Pets have become an indispensable part of humanity, with species like rabbits, ferrets, fish, or turtles being common in Mexican households. However, cats and dogs have stolen the spotlight for decades. These two species have managed to win the hearts of both young and old, to the point where they are considered as family members.
According to the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), there are 25 million households with pets in Mexico, which means there are at least 80 million pets in every home. Out of these, an estimated 43.8 million are dogs, 16.2 million are cats, and around 20 million belong to other species. Considering these figures, it’s not surprising that people are looking for ways to pamper their pets.
Of course, it’s not enough to provide the basic care, such as a safe place to live, access to water and food, and regular veterinary check-ups for their well-being. Taking them for walks, entertaining them with toys or activities, and even giving them unique moments like birthday parties are some ways to show affection to pets.
While pet parties have become increasingly popular and some have gone viral on social media for their originality and organization, opinions on them are divided. Some owners, like Karla, believe it’s a way to thank their pets and give them a joyful moment, while others argue that it’s a form of mistreatment because it humanizes dogs, cats, and other species.
To address these concerns, El Heraldo Digital interviewed Dr. Claudia Edwards, an ethologist and director of the Humane Society International Mexico (HSI/Mexico) program. She clarified some of these arguments, emphasizing that the issue lies in potentially harming the pets’ health. “Treating them as part of the family is not a problem if you treat this being with specific characteristics,” meaning those unique to their species and needs. “If people see it this way and want to call them ‘fur babies,’ there’s no real problem,” she emphasized.
She also specified that pet parties themselves are not inherently wrong, but other factors should be considered to enrich the environment and avoid stressing the animal. It’s crucial to include things that the dog, cat, or any other species enjoys, such as giving them toys for enrichment, preparing a special cake that won’t harm them, and offering healthy snacks like cucumber, jicama, celery, or watermelon for treats.
However, Dr. Edwards pointed out that there are moments when pets can get stressed by such celebrations. Signs of stress include ears pinned back, tail tucked between their legs, licking their lips, or even trying to escape. In such situations, it’s important to avoid singing, loud noises, candles, etc., and find alternative ways to continue the celebration.
She emphasized the need for an open mind and understanding pets. “Don’t judge how people show love because everyone expresses it differently, but those who organize these types of parties should not only show their love this way but also take their pets to the vet, sterilize them, provide vaccines, exercise, and nutritious food, which is another way to show love to them every day,” she said.
For pet birthday parties, cakes should be specially made with products and ingredients that won’t harm your furry friends.