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Shanghainese spend big on pet pampering

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Life on four paws seems to be getting very easy for spoiled pets across China. Money spent on domestic animals is growing at an exponential rate. Now crazy hair-dos and clothes are becoming a status symbol for their owners.

This is a hairdresser for the modern Shanghainese. No time for humans here - this is all about pampering pets. A quick bath is followed by a cut and dry.

Dogs are now an important part of many Chinese families, and often, a sign of wealth. The pet industry is worth billions.

A doggy treadmill takes a puppy for a run.

A doggy treadmill takes a puppy for a run. 

"This is the very first time people have had pets and in the past dogs were kept as guard dogs, but now it's more about companionship," said Michael Liu from Paws'n Us Pet Care Center.

This dog is trimmed to look like a pony with a mowhawk cut into her fur. Pets being made to look like other animals is also a popular trend. Pandas, lions and tigers are among the top requests.

"Before I had my son, she was like my daughter and the way I looked after her, I groomed her, she was like a baby," a customer said.

Accessories are a must. "These are the cat harnsesses and leashes. Yes, people do walk their cats in China," Liu said. And for scooters: protective goggles, obviously. The dogs can see through them and the lenses are UV rated, "just like the ones people wear," he said. If they're indoors too much, a doggy treadmill takes them for a run.

In this store there are web cams all the way throughout for owners who have left their dogs here at the daycare center. They can always log on to check that their dogs are being well-looked after and even cure some of their withdrawal symptoms while they're at work.

But not all animals in China have someone to care for them. These cats have been rescued from Shanghai's streets. Now they need to be adopted.

“It's endless - there are too many of them. We're trying to do everything we can so that we find a good home for them,” Liu said.

For those better off, a life of luxury beckons. High fashion clothes and perfect hair, for the top dogs.


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