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Doting owners put pets on a pedestal

Wednesday, 25th February, 2015

Jarvis Morris with his furry companion, 16-week-old Daisy. Jarvis said pets are part of his family. Jarvis Morris with his furry companion, 16-week-old Daisy. Jarvis said pets are part of his family.

Jarvis Morris and Kelli Schultz own three dogs - an old Maltese, an 11-month-old Border Collie called Chester and a 16-week-old Huski named Daisy.

Two people, three dogs - that would go some way to showing how Australia has come to have more pets than people nowadays.

There are more than 30 million pets in Australia, and some people are treating their pets as if they were their own children - feeding them special food, sharing meals with them, putting clothes on their backs, entering their pets into beauty pageants and fashion shows and even creating Instagram accounts on behalf of their pets.  

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australia has one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world with approximately 63 per cent of households owning a pet,” said Mike Frizell, Founder, PetCircle.com.au said.

“There are a staggering 33 million pets in Australia now.”

People often feed their pets human food and it goes much further than a few scraps under the dinner table. 

“Pet owners are open to feeding their dogs eggs, fillet steak, chicken breast, milk and even fast food sometimes,” Mr Frizell said.

“Often owners have the best intentions but don’t realise dogs have different nutritional requirements to humans so may inadvertently be feeding their pets a poorly balanced diet, by cooking at home. 

“Modern high quality pet food has come a long way over the years and now has all the proper nutrition dogs need for a balanced diet.”  

Kelli and Jarvis might not go as far as others - with the beauty pageants and clothes - but they do love their dogs.

“Our dogs are definitely part of the family,” Kelli said.

And they don’t cook separate meals for them, but they know of people who do.

“We know some people who do that, but we just give our dogs good quality biscuits.”

Kelli said both dogs were good for her daughter Livia.

“They are really good with Livia and she is training them at the moment.

“We’ve always had dogs and Jarvis wanted a Huski, so we got Daisy.

“Chester has been happier now. He has a mate to play with as our older dog doesn’t really like playing.”

RSPCA Shelter Manager, Merridy Wall said treating your pet like family doesn’t have to come at a big cost.

“Over the years we have seen pet owners become more doting,” Merridy said.

“They purchase a lot of veterinary goods.”

But Merridy said it was important not to get carried away.

“People need to remember that dogs don’t get the same nutrients from human food and they have different needs,” she said.

“Good quality pet food will keep them happy and healthy.

“Also, something as simple as spending time with them or taking them for walks is a good way to spoil your dog.

“You don’t have to purchase expensive toys - it doesn’t have to cost a lot.”

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