Pet Pampering in Japan

February 25, 2008 9:34:37 AM PST
From massages to acupuncture, the country's older pet population is living the good life a lot longerAt nearly 17 years old, Indy, a black Labrador, needs help getting in the car. He struggles to walk short distances and needs help rolling over in his dog bed. "He's like my child," says owner Hisashi Ishida, "No, he is my child. And we have to take care of him like we do our elderly."

Indy gets water therapy treatments once a week, even floating on his back to relax. It's followed by a water massage. All this costs more than $500-dollars a month. Ishida says he even moved closer to this spa just so Indy could get regular therapy.

Acupuncturist Dr. Takeshi Yamauchi started out treating humans. Then found much more demand from owners of aging animals.

It's perhaps not so surprising in a country that dotes on its pets, where buying designer duds for your dog is common. Now, an entire industry has sprouted up around aging animals. That's because there are more old pets in Japan than ever before. Pet ownership boomed in the early 90's. And just like with the baby boomers, families are now seeking elderly care options, so pets live longer.

It's estimated one in four humans in Japan will be sixty-five or over in less than a decade. These doting pet owners say think of yourself and how you'd like to be treated when you're old.


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