Why Indian businesses are on all fours for National Pet Care Day

A range of businesses have woken up to the possibilities of catering to pet parents

pets Representational image

It’s National Pet Care Day today. And while you can mumble about alien ‘Amreekan’ celebrations being pushed on to desi shores, perhaps it is more fun to surrender to some pawsome fun with the furry babies and join the excitement.

India Inc surely believes so. From a special store on Amazon to insurance packages for dogs, and of course, pet business companies like Mars (which has brands like Pedigree) to Drools going all out, it is no puppy game anymore.

For example, Amazon has launched a special section on the e-commerce site for the special day on April 11, Thursday, with special offers, subscription programmes and a vast range of products from brands like Whiskas, Royal Canin, The Birds Company, BarkOut Loud as well as traditional pharma companies like Himalaya.

"On National Pets Day, we have curated a special store with shopping guides and great deals for pet lovers,” says Nishant Raman, director (Core Consumables), Amazon India. “Customers can also shop from our wide range of imported products, fresh pet food from local kitchens and even try customisation on products they buy for their pets.”

Adds Shashank Sinha, veterinarian & CEO of Drools, one of the leading pet care companies in the country, “With the surge in pet adoption during the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a notable increase in the usage of pet care salons, toys, chewables, and value-added products and services among Indian pet parents. The pet care and pet food industry in India has experienced robust growth in recent years.”

It’s not just products. From kennels to dog-friendly cafes to hotels and vacation stays where you can take your pets along, a range of businesses have woken up to the possibilities of catering to pet parents. Many insurance companies have also popped up with insurance packages for dogs, like HDFC ERGO’s ‘Paws & Claws’ plan. Bajaj Allianz, New India & Oriental also offer similar insurance scheme for pets.

And why shouldn’t it be not? With increasing adoption of pets across the country, the pet care business is truly booming in India. Estimates put the business anywhere between 4,000 to 20,000 crore rupees presently, and it is growing rapidly. There are more than 3 crore pets in India (the actual numbers could be much more), increasing at the rate of 11 per cent every year.

Cities like Bengaluru and Hyderabad are said to be some of the leading markets for pet businesses, with increasing pet adoption among nuclear families. “Compared to previous years, there has been a significant uptick in spending on pet-related expenses, indicating a growing prioritisation of pet wellness and happiness among Indian households,” pointed out Sinha of Drools. Expenses of Rs 5,000 rupees on pets per month or more is not uncommon anymore, with one estimate putting the average expenditure on pets in Bengaluru at Rs 3,000 per month.

Besides conventional pet food companies and American giants entering India to cater to this market, a plethora of startups focusing on pet care have also sprung up in the country. A study last year says as many as 70 new pet care startups came up in India between 2021 and 2023. This has also attracted the attention of investors who have poured in money, turning startups like ‘Heads up for Tails’ into national chains. L.Catterton, an investor specialising in pet care businesses, recently made a record breaking 500 crore rupees investment in the Indian pet care company Drools.

Originally started back in 2006 as a day to raise awareness about pet care and increase adoption of dogs particularly from shelters by animal welfare activist Colleen Paige in the US, ‘National Petcare Day’ has become increasingly ‘international’ over the years.

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