BLISS spreads across Lalo’s face as his glossy black locks are blown dry by cooing stylists. Dogs big and small are beautified for 100 pesos ($7.70) in the back of a perspex-walled van run by Fluffy Shower, a mobile pet-salon that visits Mexico City’s posh neighbourhoods to apply shampoo and ribbons to upper-class animals. The sharpest dogs sport green, white and red jerseys to mark Independence Day on September 16th. Next month pet boutiques will sell Halloween pumpkin outfits and dainty witches’ hats.
Pet care is booming in emerging markets, as the growing middle class stops buying dogs for security (or dinner) and starts doting on them. Nowhere has the fashion taken off as quickly as in Latin America. In the past five years spending on pet food and knick-knacks has risen by 44%, to $11 billion, according to Euromonitor, a market-research firm, which estimates that Chile has more pet dogs per person than any other country. Latin pets may be the world’s most fashionable. As Mexico’s rainy season tails off, dogs are stepping out of designer shoes to show off painted claws.