Silly question really – the answer to that question is: “not at all”. Nevertheless, the biological reality doesn’t stop many people from humanizing their four-legged friends. That’s the observation of Mike Frizell, Founder of PetCircle.com.au.
But – how do you know if you fall into that category? Here are five hints that you may be humanising your pet.
1. You spend more on our pet’s food than you do on yours.
You might read that and think: no way. But according to Mr Frizell, some everyday pet foods cost upwards of $35 per kilo. Or in other words, the food that you toss in your pet’s dinner bowl each night could be costing more than salmon steaks, premium eye fillets or a rack of lamb.
“We sell pet food and some brands are over $200 for a five kilo bag,” said Mr Frizell. “We sell a lot of it – tens of thousands of dollars a month. It can be excellent food – New Zealand lamb and venison, no preservatives, no fillers, no corn; grain free, natural and organic.”
Sounds good enough to eat really.
2. You buy clothes for your pet
There’s justification for a warm coat in winter – especially if your dog sleeps outside – but a Santa hat, reindeer ears, feather boa or tutu are really not up there on the list of canine essentials.
“Australians probably spent around $50 million last year on dog clothes; that’s based on our sales volumes plus Google data,” said Mr Frizell. “We sell a lot of coats, it’s very mainstream now, particularly in the cooler states.”
Of course, Australians aren’t the worst offenders in this regard; this is a pretty amazing pet clothing store in Harajyuku, Tokyo.
3. You spend more on your pet’s holiday than your own
“Kennels and house minders are no longer good enough to care for pets, with pet owners sending their loved ones to pet resorts and spas, as if they were going on an overseas holiday. Some couples have even been known to perform rigorous interview processes to choose an adequate babysitter/minder for their dogs,” said Mr Frizell.
There are some big pet resorts, particularly on the North coast. “There’s a cat pet resort that is booked up a year in advance, where each cat gets their own room, which is themed,” said Mr Frizell. “The demand for that really high end type of pet resort is really taking off, and they’re not cheap.”
So how much are you looking at for a trip to a resort? Well, the Divine Creatures Pet Boutique, finalist in the Telstra Business Award offers a range of accommodation styles, including an Oriental Suite for $53 per day, and African Safari suite for the same price, The Ritz for $78 per day and, when nothing else will do, a Penthouse Suite for $105 per day. Currently, they are fully booked up for both Easter and Christmas 2015.
4. Your pet is overweight!
“Often owners have the best intentions but don’t realise dogs have different nutritional requirements to humans so may inadvertently be feeding their pets a poorly balanced diet, by cooking at home,” said Mr Frizell. “Modern high quality pet food has come a long way over the years and now has all the proper nutrition dogs need for a balanced diet.”
Mr Frizell also notes that people love their pets and love feeding them treat – just a bit too often.
“Sometimes people can end up feeding their pets treats as though they were food rather than something to have occasionally,” he said. “There is also probably a little bit of indoor pet syndrome too, with pets sleeping on the beds and leading a bit more of a pampered life. Same as humans: if we lead a pampered life and eat treats all the time, we’re going to put on weight too.”
The trick, if you love spoiling your pet, is to choose a low-calorie treat!
5. You buy pet bling
There is some truly amazing pet bling out there – crystal dog leads, tiara and diamante dog collars. “You can easily spend four or five hundred dollars on a crystal dog lead if you want to,” observes Mr Frizell. It you could opt for a designer pet pod; it’s not just accessories now, it’s about design that fits into your decore as well.”
In case you’re reading this list and thinking: “what a waste of money”, Mr Frizell makes a good point that animals pick up on the mood of their owner. Happy owner often equals happy pet. So if pampering Fido or Mittens makes you happy, it will probably make them happy as well.
Thanks to Pet Circle for the above terrific comments.