Pets are loving companions that bring light and happiness into our lives. But in the past couple years many pets, typically in Asia, have been given some very strange haircuts as they become more of a fashion accessory than a loving companion. This bizarre trend started in Taiwan when dog groomers in Taipei started being asked to design bespoke cuts for fashion conscious pet owners.
Two of the most popular pet hairstyles include the 'dragon cut' and the 'lion cut' (a quick internet search should give you a good sense of what these look like). I think we can all agree the cuts are interesting and pretty cool; however, owners have been criticised for doing this to their pets which has raised the big question is: is it cruel?
Some people argue that the cats and dogs don’t know any different and that the change in appearance doesn’t impact them at all, but others would say that it makes the animal feel vulnerable. The argument goes that they sense a difference and that it impacts on their sense of well-being. In a way, they are embarrassed by their silly haircuts, and take a hit in the self-esteem department.
It isn’t just the style of haircut, in China there is an increasing craze for the dying and colouring of per hair. Owners have dyed dog hair to look like tigers, lizards and colourful pom poms. There is one case of a couple in China who decided to dye the fur around their dog’s eyes, ears and paws black, whilst bleaching the rest of the body white to make it look like a panda. Husband and wife, Li Changxian and Yang Kun, say that they love pandas so much that they decided to give their dog a makeover.
Even though dying your dog's hair may seem cool on social media and get you a few likes on Instagram, it has been clinically proven that dying your dog's hair with human dye can be extremely dangerous.
While the vast majority of people posting photos on Instagram and other social platforms take their dogs to groomers and dog salons, a minority of people see these posts and decide to do it themselves with human dye (it is toxic) which can lead to fatalities.
Some people may think that these actions against our domestic animals are cruel but it really depends. At the end of the day, it is really up to the owner of the pet to decide if they want to cut their dog or cat’s hair in a peculiar way. However, having said that, the trend seems to speak volumes about our attitudes and values. Why would anyone feel the need to inflict this upon their pet? It seems to reveal a shallow and superficial side of human nature and one we shouldn’t be proud of.