Pet pampering hits new highs in Japan

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TOKYO When it comes to pampering pets, few people top the Japanese. The market for pet products and services is growing robustly in Japan even as the number of pets falls. And as households grow smaller, owners are more inclined to treat their animal companions as full members of the family.

Many would not think twice about spending hundreds of thousands of yen for Fido or Fluffy to have an MRI scan or go under the knife. And it is not just cats and dogs that get doted on — pet insurance policies now cover everything from rodents to reptiles.

Over the eight years through March 2016, the market for pet products and services in Japan grew nearly 10% to 1.47 trillion yen ($13.2 billion), according to Yano Research Institute in Tokyo. Many companies see still more room for growth and are expanding their lineups of goods and services.

Sanitary products manufacturer Unicharm is now also a big maker of pet products, selling food and diapers for dogs and cats. Pet products accounted for around 10% of the company’s profit in the first nine months of 2017, and Unicharm sees strong prospects for the future.

Ciao Churu, a brand of cat treats from Inaba Petfood, is a hit…

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