekend holidays with her in pet friendly resorts because she loves car rides,” Sushma said.

The willingness to stretch the financial budget for pets is also a function of one’s financial responsibilities. Pune-based Ameya Bhate says he and his wife Neeti are a double-income no kids, or DINK, couple and so more inclined to spend on pets. His German shepherd, Thor, is a line item in their monthly budget excel sheet and they have a 1,000 SIP in a short-term debt fund just for him. “This savings is earmarked for Thor’s medical emergencies,” said Ameya, a marketing professional who is also a consultant with a natural pet food brand. Ameya spends 10,000-15,000 on Thor every month. “Thor is our child,” he quipped.

The costs

Maintaining a pet costs little in India. A mix of dry food, called kibble, and home meals, in-house bathing and grooming and mid-range treats and toys will add up to 3,000-5,000 in a month. That’s equal to two movie outings for a family of four. If one adds spa grooming and fancy treats to this mix, the cost would increase by 20-40%.

The major expense head in the pet monthly budget is food, and the prices vary depending on the type of food you opt for. For instance, natural protein meals or home-cooked tiffin services are fast catching the fancy of pet owners, but come at a premium. These meals promise to fulfil the nutritional requirements that an animal would typically need.

“In feeding home meals, people don’t often realize that their pet might not be getting a balanced diet. This is especially true for vegetarian pet owners,” said Pushkar Ingale, co-founder, Rawr4dogs, a pet food brand that sells freeze-dried meats and claim to have the same nutritional value as fresh meat.

“When my dog was diagnosed with tissue cancer, I did a thorough research and found that most packaged dog food lacks nutritional value. Regular Kibble was always my go-to option as I’m a vegetarian and couldn’t feed her natural chicken. Pharma-grade freeze-dried meat at that time was only imported in India and cost about 9,000 per kg,” he said. Rawr4dogs’ freeze-dried meals cost about 2,000 per kilo, which equals to about 3 kg of regular pet food after rehydration.

At 80%, the pet food category comprises a major chunk of the pet industry in India, as per Mordor Intelligence. All other categories—grooming, accessories and veterinary services—make up for the remaining 20%.

The cost of ownership also depends on your pet’s breed. So, in Delhi, Lakshaya Bakshi has to mandatorily take Oreo, his six-year-old Shih Tzu, to a pet salon every month for haircut, nail trimming and ear cleaning. It costs him about 1,800. “That’s part of his maintenance. If I don’t keep him groomed, he develops allergies,” said the 30-year-old sales professional.

There are other recurring expenses of vet visits, vaccinations, deworming, and tick and flea treatments, all of which, typically, do not add up to more than 10,000 annually. However, as these pets age, they are likely to develop medical conditions like arthritis, diabetes, or even chronic illnesses like tumours that push up medical costs significantly. Treatments for these common illnesses can cost 10,000-15,000 per month. To be sure, there are companies in India that offer insurance policies for pets. And, it costs anywhere upwards of 10,000 every year. Most insurers, though, do not provide a cover beyond a certain age.

Other than food and medicines, most other pet- related expenses are largely discretionary. Toys, accessories (bows, bandanas, collars) and merchandise are what pet owners typically splurge on. Ameya’s Thor owns a 2,000 worth T-shirt from Under Armour, an American sportswear company. He also owns dog shoes that Ameya and Neeti bought as his first birthday present.

It helps that there are several online shops dedicated to toys and food for pets.

So, Sushma treats Zoya with stuffed toys and special treats from time to time. “We recently bought her a teddy bear that cost about 1,000 knowing it may not last a day. But seeing how happily she was playing with it, we won’t think twice before buying it again,” she said.

Vasudha, on the other hand, points out that while they have a no-holds barred policy for food and medical care expenses, they have a budget for Dylan’s toys and treats.

Most metro cities also have dog parks or animal resorts with sprawling play areas that are used by pet owners to provide their dogs space to run around and play. The entry fee to a dog park is generally about 200, while a monthly membership can cost 500. A daycare boarding cum play area is slightly expensive at 500-700 per visit.

Beyond premium accessories, there’s an emerging luxury services pet market in India fuelled by the trend of pet humanization. From pool parties, to deep tissue massage sessions to customized dresses, people do not shy from coddling their pets with such recreational activities (see graphic). Luxury services in India are nascent and largely limited to metro cities.

Is there a number that can be put to how much is too much to spend on a pet? To each his own, we say.

Source link

- Advertisment -


Our Archieves