Pet psychics, doggie day spas and feline facials — some people cannot seem to do enough for their furry friends.
Australians spend more than $6 billion on their pets annually and an increasing percentage on pet services like grooming, boarding and training.
As the industry booms, more and more owners are pampering their animals with treatments never before thought necessary.
Luxury K9 Day Spa in the Sydney suburb of Rosebery offers $25 paw treatments — where “tired paws are revived to a puppy-like state” using a steam towel and a manicure — and $60 mineral mud wraps with imported Japanese seaweed.
A pet grooming business located in Queenscliff, Victoria, has just added a $20 painless Brazilian treatment for “pooches with hairy bottoms”, where the hair around the dog’s rear is trimmed with scissors.
And there are no complaints from vets.
“Painting a poodle’s nails? I don’t care. It’s a bit of fun, it doesn’t hurt anyone,” celebrity TV vet Dr Michael Archinal, also known as Dr Ark, told ninemsn.
But the line is not drawn at pampering — some owners are turning to animal clairvoyants, spending up to $150 per session to try and find out what their pets are thinking.
Lynn Overhill started “speaking” to animals in 1993, and has since communicated with thousands of pets all over Australia.
“I really enjoy speaking to animals, I speak telepathically with animals initially,” Ms Overhill said.
“I hear their words, their words become sentences. I also experience visions that they’re sending me.”
But the pet services industry is nothing to be sniffed at.
In 2009, dog owners alone spent $778.9 million on pet services — including clipping, grooming and walking — compared to the $395 million spent in 2007, according to Australian Companion Animal Council reports.
The sale of pet services and products is continuing to grow at an estimated rate of five percent each year, according to the Pet Industry Association of Australia.
Amy Tresidder, owner of Happy Paws Fitness in Sydney’s Rushcutters Bay, said the pet care industry is “definitely” growing.
“A lot more people are having pets and pets in apartments,” Ms Tresidder told ninemsn.
“They’re working longer hours so people aren’t able to get home and give them the exercise or the stimulation that they need throughout the day.”
Despite the emerging forms of pet care, vets are still struggling to convince a large number of owners of the importance of their animal’s health.
“A very big study that was just done with Paw Club, they looked at a thousand pet owners and they found that 25 percent of people wait until their pets show some sign of illness before they take them to the vet” Dr Archinal said.
“Good pet health care takes many many forms. The basic things we need to look after is making sure our animals are loved, sheltered and fed.”
Dr Archinal said the massive developments in animal communication, including the number of practising experts, are beneficial to the pet care industry as long as they are honest.
“I do think there are some people who do take a little bit of a liberty… saying they can actually communicate with animals on a different level than we know the animals communicate with us,” he said.