In Tarragona there are more purchases and adoptions of dogs than child births

The scene is the same whether it is a park, a square or Rambla Nova itself. In all probability you will meet someone walking a dog sooner than a person pushing a baby seat. The statistics have a lot to do with it: last year, 1,403 dogs were registered in the Companyia Animal Identification Archive of the Consell de Col·legis Veterinaris de Catalunya (where the animals that receive the chip are documented) in the municipality of Tarragona. The figure exceeds the number of babies born last year: 1,050.

In the city there are currently 17,400 dogs in the registry; It is a ratio of one dog for every eight neighbors. There are also many more animals than children under 10 years of age; the latter count 12,372.

And keep in mind that there could be more animals, since not all owners chip their pets. And many fewer are those who register them in the municipal registry (a free and obligatory procedure). In May only 5,224 were registered.

Increase with the pandemic

Verónica Araunabeña, president of the Col legi Oficial de Veterinaris de Tarragona, explains that the pandemic represented an exponential leap in terms of the adoption and purchase of pets, although in recent months there has been a slowdown. They notice it, for example, in the fact that they made a forecast for the purchase of chips and the rate at which they are placing has nothing to do with that of last year.

They have also verified that the number of dropouts has also grown and is more similar to that of before the pandemic.

What it does recognize is that beyond peaks such as the one generated by confinement, the trend in recent years is for a sustained increase in the number of pets.

And with this increase, new profiles have been added among the owners. There are families of several members and older people alone, but also couples of different ages with pets and without children.

Lucía and César were in that group until recently, they have a dog that came to their house in 2018 and now they have just become the parents of a child. When asked if having a pet was a preparation for parenthood, they explain that they never saw it that way but they acknowledge that "the truth is that it did help us to consolidate habits, to become more aware, to assume new responsibilities, to have schedules... It is not so easy to have a dog and make it another member of the family... We were always clear that if a baby arrived, it would stay, "they explain. At the moment the adaptation of the animal, which until a few months ago had been "the queen of the house" to the new situation is being good.

With dog and no children

A consulted veterinarian agrees that there are more and more couples without children for whom the pet is very important. Remember the recent case of a couple in their forties who came to the clinic with her nine-year-old dog. The diagnosis was serious and there was no choice but to put her down. It was very traumatic, she recalls: "they explained to us that they had just moved into a house so that the dog would have a garden to play in," she recalls.

It is, he explains, not only an increase in the number of animals, but a change in the way of caring for them, which has led to enormous growth in the entire veterinary market. He gives the example of natural food or the BARF diet (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food), the latest fashion.

No flats for rent

However, these changes in trend do not end up translating into an increase in services to adapt to the new reality. As far as equipment is concerned (although seven new areas for pets should be opened in the coming months) the city has had the same 13 pipicanes for years.

The increase in the number of pets has also created new housing needs. A study released last week by the Affinity Foundation and Fotocasa found that at the state level only 4% of rental apartments allow access to tenants with animals. In Spain, the Urban Leasing Law, which regulates the rental market, gives landlords the power to accept or not animals on their property.

We do the test and look for apartments for rent in a real estate portal that allows you to place the 'filter' of 'pets allowed'. In total, they have 155 homes in their portfolio and only 14 of them allow animals. All rentals are from €520.

Fabián Huguet, president of the Col·legi d'Administradors de Finques de Tarragona, points out that they do not have data in this regard, but that more and more owners are explicitly saying that they do not allow animals. He attributes it to the fact that before they did not specify it because it was less common for tenants to have pets.

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