This year, global spend on domestic animals break through the $100 billion barrier for the first time ever! In South Africa, more than 85% of us see our pet as part of the family, 57% see them as our best friend and 81% admit to not feeling alone when with them.
From dog beer to dog counselling, pet weddings to social pet-working, pet humanization, which is where owners spend the highest level of care on their pets, has opened the commercial floodgates. As a pet food nutritionist, qualified chef and owner of Vondis Holistic Pet Nutrition, Paul Jacobson suggests the Banting Diet as an exceptional diet suitable for the whole family, including dogs. “The true judge as to whether a diet is perfect for both dog and human is based on whether they are able to provide the correct pH balances, with a leaning towards alkalinity,” explains Paul. “It is quite clear why commercial pet foods in pellet or kibble form cannot perform, as their main ingredients are refined carbs, which are rated as extremely acidic, and their contribution overrides any alkaline ingredients that may come from a diet.” comments Paul.
The Cape Town pet store has launched the Vondis Holistic Pet Nutrition, a registered, scientific and entirely complete and balanced diet that is natural, wholesome and free of preservatives and their biscuits, which are formulated with the help of celebrity chef Jenny Morris, come in four flavours like Rooibos and mint. Exercise is key and canine behaviourist Heather Whitfield who runs a veterinary physical rehabilitation and hydrotherapy practice called Paws-itive Paws-abilities in Centurion has been holding popular Puppy Aqua classes for nearly 10 years. The underwater treadmill, which is a controlled, low-impact exercise programme, assists with weight bearing, improves the range of motion and prevents osteoarthritis whilst swimming classes also have therapeutic benefits.
“Contrary to popular belief, not all dogs are good swimmers – especially brachiocephalic breeds. Yet our active outdoors lifestyle with the sea and swimming pools so readily available in South Africa, mean owners want to enjoy the water with their pets,” says Heather. “It is also the best and the most enjoyable exercise experience for most dogs.” An awesome range of water toys is used to encourage pups to move in the water and there are even specifically designed life jackets for those dogs that have a fear of water or weight issues. “Most dogs absolutely love the heated pool and we also have a really enjoyable and soothing spa which is a great warm-up routine and an awesome massage.”
For posh pooches living the luxury lifestyle, father and son duo of Juggie and Shaveen Singh have just the thing with their newly launched online site. Embrace the High Life offers pet parents international luxury pet products such as beds, collars and leashes by German brand Hunter and travel merchandise by Swiss brand 4Pets, as well as the Duke & Ginger Grooming Range. There is also the soon to be launched luxury pet fashion line and the unique Posh Pets Gift Box which is filled with a mix of products available on a subscription basis - the perfect gift for the dog that has it all.
Pet owners can rest assured of a most dignified departure when the unfortunate time comes to say goodbye, thanks to RIPets. Operating for over 18 years in the greater Cape Town area as well as outlying areas such as Vredenburg, Darling, Malmesbury and Worcester, avid pet lover and general manager Karin Mathews says that there was an enormous need for a compassionate and professional service to people going through the trauma of losing their pet.
RIPets operate two RIPets vehicles, on standby 365 days a year and carries out a personal hands-on approach with genuine care with either a standard or individual cremation service and recently imported a specialised three-chamber pet crematorium from the UK, which is the first of its kind in South Africa.
Regardless of breed, age or home, pet dogs remain valuable and respected members of our family and so it makes perfect sense for man’s best friend to enjoy all the creature comforts that their owners do.