GST claws: Pet care prices shoot up but owners are not worried

For owners of imported canine breeds such as Siberian Huskies and Saint Bernard, the high costs involved in the maintenance of these breeds do not matter much to their owners.

Published: 13th November 2017 03:23 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th November 2017 09:23 AM   |  A+A-

A Saint Bernard dog attracts visitors at Petex at HICC in Hyderabad on sunday | Sayantan ghosh

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: For owners of imported canine breeds such as Siberian Huskies and Saint Bernard, the high costs involved in the maintenance of these breeds do not matter much to their owners. Apart from the high cost of maintenance, health care and a special diet shoots costs up. Further adding to the financial stress is the price rise of most pet care products in the market post the introduction of GST. The owners though aware of the rise in costs, choose not to care about it.

Post GST, pet food costs shot up from 14 per cent Value Added Tax (VAT) to 18 per cent GST. Cost of other pet care products such as shampoo, fur care products, litter box for cats, pet toys have all witnessed a hike in base prices.

Romi is a 9-month-old Siberian Husky owned by Dinesh Bejavada, a Hyderabad-based businessman. For the last six months he has been spending `6,000 per month for getting himself and also the puppy trained. “Both of us have to get training,” said Dinesh. Training services are now taxed at 18 per cent GST, but Dinesh says he was ready to bear the costs as it was only for a few months.

Dinesh had brought his husky for a dog show at the two-day Pet Expo that concluded on Sunday.
“We keep him with the air conditioning on. He also needs a lot of space to run around,” says Dinesh.  To make more room for the husky to run around, Dinesh and his wife, Kavita Sree are moving houses. “An independent house will give him space to pay,” he added.

The puppy also requires a special diet and frequent medical check-ups, both can shoot cost of maintenance up for the owners. “For food, we serve him chicken or mutton on alternate days. We feed him packaged food and occasionally feed him rice. In a month that would cost us an additional `5,000,” said Kavita, “The medical costs can be steep,” she added.  

The owners rely mostly on pet food, despite witnessing a 4 per cent hike in cost industry representatives say the 18 per cent GST on pet food has not hampered sales.  “On the other hand Hyderabad has clocked an 18 per cent rise in sales of packaged animal food in FY 2017-18 so far,” said Prasad. a sales officer for Mars petcare, that owns Pedigree and Whiskas brands.The owners choose private veterinary clinics over government services that are free.

“A single consultation could cost `700, the vaccines would cost `2,000 for the first few months. If the doctor is going to do a home consultation it could cost higher,” said Kavita, “But it’s better to go with a clinic that one can trust,” she added. Veterinary clinics are exempt from GST.

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