Despite a looming recession, Edmontonians still have enough disposable income to paint their pets’ nails and adorn them in haute couture.

Animal lovers congregated at Northlands AgriCom through the weekend, in a steady stream of traffic, privy to an underworld of pampered pet services many humans deny themselves.

“Our business is up 50 per cent from last year,” said owner of the Urban Dog, Laurel Kostk. “A lot of the news out there, especially American, is scaring Canadians. Edmonton is different from anywhere else — there’s a lot of disposable income here, and people will spend money on their pets.”

The speciality shop boasts a line of apparel including Coach and Louis Vuitton collars, doggy tuxedos, bathrobes, bikinis and underpants.

Prices range from reasonable to outrageous. The most expensive items, a dog carrier and treadmill, ring in at around $1,500 and $2,500, respectively.

Despite tough times around many Canadian households, people are shelling out because pets are considered part of the family, Kostk said.

Luxury pet-spa owner Krista Castellarin said that at her shop in Sherwood Park, human moms and dads still spare few expenses for their four-legged kids, who frequently get facials and nail polish.

“People are being a little more cautious, but they’re still spoiling them,” she said, adding student groomers will take clients at 50 per cent regular rates.

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