The Delightful Eccentricities of Japanese Pet Owners

April 10, 2019
We often talk about eccentric pet owners from around the world. Today we'll tell you all about the eccentricities of Japanese pet owners.

We often talk about the eccentricities of devoted pet owners, like the Maharaja and his beloved dogs or the pets of famous celebrities. Nowadays, you can buy outfits and jewelry for pets that are more expensive than those designed for people. People who love animals, and have the means to indulge them, have no qualms about showering their pets in luxury. Today we’ll tell you all about the eccentricities of Japanese pet owners. Rather than simply focusing on luxury items, the pet industry in Japan is all about glamour.

Japanese pet owners and their relationship with dogs

Japan is a huge country of more than 126 million people, with around 21.5 million pets. To give you an idea of just how crazy this figure is, there are actually more pets than there are children under 15 (with only around 16.9 million).

The Japanese pet industry – veterinary medicine, beauty, fashion, accessories and everything else – generated around 138,000 million yen last year, approximately $1738 million.

As in many parts of the world, dogs are the most popular pet, generating a profit of around 89,000 million yen, compared to the 24,000 million yen spent on cats – a truly huge sum of money.

Pets, a booming industry

Not surprisingly, designers such as Dior and Gucci quickly recognized the incredible opportunity the Japanese market represents, and are looking to make waves in the pet industry. Designer stores now stock collars, bags, leashes and a whole range of other luxury pet accessories.

Japanese pet owners love showering their furry friends in glitz and glamour. It’s not unusual to see them wearing luxury outfits, sporting outrageous hairdos, with socks on their paws, and being pushed around in prams.

In cities like Tokyo, for example, people prefer small dogs like chihuahuas. These little dogs are perfect for their small houses. They are also better suited to the solitary lifestyle lead by many of the city’s inhabitants.

Given the figures we’ve looked at in this article, it’s clear that many Japanese people prefer dogs to children. In fact, they treat them like another member of the family, humanizing them as far as possible.

For example, a single trip to the dog groomer for a wash and trim can cost up to 12,000 yen (around $150). But this isn’t just something people do on a whim; in Japan, it’s practically a necessity.

Pets – an increasingly luxurious industry

Eco-friendly diapers, organic food, spa days with aromatic massages or bubble baths. This is all just a typical day in the life of a Japanese pet.

For example, in the Green Dog, a luxury shopping mall in Tokyo, any of these treatments can cost around $50. They can also be combined with a quick check-up at the vet clinic or a training session. Pets can also stay at the mall, for the modest price of $100 to $176, depending on the size and quality of the room.

Pet insurance is essential in this crazy and luxurious world. Many companies have gotten very rich selling insurance to Japanese pet owners. The Japanese love their pets, and will do anything to help them live as long as possible.

They give them an incredible quality of life, and keep an ever-watchful eye out for new medical developments.

Though people always say that it’s best to do things in moderation, we find it difficult to fault Japanese pet owners, especially when it means that so few pets are abandoned. While their devotion to their pets might seem excessive, we’d much rather that than some of the terrible animal welfare issues we see in other countries.

So, now you know. If you ever go on vacation to Japan, make sure to take your pet with you. They’ll be more than welcome.