PREG­NANT POOCHES

Pre­na­tal and post­na­tal care are not only for hu­mans; many pet own­ers are seek­ing these ser­vices for their fur ba­bies as well

Global Times – Metro Beijing - - FRONT PAGE -

Zhang Yu in Taiyuan, Shanxi Prov­ince opened a post­na­tal care cen­ter for pets this year, the first of its kind in China.

“When pets be­come moth­ers, they need to be taken care care­fully like hu­man moth­ers,” Zhang said.

“Only when the moth­ers are

prop­erly nour­ished can they nurse their ba­bies well, and their off­spring will have a bet­ter chance of sur­vival,” he said.

The pet in­dus­try is booming in China, and dif­fer­ent busi­nesses pro­vid­ing care and com­fort for pets are open­ing up ev­ery day, such as pet clinics and pet beauty sa­lons, ac­cord­ing to Zhang.

Ac­cord­ing to the 2017 White Paper of China’s pet in­dus­try, rev­enue from the Chi­nese pet mar­ket reached 134 bil­lion yuan ($21 bil­lion) in 2017, and the mar­ket value is es­ti­mated to grow 30 per­cent per year un­til 2020, ac­cord­ing to an April 2018 re­port from the Weekly On Stocks.

How­ever, since there were no post­na­tal care cen­ters for pets, Zhang de­cided to start one of his own.

“I want to in­crease the sur­vival rate of the off­spring and the safety of moth­ers by pro­mot­ing post­na­tal care knowl­edge.”

Pas­sion to ac­tion

At first, Zhang and his wife were just two lov­ing pet own­ers. They have a twoyear-old dog they named “pig’s feet.”

In or­der to bring other pet own­ers in their com­mu­nity to­gether, they founded a WeChat group where mem­bers could com­mu­ni­cate and sup­port each other.

“Many dog own­ers lack pro­fes­sional knowl­edge about car­ing for their pets, espe­cially when their pet is preg­nant. Pet own­ers some­times panic and make many mis­takes, which could harm the mother and her new­born’s lives,” he said.

Zhang’s wife joked that they should do some­thing for pets that are new moth­ers and their new­borns.

One time, Zhang’s neigh­bors were away and he was help­ing them take care of their preg­nant dog, and the dog was go­ing to give birth while in his care.

The dog was suf­fer­ing from la­bor dif­fi­cul­ties, and she and her pup­pies’ lives were in dan­ger.

How­ever, with Zhang and an­other pro­fes­sional’s help, the mother and pup­pies came through the la­bor suc­cess­fully and were all healthy.

“This ex­pe­ri­ence made me more de­ter­mined to open a post­na­tal care cen­ter for pets,” he said.

Soon, they rented a place and opened the cen­ter.

“For ex­pect­ing moth­ers from dif­fer­ent breeds and at dif­fer­ent ages, we will set out spe­cial­ized nu­tri­tion and care plans for her and the ba­bies,” Zhang said. “Like peo­ple, dogs also need roughly one month for recovery af­ter birth.”

Zhang’s post­na­tal cen­ter also pro­vides on­site ser­vice; the staff will san­i­tize the new mother and ba­bies, take their tem­per­a­ture, make sure their ex­cre­tions are nor­mal and that the new mother is eat­ing mul­ti­ple small meals.

Ma­ter­nity care for pets

In a Chi­nese re­al­ity show called Super Mom pro­duced by Mang­guo TV, Chi­nese ac­tress Huo Siyan took her preg­nant cat to re­ceive pre­na­tal care, which sparked heated dis­cus­sion about some pets re­ceiv­ing lux­u­ri­ous care in China.

A re­port by news por­tal hu­nan.voc.

com in July 2011 showed that back then, many pet hos­pi­tals in Chang­sha, Hu­nan Prov­ince were launch­ing ser­vices for preg­nant pets such as pre­na­tal care, ce­sare­ans (C-sec­tion) and post­na­tal care. Ac­cord­ing to the same re­port, in the pets hos­pi­tals that of­fer such ser­vices, they have post­na­tal care rooms for pets that are equipped with air con­di­tion­ing, heat preser­va­tion boxes for the new­borns and other med­i­cal equip­ment to deal with emer­gen­cies. Mean­while, a vet­eri­nar­ian is on­site in the room all day to make sure the mother and her ba­bies are in good health. Ser­vices such as these do not come cheap. Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, 10 days of post­na­tal care at the hos­pi­tal would cost around 2,000 yuan. Jenny Yang from Chang­sha found her Ar­gen­tine mas­tiff Tiantuo’s tem­per sud­denly changed and her ap­petite dropped af­ter she be­came preg­nant, so she im­me­di­ately brought Tiantuo to a hos­pi­tal for pre­na­tal care, which cost 500 yuan. If her dog needed to un­dergo a C-sec­tion, then the surgery would cost around 1,000 yuan.

“It’s a lot of money for me, but I was wor­ried for her safety. I wanted to give her the best care I could,” Yang said.

“Many peo­ple in China see their pets as fam­ily mem­bers, and that has gen­er­ated huge busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties for the pet mar­ket,” Yang said.

A staff mem­ber at the post­na­tal care cen­ter checks the puppy’s tem­per­a­ture.

Pho­tos: IC

Main: The staff sooth­ing the new mother while she nurses her ba­bies. In­sert (top): The staff at the cen­ter clean­ing a dog ken­nel In­sert (mid­dle): The staff takes the new mother out to bask in the sun. In­sert (bot­tom): The staff at the cen­ter play­ing...

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