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