Do we humanize our dogs, or do they dog-ify us? No matter how you see it, our dogs are cherished members of the family. And like any good parents, we see the holidays as another way to bestow gifts upon our furry children.
And remember that an animal companion may be the best gift you can give yourself. Many thanks to the <a href="https://www.la-spca.org/" target="_blank">Louisiana SPCA,</a> 1700 Mardi Gras Blvd. in Algiers, for allowing some of their adoptable dogs to serve as models for gifts.
Dapper dog: Mi bow tie is su bow tie. Now pets and their owners can accessorize alike. NOLA Couture offers a red tartan bow tie collar for $45, with human bow ties purchased separately to match. If you’re not the bow tie type of the human species, there are plenty of options just for your dog in pet stores everywhere.
All in the family: The family-pajama trend, where kids and parents dress alike for bed, isn’t new, but now sleepwear designers include the family dog in that number. PajamaGram offers doggy PJs ($19.99) in a number of holiday patterns, from candy-cane stripes to snowmen prints to plaids to Fair Isle patterns to snowflakes. Macy’s versions, such as Buffalo plaid, range from $14.99 to $25.00. The Company Store offers a Santa print in its dog jammies for $24.
One is the toniest number: The dog onesie, ranging in price from $25 to $70 depending on size, is a gift for dog parents who don’t want shedding all over their car seats or sofas. These jumpsuits for dogs go by many names — The Defender, the bodysuit, the no-shed coverall. And they are billed as a way to keep dog fur from shedding, to lower your dog’s anxiety or to replace a medical cone by covering wounds and surgical stitches.
Playing it safe: It’s winter, and the days are short. So invest in a gift that makes dog walks safe at night by wearing safety gear that allows you both to be seen. There are LED collars, dog tags and leashes and even safety vests and harnesses for your walking or jogging buddy.
“Drivers should be able to see you coming and going, so make sure there is reflection on both sides,” says Diane Lundeen, of Petcetera pet boutique on Magazine Street, who recommends vests that come in all sizes and weights, ranging in price from $20 to $55.
Dressed to a tee: What dog wouldn’t be happy in a tee that says New Orleans? The red and yellow Lucky Dog canine tees by local company Yat City at Zen Pets range in price from $22 to $24.
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DOG-GONE GOOD GIFTS
Finding Waldo: Consider a GPS tracker. This gift gets a little complicated because there is some homework to be done when it comes to the best choice for your needs. GPS trackers do not take the place of microchips. All pets should be microchipped. GPS trackers rely on battery life and some on cellphone reception. Either could fail.
Do some research before you buy. One tracker rating top reviews is Whistle 3 ($99.99), combining both cellular and GPS technology. The device is billed as able to locate your pet in your own neighborhood or 3,000 miles away. There are other versions by Garmin, Tagg, PetTronix and Trax Play.
Nanny cam for Phydeaux: The good news is that you get to be the nanny. When you are not at home, you can provide treats or even a meal for your pup while watching him on your smartphone. You can even baby-talk to him while you are at the office. Once again, there are multiple choices. The Wagz Smart Dog Feeder ($245) has a built-in high-definition video camera so you can watch your dog eat. This smart dog feeder is like a car with accessory items you can add. It has the potential to allow the dog parent to check on Rover via the Echo device, and if you really want to go all out, there is a pairing collar that dishes out the appropriate amount of food depending on just how active your dog was while you were away.
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The Petzi Treat Cam ($149.99) uses an app on your smartphone to allow you to talk to your dog, see your dog, photograph your dog and even dispense treats from a wall-mounted device. The Furbo Dog Camera ($140) is a similar device, but is portable and sits on the floor. Its HD camera (with night vision) allows you to talk, see and toss a treat to your dog.
Reading, writing and Rover tricks: Educational toys are a big boon in the pet industry. Human kids may have video games to keep them occupied, but canine kids get enrichment toys in the form of puzzles they must solve to get to the treat. The SPOT Ethical Pet Interactive Seek-A-Treat Shuffle Bone Toy Puzzle (say that fast five times) is a wooden puzzle its creators say will improve your dog’s IQ, but if you are just looking for a way to keep your dog from gobbling down his treats, this simple puzzle game of hide-and-seek does the trick ($20).
Another more advanced version of food puzzles is the Outward Hound Nina Ottosson Dog Casino Dog Puzzle ($20). There are six treat compartments and six moving pieces to challenge your dog to use his problem-solving skills to get to the food reward.
Chow baby!: Amis des Paux, a dog bakery created by dog rescuers Kelly Frisch and Sarah Johnson just over two years ago, is offering personalized holiday cookies this year with the dog’s name on holiday treats. Also back are their Cajun Reindeer Treats, and this year they are offering Shalom cookies. Prices are $3 up (www.amisdespaux.com), or visit them at Garden District Marketplace (2850 Magazine St.) Fridays and Saturdays this month.