Rio de Janeiro - Amid Brazil's worst economic recession, there is one industry that has continued to thrive despite a clear cutback in consumer spending: products to pamper your pet.
In Rio de Janeiro's cosmopolitan Copacabana district, a former ice cream shop now serves up gourmet sandwiches, lamb or rabbit entrees, sweets, and even beer and wine. But the owner's target clients are the family dog.
Padaria Pet offers products and services you would expect to find at an upscale neighborhood bakery, except that it is not for human consumption.
Ricardo Calil, the shop manager, says the business aims to take advantage of the increasing urban tendency to treat pets like any other member of the household.
In Brazil, the trend towards humanizing pets is on the rise and "there is no turning back," said Calil.
In addition, in a weak economy, opening a garden-variety eatery or other run-of-the-mill business is too risky, he added. "The traditional (business) model is beginning to stagnate.
That's why those who innovate have a much greater chance of getting ahead and seeing greater growth than average," said Calil.
Pet grooming has also evolved, offering canines services once reserved only for the most pampered of people.