CATS AND DOGS JOIN THE FAMILY
Pet Services Expand and Diversify
(October 23, 2007)
The range of services catering to pets has grown dramatically in recent years. Clothes for animals have been around for quite some time, but did you know that dogs can now relieve their stress with pet aromatherapy or a session in an oxygen capsule? Nowadays if you cannot bear the thought of leaving your pets at home when you are away, you can check them into a pet hotel; you can also take out a pet insurance policy in the unfortunate event that he/she falls ill. No doubt this trend is due to the increase in pet owners who consider their furry loved ones members of the family.
Pet Population Rises
The Pet Food Manufacturers Association of Japan reports that as of 2006 there were 12.09 million dogs and 12.46 million cats kept as pets in Japan, amounting to a total of 24.55 million critters. Seeing as how 10 years ago there were only 10.02 million dogs and 7.85 million cats, this represents a considerable rise. The reasons for this jump include increases in the numbers of married couples whose children have flown the nest, childless families, and people who live alone. There are also more apartment buildings that allow pets nowadays.
Catering to Four-Legged Friends
Owners can check their pets into a pet hotel when they leave their house for long periods of time, such as on a trip overseas. Although most of these hotels are located in big cities, they can also be found at the Narita, Kansai, and Central Japan international airports. Especially popular is the 10-square-meter suite in Narita, complete with air purifier, air conditioning, and sofa bed. Owners can check in on their furry friends during their stay at the suite thanks to a webcam hooked up to the Internet, and, of course, the hotel makes sure that each of its guests gets enough exercise. An animal clinic is also located on-site. One night at the suite costs ¥20,000 ($171 at ¥117 to the dollar).
Meanwhile, pet insurance policies are becoming more and more common as pet owners seek to cover expenses when their animals become sick or injured. There are several insurance companies to choose from, and a pet premium typically costs a few thousand yen per month.
Now pets can even be treated to some time in an oxygen capsule—vessels filled with concentrated oxygen that are sometimes used to accelerate athletes' recovery from tiredness. Reputedly effective at relieving animals' stress and tiredness, 30 minutes in a capsule costs ¥2,000 ($17).
To those less inclined toward animals these services may seem excessive, but ask any pet owner and they will tell you that you cannot put a price on family.
Copyright (C)2007 Web Japan. Edited by Japan Echo Inc. based on domestic Japanese news sources. Articles presented here are offered for reference purposes and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Japanese Government.