How Australians are spoiling their furry friends

There’s a sky-blue topaz pendant hanging from Flex the French bulldog’s collar – it’s her birthstone, and a symbol of love from her owners, Shae and Pat Robbins. Flex also has a sterling silver heart-shaped name tag, and her next gift will be a diamond pendant.

“She can never have enough bling,” says Shae. “A lot of people compliment and ask me where I got it from.”

Shae Robbins French Bulldog, Flex, wearing a $200 topaz pendant.

Shae Robbins French Bulldog, Flex, wearing a $200 topaz pendant.Credit:Louise Kennerley

The Sydney couple had never heard of pet jewellery until they recently spotted it on Instagram. The two pieces of Richie Paws jewellery cost $200, a price Shae says didn’t “break the bank” considering Flex cost $9,000.

“French bulldogs are quite high maintenance anyway,” she said. “I don’t see it as an expensive cost considering aluminium dog tags have to be replaced every couple of months.”

Pet bling is the latest way besotted owners are spoiling their furry friends. A 2021 study by Animal Medicines Australia showed cat and dog owners spent a collective $30 billion in a year on their pets, mostly on food and health-related items. Pet ownership grew during the pandemic from 69 per cent of Australian households owning at least one pet, up from 61 per cent in 2019. That means more pets to spoil, and businesses thinking up new ways to attract the pet dollar.

Luxury brands have long offered designer pet accessories, such as the Hermes Rocabar dog collar at $925, and Louis Vuitton’s monogram leash for $555.

In Australia there is an eclectic offering of pet jewellery and accessories, everything from beaded dog bracelets from ​​Let’s Pawty and rhinestone dog tie necklaces from Doggytopia.

However, luxury pet jewellery is still an untapped market according to Richie Paws’ founder Daniel Haddon. He was inspired to start the business after investing in a bespoke luxury name tag for his cavoodle, Penelope.

“I wanted to give her something precious and valuable, and I thought other people might want this luxury too. I would take a bullet for my pet, she is my child.”

Read More: How Australians are spoiling their furry friends

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