FIRST AIRED: December 27, 2017

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>> One of China's biggest changes today heaping love and luxury on your pet.>>
> That's an incredible turnaround from the Mao era when pets were banned as a bourgeois past time. And despite protests there's still a dog meat festival in the southern city of Yulin. However, for many now it's no expense spared to splash out animals.
Analysts say Chinese shoppers are set to drop $7 billion on pets by 2022. That's got top pet food brands piling in pet pampering services springing up around the country. When does Narrowly Thomas visited a boutique doggy hotel outside Beijing.>> What we are seeing here is that people are willing to spend a huge amount of money on giving their dogs experiences which they feel they will appreciate.
So in this place gives it you the chance to take care of swimming, have a spa day have a massage, even go to the cinema. We had one person who spent about 10,000 Renminbi on a birthday party for her dog.>> The pet economy is thriving thanks in part to changing society in China with declining birth rates and children later in life but also more buying power.
>> I think with pet ownership what we see is a reflection of the rise in middle-class in China. Because ten years ago people basically, if they could feed their dog that was fine. People didn't really think about their pet's mental health or that kind of thing.>> Despite the frenzy pet culture is only getting started in China.
Vaccinations and sterilizations are poorly understood. Strict rules have pushed pet food imports into the grey market. And earlier this month police arrested gang members selling poisoned darts to kill dogs and then sell them to restaurants. Opening debate once more on a practice many pet owners now find unthinkable.