|Cyberspace Doggie Buying Guide
Sometimes he is rolling around in a pile of disgusting, decaying mess, but other times he is your little angel, the light of your life, and all you want to do is shower him with love, affection and gifts. Even when he is covered from nose to toes in unbelievable stink, your canine companion is still the only one in your life who loves you unconditionally and wags away while you are retching. (Why is mama scouring me with this horrid tomato juice? Oh well, I’ll just lick her in the face.)
Because we love our pooches so much, we have become increasingly more indulgent in recent years. Our devotion to our dogs, as a nation, is reflected in increased spending on gifts for them.
According to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association (APPMA), there are more pets than people in the United States. In fact, 62% of all households in the U.S. include a pet. Furthermore, spending on pets has nearly doubled in recent years, despite a sluggish economy. Sales of pet products (an estimated $31 billion) have surpassed both the toy ($20.3 billion in annual sales) and candy industries ($24 billion).
Recognizing this trend, the pet product and services industries have stepped up to create a new wave of indulgences for family pets, especially the beloved canine.
PETCO Animal Supplies, Inc. recently conducted a survey of online customers, said Shawn M. Underwood, Communications Representative. The results indicated that 70% of the people surveyed said they were definitely buying their pet a gift this holiday season. Another 15% said they were considering it. Price was no object, said another 16 percent. “Twenty-three percent said they would spend as much as $50,” said Underwood. Eleven percent said they would go as high as $100 and 5.2% indicated they would easily spend more than that.
If money were no object, most dog-lovers would probably say the sky is the limit for the lengths and expense we will go to for our canine companions. Alas, since most of our finances aren’t as unconditional as the love we receive, it’s lucky that indulgences for the pooch are available in every price range.
This holiday season, PETCO is introducing a variety of items to soothe your dog’s separation anxiety. Comfort Zone Plug-Ins ($40) for dogs and cats emit a pheromone-based form of aromatherapy to soothe the savage breast while you’re away. The Talk To Me Treat Ball ($15-$20) allows you to record a message to your pet, which he will hear while playing with a ball that randomly dispenses treats.
Consulting an animal communicator may help you get to the source of that anxiety, or any other aches and pains or concerns your pet may have.
Animal communicator Charlene Boyd uses telepathy, the universal language, to help you and your pet learn about each other so the quality of your relationship is improved. “Through your questions and your animal’s answers, you gain insight and understanding about each other,” Boyd said. “Your questions may be about health concerns, behavior issues, aspects of her personality, problems involving former owners and your pet’s experiences with them, her purpose in your life, or anything else you may want to know.”
Most sessions are conducted in about 30 minutes, on the telephone, and fees begin at $50.
You may also discover that the red and green sweater Grandma knitted for Fluffy to wear this holiday season is a real embarrassment!
APPMA’s survey indicated that more than half America’s pet owners buy gifts for their pets. Although Christmas is definitely an occasion for gifts, most pet owners say they give their pets gifts year-round, for no special occasion. Many non-traditional companies are offering pet products.
Omaha Steaks, www.omahasteaks.com, which has been offering premium steaks since 1917, now has a tasty offering for your dog. What pet wouldn’t go wild for steak treats cut from genuine round steak, dried and sprinkled with natural preservatives? They’re 97% lean and you can order them online and send to your dog’s canine friends around the country when you are placing your order for their humans.
Pampering products and services abound, from pet beauty treatments and day spas to the latest in extravagant garments and accessories.
DogBar.com is a 24-hour luxury online pet department store that boasts the finest and most unusual dog products the world has to offer. At www.thedogbar.com, you may choose from beauty, eats, gear, toys, treats and gifts. There is even a section for feline companions. The latest item in the gear department is “the essential wardrobe must have,” a denim jacket for your dog. The cool dud is available in for small to medium size dogs only for $59.
From DogBar.com’s gift department is a “project” gift that you and your dog will enjoy working on and for years to come. The Pawprints Picture Frame Kit is designed to help you make your dog’s print a work of art. The $44.99 kit comes with a shadow-box frame and non-toxic paw imprint impression material so you can frame your pooch’s paw alongside his mug.
If you can’t find anything quite extravagant enough for your baby at The Dog Bar, you may want to check out www.doggieworks.com for the latest in unique, unusual designer necklaces for dogs. They come in “Ready to Wear” and the more formal and elegant “After Five” You’ll want to check it out and at least include one of these jewels for your pooch’s wish list.
