Toy story in a dog’s world

By Prantick Majumder, IANS,

New Delhi : Chucking a ball and asking your dog to fetch it may soon go out of style. A leading dog website in India has come up with swanky “interactive” toys and accessories that can not only be used as playthings but also help develop the mental abilities of man’s best friend.

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The toys have been introduced by DogSpot, one of India’s first dog websites, the brainchild of three young entrepreneurs, Rana Atheya, Shailesh Visen and Gaurav Malik.

The portal, which had earlier also offered “dating services” for dogs, has collaborated with leading international companies to start an e-shop.

The site offers pet products, including interactive toys, stylised apparel and accessories, food products and grooming instruments, co-founder Atheya told IANS.

“It’s time our consumers got the convenience and flexibility of online shopping for their favourite pet products,” he said.

With a rich collection of over 700 products, the e-shop aims at making it convenient for dog lovers to buy their favourite products online, he said.

A toy called ‘Doggy Brain Train’ motivates and stimulates the dog to find tasty treats hidden in sliding compartments. The dog will “think and learn” and “become more playful”, says the portal.

Toys that squeak when pressed make the dogs alert, and can be useful in exhibiting the pet in dog shows. The portal also has a wide range of dog apparel — shorts “for going to the beach”, bandanas, bow ties and jewellery for “creating a new style statement”.

Atheya said: “The Indian pet market is at a cusp right now. It is moving from being completely unorganised to the early stages of getting organised. Many international players want to enter India’s markets.

“However, unavailability of an organised distribution channel is a major deterrent. Consumers are not able to get many products because of unavailability. We are solving this problem by offering a platform which can deliver products across the country.”

He, however, does not agree that keeping a pet is an expensive proposition.

“An average Indian dog lover spends about Rs.1,300 per month on a dog. This is much lower compared to international standards. With increasing disposable incomes, increase in options of pet products, better and more advanced vet care, ease of availability of pet services, the spending is expected to go up further,” he said.

The portal is now focussed on building an extensive range of pet products.

“We are extremely conscious of the quality of products we are promoting. We have handpicked suppliers who are dealing in the best range of high quality indigenous and international products,” Atheya said.

However, they are only selling pet products as of now, and “not live animals”, he said.

“We will surely be helping people to take the correct and informed decision. We believe animals should be bought with great are. A dog lives with you for 10-15 years, so the decision needs to well thought of.

“Buying a puppy is not only a highly subjective decision but here is an emotional involvement, so one needs to be very careful about taking the decision. We only provide a platform, but the pet lover needs to ensure that he or she does enough homework to buy a pup. We will not sell live animals,” he said.

The DogSpot website commands 17,000 unique hits every day and has 12,000 registered users, according to Google Analytics, the most widely used website statistics service.

(Prantick Majumder can be contacted at [email protected])