Visit any local park these days and you may be surprised to discover you have entered a canine fashion zone. From big, gangling mutts to tiny teacup furballs, they’re all dressed to impress and groomed to within an inch of their lives. Dog pampering – from designer outfits, pooch perfume and expensive grooming – has become big business in the UK and is feeding the desire to spoil our pets.
Why Has Man’s Best Friend Become Man’s Best Fashion Accessory?
It may simply be because many people are delaying starting a family and need a vehicle for parental expression. Dogs are becoming baby substitutes. Indeed, neuroscience shows that the hormone oxytocin, the love hormone released when we bond with our children, is also released when we interact with our dogs. So there is science behind the contemporary phenomenon of ‘furbabies’!
While this may be cute, are we in danger of inadvertently killing our cherished pets with kindness by overindulging them in the food department? According to the PDSA a third of dogs are overweight, which is fuelling the rise of canine diabetes. Many owners admit to ‘treating’ their dogs to human food, from the highly inappropriate saturated fat and sugary processed foods to the downright dangerous ‘treats’ such as chocolate, which is poisonous for dogs. The rise of obesity in dogs means that, like humans, they are at risk of developing many health problems and a shortened lifespan.
Animal Welfare Act
There are now five welfare needs written into the Animal Welfare Act. What they don’t include is doggy ownership of a Gucci or Prada outfit as one of their essential needs. Dogs are simple creatures – they want attention, love and a cosy bed, and by turning them into babies we steal their raison d’etre – to act like a dog. If you are in any doubt, canine welfare organisations such as the RSPCA are a wealth of great information about basic dog care.
So, if you ask your dog if they need to be blinged up the reply would be a big woofing no! In contrast, those opting for dog grooming in Cheltenham and the surrounding area using specialists such as http://www.blossoms-pet-care.co.uk/dog-grooming/dog-grooming-cheltenham.aspx are focusing on the essentials.
Keeping those shaggy manes in trim is important for comfort and general health.