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Mumbai, Dec 13
: Mumbai's fussy high-society dogs can now feast on gourmet cuisine specially adapted to their individual tastes and delivered to their homes.

More than 500 people have signed up for the Home-Care Dog Food service that caters to canines in Mumbai, India's booming financial and entertainment capital, said the owner of the business, Wasiff Khan.

"They tell us about their dog's likes, dislikes, allergies, and we come up with a meal plan for the month," Khan said.

Owners' habits are also taken into account, said Khan. On Hindu holidays when people do not eat meat for religious reasons, their dogs go vegetarian too.

Those who can afford the service, which costs from 30 rupees to 120 rupees ($0.66 to $2.60) daily, are attracted by the convenience, said Khan.

Before now, such pet pampering was unheard of in India, where hundreds of millions of people earn less in a day than the cost of these meals and where stray dogs are found on every street corner.

Demand for luxuries has grown however as India's economic boom generates a large middle class with disposable income, as well as a small group of very wealthy, particularly in Mumbai.

"When you eat well, so should your dogs," said Khan, now experimenting with meat-based birthday cakes for his clients.

J.C. Khanna, secretary of the local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said it was just a case of people trying to do what is best for their pets.

"The poor share meals with dogs, they spend on medicines if their dog falls sick," he said of shanty-dwellers who care for stray dogs in Mumbai.

"If the rich can afford to feed their dogs like this, so be it, as long as dogs are loved," he added.


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