You’ll also want to check out www.pamperedpuppy.com. From the home page, go to Diva Dog, then ideas for the pup that has everything. Choose from elaborate furniture, including a Georgian four-poster bed or a Louis XV style Pavilion. There is even a “mink” sweater for your dog. Don’t worry, it’s actually a combination of the highest quality textured yarns, designed to imitate Persian lamb. The combination of hand knit and hand crochet, embellished with beads and buttons is available in mink, jewel tones and claret for $210. Sorry Astro, this item available for toy and small breeds only.
As long as you’re cruising around in cyberspace, you’ll want to go over to www.pawshop.com, an impressive online pet boutique for dogs and their humans. They have an expansive selection of dog apparel, gear, toys, collars, carriers, gifts, accessories, bowls, gifts, home items, grooming, training, and people stuff too.
What person and pooch doesn’t appreciate being soothed, petted and pampered? If you can’t make it to the day spa, or would rather enjoy a special bonding with your dog, you may want to order instructional videos from PetMassageTM Training & Research Institute at www.petmassage.com. Founder Jonathan Rudinger, a Registered Nurse and licensed Massage Therapist, has worked with both large and small animals. A leading advocate for pet massage, he developed these videos for pet owners as well as pet care professionals and massage therapists wanting to expand their practice.
Are you still walking your poor pooch in that ghastly, embarrassingly dated polyester leisure suit coat with the Naru collar? Don’t you know that all the well-dressed dogs at the Dog Park are giggling at him? If your pooch is a dyed-in-the-wool clothes horse chomping at the bit for some style and practical warmth, you might want to let your fingers do the walking on your keyboard over to www.jasperandlenore.com. Here, you’ll not just find doggie outerwear, but designer doggie outerwear in a multitude of fabrics and patterns for those cold, blustery winter walks. This website features a doggie couture “Dressed for Success” collection and the more casual, laid-back “Town and Country” looks for the well-dressed dog.
If you’re looking for one-stop shopping for both your doggie and your human friends, check out www.doggonegood.com. This site features everything from dog agility products to books and videos, car and travel products, dog crates & tents and even home and garden products such as garden sculptures and suncatchers to hang in your window.
Some of the best gifts don’t necessarily come in tiny little boxes. Won’t your pup be a bundle of wags when you spring for a weekend getaway at that posh pet-friendly resort? Pet pillow, plush doggy robes, toys, gourmet treats and other perks have become de riguer at hotel and resort properties worldwide. You dog may also enjoy beauty treatments and massage while you are doing likewise. A handful of very useful websites that will help you find pet-friendly accommodations and get your reservations all squared away are www.petfriendlytravel.com, www.puppytravel.com and www.traveldog.com.
Air accommodations are even available for the two of your to travel together in style through www.companionair.com. Billed as the airline “where pets and their families fly first class,” Companion Air is currently working on fleet acquisition and not up to full speed. However, the company is currently offering passenger, pet and/or cargo charter on a small single engine Piper Arrow that has been FAA Certified for charter operations.
No matter where your nose leads and what adventures you enjoy, there is no place like home. When it’s time for your dog to curl up in his own cozy bed, or next to your feet by the fire, he’s enjoy hours of entertainment with a stocking-stuffer from www.happydogtoys.com. Billed as the “coolest, most innovative, interactive toys for you and your pet,” Happy Dog Toys conform to the ASTM F963 testing standards for the toy industry. That means the toys are as safe for your dog as they would be for human children. Vet-tested and vet-approved, each Happy Dog toy is designed with the most energetic and enthusiastic pet in mind. The custom, durable tennis balls are pressureless, which means they are virtually impossible to pop.
Happy Dog Toy’s new Tennis Buddys come in three sizes of six animal plush designs: lion, monkey, alligator, elephant, dog and horse. The tennis ball (in varying sizes to accommodate different breeds) forms the body of the animal.
The old adage about it being more about the thought than the actual gift still rings true. And surely the only one in your life who truly wouldn’t get upset if you adhered to the “we’re not exchanging gifts this year” rule is probably your pup. However, when he gives you that come-hither-and-pet-me look that melts your heart, you want to give him the world.