NEW DELHI: The smell of bleach and hair dye fills the air, a hair dryer buzzes some distance away and there are clients getting massaged in cabins. Yes, this is a beauty salon, but with a slight difference from a conventional one. The clients here are pet dogs.

Mostly humans go an extra mile to chase the society-imposed beauty standards. However, nowadays, even dogs are being pulled into the race.

Your canine is no less than your child. As the trends, now pull your dogs in the race to chase society imposed standards. It’s not only your child who needs to be suave and look cosmopolitan, but also your dog requires behaviour counselling sessions from special training schools to match human standards.

With the facilities of pet shops, pet cafes, pet talks and educational programmes quite procurable, pets are now encouraged to browse merchandise along with their owners or even attend talks and behaviour sessions.

There are special training centres like K9, which teaches socialisation within controlled environments. Lately, pets have become a style statement for their owners. From buying imported pet products, to getting them an expensive massage in a parlour, pet owners in Delhi are doing everything to pamper their adored companions.

Not many years ago, grooming was all about a shower and a haircut. Now, it is sophisticated and owners have options for medicated baths, aroma therapy, hair colouring and even herbal massage for their pets.

According to a report by London-based market intelligence firm Euromonitor International, the Indian pet care industry is growing at about 20 per cent a year, fuelled by a significant increase in spending by Indians on pets. The report also stated the Indian pet care market will reach Rs. 800 crore by 2015.

“The demand for grooming services and pet care products is increasing in urban India. People are giving more love and attention to their pets,” says Preeti Sood, head groomer and owner of a pet salon in Sainik Farms, New Delhi.

Amidst the hectic work schedule and nuclear family set up, pets are being pampered without detachment. Keeping in mind the dearth of time in people’s lives to cook for their dogs, one even has the option to opt for a monthly Tiffin service for their dogs, with customized menu based on the health of the dog.

Every year, around 600,000 pets are adopted in India, as per a report of Huffington Post. This growing number of pets is giving birth to various small and medium enterprises dealing in pet care.

There are various e-stores offering pet accessories which include pet toys, leashes, orthopaedic beds and harnesses. From spas to weekend getaways, from exotic food to specialised healthcare, luxury boarding, pool parties and monogrammed sweaters, the pets have it all.

The friendly domestic dogs have evolved a long way from their wolf ancestors to being the stylish ones.

“Dogs are being ‘humanised’. People don’t realise that dogs are very different from humans. Making them sleep in air-conditioned rooms, buying them expensive toys and food, making them wear uncomfortable accessories; all these make the dog very uncomfortable. It is very sad that both physical and mental enrichment of a pet has taken a backseat”, said Poorvaja Kumar, Canine trainer and owner of Humans of Canines.

“The right balance comes with awareness. We’ve seen people bring dogs to fancy dress competitions with uncomfortable costumes”, says Rashi Narang, Owner Heads up for Tails, luxury pet couture.

Not only pet salons, Delhi has come up with pet shopping stores, pet cafes to socialize, pet day care centres, pet birthday clubs and pet photo studios. Pet food industry has also gone beyond dog biscuits and has now come up with exotic dog meals and gourmet bakery choices.

“On an average, we spend about 6000 rupees on our pets per month,” says Manju Malik. She owns three Chihuahua dogs and brings them regularly to salon for treatments.

Yet this human notion of “beauty” is leading the pets down a perilous path. Dogs are often uncomfortable with unrealistic clothing and accessories that humans force on them, thus leading to a physical harassment instead of care.

The growth in market for pet products has given rise to several food products that claim to provide nutrition. However, there are not many products that have any scientific evidence of it. Artificial food flavouring in dog food is leading to food allergies and increased obesity. Pet owners unfortunately go in for easy to make or readily available food products and supplements, that do not serve any purpose and are just expensive.