Not so many years ago, the thought of a bakery solely dedicated to doggie delicacies and treats would have seemed ridiculous to most people. Well, that sort of pooch pampering is considered almost normal these days, but there are several relatively new trends in the veterinary world that are raising eyebrows. Welcome to the next generation of pampered pets. The following procedures will take a bigger bite out of your wallet than Fido’s baked goods, with some running more than $100,000. In the process, some family and friends just might question if you’ve gone crazy over Rover.
7. Sunglasses, Fake Contact Lenses and More
While some eye procedures, such as applying a contact lens to aid in the healing of an injured cornea, have medical benefits, others are more for the benefit of the pet owner than the pet. Take, for instance, tinted contact lenses. Owners may opt for these colored contacts to help mask a dog’s scarred or disfigured eyeball. It’s doubtful the happy-go-lucky pet cares much if his or her eye looks a little different than his furry buddy down the street, as long as he or she can see. But the owner may have serious qualms with a pet whose eye looks less than perfect. Silicone implants may also be administered to a pet with only one eye to even out a sunken or lopsided face in an otherwise-healthy pooch. Pups are seemingly sharing in everything that humans have, so our furry friends don’t have to miss out on wearing eyeglasses, too. Companies such as Doggles are manufacturing glasses — complete with UV protection from the sun — in various sizes for our canine friends.
6. Hair Implants
Dogs don’t have midlife crises, so it’s safe to assume that it’s the pet caretakers freaking out over their pooches’ bald spots. Why else would there be a procedure like Dermatonin, which involves injecting a pineal gland hormone in between the shoulder blades to stimulate hair growth in our not-furry-enough friends? Even pets that aren’t suffering from baldness can get hair extensions. And for those not satisfied with any old ’do, owners can opt for colorful feathered hair extensions
5. Animal Tattoos
Animals have traditionally been inked for identification purposes. But owners aren’t simply tatting up their pets for pragmatic reasons. Fido has a blemish or scar? No problem. A tattoo will cover that up (and also help him conform to American Kennel Club standards for showing). Some owners have gone so far as to have the rims of their horses’ eyes tattooed to improve their chances of winning shows. The treatment’s said to be short (30 minutes) and easy (the needle doesn’t have to penetrate the skin as deep as a human tattoo). But, still, it’s hard to justify this as a cosmetic choice the owner makes on the pet’s behalf. So what’s next, a horse with “I Heart Mom” tattooed on his flank?
4. Pet Liposuction
It’s one thing for a pudgy pup to get a fatty tumor removed for health reasons. But it’s quite another for a pup whose nose has been in the Kibble a bit much to get the fat sucked out purely due to the owner’s vanity. The University of Sydney’s Canine Teaching Hospital reported in its first two years of offering doggy lipo, 15 dogs underwent the procedure — at a cost of $2,000 per procedure. Officials reported fielding inquiries from as far away as the United States on a weekly basis. Of course, excess fat can stress the bones and joints, and even internal organs. But looks — not health — were also cited as motivation for trimming doughy doggie’s waistline invasively instead of the old-fashioned way (a diet). Vets around the globe have also noted that the plastic surgery of “old” — ear and tail cropping — had made way for Botox to release puppies’ tight wrinkles, nose jobs to improve the “scrunched-in” appearance of breeds like pugs and Boston terriers, and chin lifts to reduce the jowly look of breeds such as bloodhounds and mastiffs. The latter two procedures do have health implications, in that severely flat and “pushed-in” noses can make it hard for those small dogs to breathe. Likewise, a chin lift can help with excessive drooling in those big dogs.
3. Orthodontics For Your Dog
Your pet’s teeth can look as good (or better) than yours, thanks to an array of dental procedures brought to you by your nearest doggie dental specialist. Stainless steel caps and porcelain veneers, like their counterparts for humans, are pricey — think $2,000 pricey. If your pet’s smile is in need of straightening, he or she can get, yes, doggie braces. There’s even a name for this procedure — the “Rin Tin Grin.” Of course, there are some clinical reasons to undergo costly and seemingly excessive dental procedures. A dog’s prominent overbite can, understandably, interfere with how he or she eats when it’s difficult to hold on to food or chew it. The condition can also harm soft parts of the mouth.
2. Fake Testicle Implants
Much to the surprise and/or dismay of many vets worldwide, Neuticles are all the rage. Implanted at the time that a male dog (or cat or horse or bull) is neutered, “Neuticles” are — you guessed it — fake testicles. At a cost that can top more than $400 per pair, your prized pooch or other pet can be outfitted with these silicone implants in sizes ranging from “petite” to “XXL.” As you may have also guessed, many of those owners requesting Neuticles are men and, in most cases, they’re requesting an upgrade more on the “XXL” side than the “petite” side, even for small breeds such as Chihuahuas. Still, the implants are gaining in popularity. According to Neuticles.com, since the first animal testicular implant in 1995, more than 250,000 procedures have been performed, in dozens of countries. Dr. Alan Schulman, the so-called “Veterinarian to the Stars,” says not a week goes by that he doesn’t get an email from someone claiming they would not have neutered their pet if not for the implants. He sees Neuticles as a way to control the pet population.
1. Pet Cloning
It’s not the stuff of pulp fiction or bad movies. Pet cloning has been popularized recently by reality TV programs like TLC’s I Cloned My Pet, but the unsettling process involving companion animals goes back to 2004 — nearly a decade after Dolly the sheep was famously cloned — with the cloning of “Little Nicky” the cat. Three years later came the first cloned dog, Missy, and then Lancelot the dog made his debut in 2008. Be prepared to fork over $50,000 to more than $150,000 to bring your pet back to life. Owners who now have a cloned version of their original dog or cat swear that their latter-day pet bears eerie similarities to the first, in everything from how the junior pet crosses his paws to how he interacts upon meeting other pets who knew the preceding pet. Of course, there is plenty of controversy in this issue. Animal rights activists, for one, can’t grasp why someone would fork over $100K for a pet when there are so many great animals who need good homes at the local shelter. But some scientists contend the future of animal cloning has only positive implications, including the protection of endangered species. What’s next? T-Rex Jr.? Or how about Grandpa and Grandma, Version 2.0?