Tweet photo by Toni Kaarttinen (Flickr CC) Luxury pet products are a huge growth industry. Many of us have seen “accessory” dogs wearing jeweled collars and being carried in designer Louis Vuitton bags by members of the botox set. Often the idea with high-end food and gear for pets is just to show off. No dog worth its canines cares if the diamonds around its neck are real or cubic zirconia. Likewise – as with human food – nutritional value doesn’t always correspond with price. Nevertheless, a lot of people like to “pamper” their pets and it’s not just vacuous Americans. In Germany the trend is taking off. From an article in Deutsche Welle: Koko von Knebel is a chain of stores specializing in luxury products for dogs. It currently has seven branches around Germany including two in Berlin. One is in the capital city’s opulent KaDeWe department store. Its other Berlin branch is situated near the city’s designer shopping mile, the KuDamm, and sits neatly alongside the Gucci and Prada flagship stores. Meanwhile in reality, the large amount of stray dogs around the world is posing problems, especially in developing countries. Attacks by strays are a serious human health issue, spreading disease in countries like India, Romania, China and Ecuador. Another Deutsche Welle piece explains: Rabies – which is spread mostly through dog bites – threatens about half the world’s population and kills more than 55,000 people a year, half of them children. The WHO says 99 percent of these people live in developing countries. And many cases go unreported. Solutions range from adoption schemes to trapping and sterilizing the feral dogs or even euthanizing them. Many so-called strays are in fact owned, but neglected; therefore the problem is connected to irresponsible concepts of dog ownership. In other dog news, in Australia the first canine victim of Hendra, a virus found in fruit bats (flying foxes), was recently euthanized. Horses were already known to be at risk from Hendra, but now cats, dogs, pigs and guinea pigs are being tested in Queensland, Australia. Read more on that story in the Sydney Morning Herald. SUBSCRIBE TO NEWSLETTER Thank you, your sign-up request was successful! Please check your e-mail inbox. Given email address is already subscribed, thank you! Please provide a valid email address. Oops. Something went wrong. Please try again later.