In the last decade, different studies have agreed that Argentina is the country with the highest number of pets per inhabitant in the world. Eight out of every ten Argentine families have at least one animal in their homes. The favourites? At the top of the list are dogs, with 81%, followed by cats with 52% and with much lower percentages turtles (with 7%, even though their possession is illegal), birds (5%), fish (4%) and finally hamsters, those eternal runners on wheels, with just 2%. At the regional level, the other countries show lower numbers in terms of animal passion: 71% of Chileans have pets, in Mexico just over half of the population (57%), Brazil with 44% and Colombia with just 35%.
Three out of 10 Argentine families adopted one or more animals during the quarantine period. Taking a walk with their pet (in the case of dogs) was for many the only time they went outside for days or even weeks, especially during the height of the ASPO, when the police kept watch on the streets to ensure that no one broke the isolation.
The large animal presence then caught the attention of many, who saw the possibility of starting a business out of it. In fact, it is quite common to walk through any city in the country and come across a veterinary hospital or a dog walker. The pet economy has grown so much that there are even more pet businesses.
Less than 20 years ago, a shop selling clothes, accessories, toys and even vehicles entirely dedicated to pets was almost unimaginable. But today, and above all because of the huge range of products on offer, their popularity has increased dramatically. They offer everything from cots or beds to toys, from balanced food or scratching posts for cats, to the well-known and funny covers or dresses, mostly for dogs.
From hooded coats to waterproof waistcoats, the presence of animal clothing is a reality in the streets of Argentina, especially on winter days. Designer clothes for greyhounds deserve a separate chapter, as their peculiar characteristics require tailor-made tailoring, with very amusing results. It is enough, in fact, to go through some Tik Tok accounts dedicated to this breed to appreciate how cute they can look dressed in capes, hats and even Sherlock Holmes costumes that cost, of course, a fortune.
Coffee and poodles
Many coffee shops, knowing that many of their customers will not leave their pets tied up on the pavement while they enjoy their drinks, have had the idea of expanding the public, and now it is not only human but also animal. To this end, they have set up comfortable rooms with water for dogs, open-air gardens for them to enjoy themselves and - even more recently - "cat-friendly" cafés, where the little dogs can stroll among the tables and be petted without any drama. The idea is clear: enjoy a coffee and feel at home.
Globalisation has made it easier for people to travel, whether for work or pleasure, all over the world. These trips usually involve being away from home for a long time, and pets need pet sitters. This has given rise to pet setting or house sitters. They regularly visit the animals (it's not a day-care centre), play with them, feed them, give them their medication if necessary, walk them and even bathe them. And, of course, they take lots of photos and make lots of videos to send to distant "fathers" and "mothers".