It costs roughly $1,580 a year to own a medium-sized dog, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a price tag not just anyone can afford.
So perhaps it’s a testament to India’s growing prosperity that the total number of dogs increased by 58 percent there between 2007 and 2012, according to market research firm Euromonitor International—the fastest growth rate of the 53 countries surveyed.
India still has a largely poor, rural population, so it has a relatively low overall dog-ownership rate of four dogs per 1,000 people. But its economy is projected to grow by 6.7 percent from now until 2030, making it a prime target for start-ups, elite U.S. colleges, and increasingly, extremely pampered pooches:
Meanwhile, similarly fast-growing Brazil has the largest number of small dogs — the kind most likely to fill urban apartments — with more than 101 per 1,000 people.
Quartz, which flagged the study, adds that the growing pup population has spawned cottage industries of trainers, groomers and pet-supply purveyors for the wealthy:
Among India’s upper class, high-end dog trainers are helping to housebreak pampered pups in big cities, where US-based DOGTV is now available via satellite, playing calm music for pets left at home alone along with shows supposedly intended to improve their behavior.
The 1 percenters of Indian dogs enjoy birthday parties complete with cakes “made of flour, cheese and chicken tikkas, garnished with a rib-shaped biscuit on top,” Reuters reported. Another Euromonitor report estimated that India’s pet industry is expected to grow 22 percent this year and reach 4.5 billion rupees (around $81 million), while the per capita income is $1,256.
And upper-crust dogs fare even better in Brazil, according to Quartz…
Dogs are taken in droves to be blessed by priests in honor of St. Francis of Assisi; a few are even ferried about in “pet taxis,” taken for dog face lifts, or brought to breed in a doggie “love motel.”
At least that’s better than what is reportedly another increasingly popular hobby among some wealthy Brazilians: Cocaine.