For animal lovers that travel to Mexico it is always a bit of a shock to see the state of the dogs in that country. All it takes is a simple drive around the city of countryside and there will be a profusion of stray dogs found in starving and mangy conditions. The good news is that the situation is going through improvement in stages, especially in areas like Merida.
Despite what you may see driving around Mexico, there is a strong segment of the Mexican population that is as dedicated and conscientious about pet care as any pet owner in the United States or Europe. These pet owners perform all the regular tasks like treating pets like family, providing them all the vaccinations, taking them to the vet when they fall sick, keeping them well groomed and presentable, and so on.
The other side of this segment comprises of the relatively poorer population that views the dog as an annoying factor that increases their cost of living and is also viewed as something dangerous that is best avoided. The truth is that the dogs are often starving and this tends to make them literally dangerous and they must in fact be avoided.
Another curious aspect is that Mexicans do not approve sterilization of dogs for some reason. The cost may be a factor here because vets charge ridiculously high amounts to conduct the sterilization.
Despite all these problems, pet care in Mexico is showing positive signs of consistent growth. There have been several industry giants have maintained a steady investment in the Mexican pet care industry and their patience is finally generating some results. The pet food market grew by more than 10% in 2005 and most of this was a result of increased awareness among pet owners as to the benefits of a healthy and well-balanced diet for their pets, crate training, coupled with an increase in their disposable income.
Dogs and cats have a 40% and 9% home penetration, respectively, in Mexico. This caused the pet care industry to dedicate resources and apply efforts to increase awareness among pet owners about pet care and protection. The immediate result of this was an increase in sales in things like a dog crate.
Government sponsored programs provided an additional boost by decreasing the number of street animals. However, there still remains a lot of work to be done in order to combat animal transmitted diseases like rabies and ticks.
At present the association of pet food manufacturers is lobbying for approval of a law that will assure the quality of life for pets.