Personally, when I'm feeling flush, I splurge on overpriced gourmet salt, which is probably only indicative of how much of a sucker I am for packaging and sodium. But, according to Quartz, we can actually learn something about global economic development by looking at how many people can afford puppies:
Dog ownership, like cocaine use, can be seen as an economic indicator. As incomes rise, some people can afford to have pets for the first time, while others decide they can spring for new toys, trips to the groomer, or pricey organic kibbles. On a macro level, as countries develop, new industries-dog shows, puppy hotels-grow up around dog doting and pampering.
Unsurprisingly, the US remains the paragon of dog love, with the world's biggest pet pooch population in both absolute and per capita terms (one dog for every four Americans). But elsewhere, dogs are on the rise, and the rapid changes in the extent and nature of ownership reflect new economic realities.
Take India, for example: it has one of the world's lowest rates of dog ownership — 4 dogs per 1,000 people — but the number rose by 58% between 2007 and 2012, the fastest growth rate of the 53 countries surveyed by market research firm Euromonitor International. The difference in Indian puppy lifestyles mirrors the country's economic disparity, too: some cities have massive problems with stray dogs, while the most pampered puppies enjoy birthday parties with cakes "made of flour, cheese and chicken tikkas, garnished with a rib-shaped biscuit on top," among other luxuries. Yum.
In Brazil, the middle class is working and earning more and thus having kids later. So it makes sense that the country boasts more small dogs per capita (nearly 20 million!) than any country in the world.
For more fascinating global dog stats — Did you know Muslim countries prefer big dogs and Norwegians spend the most on dog food per dog? — read on. I'll be here, eating black Hawaiian lava salt straight from the bag and wishing I was rich/responsible enough to have a puppy.
Image via Hannamariah/Shutterstock.