Holiday Gifts Ideas for the Pet Set

My dog refuses to tell me what she wants for Christmas so I went to the experts to get some ideas about what’s hot for the pet set this holiday season.
First stop was Montclair Feed and Pet Supply at on Glenridge Avenue where owner Joel Tabor told me that some of the most popular holiday items are dog and cat beds. A top seller, he said, are the beds with thermal inserts for added warmth, which sell anywhere from $45 to $134. I asked the inevitable question, “Why does a dog or cat need a thermal bed?”



Tabor explained that as our pets age, they can become more sensitive to the cold, just like humans. This is especially true, he added, if your dog or cat sleeps near a drafty window or door.
Tabor also has hundreds of cat and dog toys from which to choose, including the new Kong Wubba and even a plush “Mr. Bill” doll.
Also popular are the new soft leatherette carriers for cats and small dogs. Selling for $65 and up, they look more like attractive luggage than traditional, plastic pet carriers and make it easier for owners to take their pets into stores and other public places.
For feisty felines, cat condos are always a big seller and range anywhere from $65 to $300, depending on size.
The dog cookie treats are undoubtedly one of the most popular gifts, not only for the holiday season but year round. There are gingerbread men, snowflakes, footballs (Kelly’s favorite), Hanukah dreidels, and Santas. If you were to put these beautifully-decorated cookies out on a platter on your kitchen table, I challenge your guests to tell the difference from “people” cookies (unless they bite into them, of course). Made with all natural ingredients such as whole wheat flour and yogurt, they contain no sugar and sell for $2 apiece. Gift boxes are also available for $10 and up.
Over on Valley Road, Danny Heaps, owner of Iggy’s Place, said he opened his store as a vehicle for kitten rescue and adoption. He’s been rescuing kittens for many years from mostly Hudson County where he used to live, nursing them back to health, and adopting them out to loving homes. He’s rescued about 100 cats and kittens since the store opened two years ago and this month alone, he’s managed to find homes for about half a dozen.
Top sellers in his store are the Mighty Dog line of colorful toys that manage to combine indestructibility with plushness. Sold in a variety of sizes, they range in price from $10 to $20.
Dogs also love his Sweet Potato Chicken Wraps ($9) and cow tendon chews (a bag of 15 sells for $20). Unlike rawhide, which can cause gastrointestinal problems in dogs, especially smaller breeds, the tendon chews are safe for digestion.
Bonito tuna flakes are a favorite among the feline set and bags sell for $5 for a small and $10 for large.
For pooches into fashion, Heaps sells Fab Dog reversible, two-tone, winter parkas with Velcro straps, ranging in price from $35 to $40. There are also Chilly Dog hand-woven Peruvian sweaters that come in all sizes that will fit the smallest teacup Chihuahua to a full-grown Mastiff. They range in price from $30 to $40.
Earlier this year, one of my assignments was to find a birthday cake for a dog named Paco, believed to be the oldest dog in New York at 20 years of age. You would think Manhattan would be a bastion of amazing pet products but the closest doggie bakery I could find was in Brooklyn–too far. So I went online and discovered the Pupcake Dog Bakery, in Caldwell.
In addition to delectable cakes and cookie platters for all occasions, Pupcake Dog Bakery sells a variety of items, ranging from the practical to just plain fun.
Owner Michael Dattolo and store manager Tracey Hinkle spoke highly of the Port-a-Poo, a device you attach to your dog’s leash so that once you pick up your dog’s business, you don’t have to carry it – the dog does. It retails for $9.99.
For dogs who like to throw back a cold one now and then, there’s Bowser Beer, which comes in either beef or chicken flavor and is sold in a six-pack or by the bottle. Six-pack, $19.99; single bottle, $3.30.
Other popular treats are Puppy Pizzas ($5.99), freeze-dried Ice Cream for Dogs ($3.99), and Mr. Barksmith’s Cool Treats, a six-pack of fruit smoothies made with apples and bananas ($6.99). Cookie platters start at $12.99.

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15 COMMENTS

  1. I’m going away for Christmas and one of my cats, who gets angry every time I go away, will undoubtedly leave me a very special gift.

  2. I *want* to like Montclair Pet and Feed–mostly because it’s the most convenient location for me where I can buy the food I give my dogs.
    But the owner was so miserable and rude 75% of the times I went in there (and it was many times–translating into a lot of money spent) that I actually dreaded walking in the door. And I’m friendlier than the average bear, so I don’t think it was provoked.
    So I don’t spend my money there anymore.
    Iggy’s is great (and I like very much that he runs the cat rescue out of the store), and so is Paradise Pet on W. Passaic Avenue in Bloomfield. The owners of Paradise Pet do pit bull rescue and they’re highly knowledgeable about canine nutrition. And they’re nice!!

  3. Obesity is the number one health problem for humans. Now we are inflicting this scourge on our pets. This is an outrage. Rather than give our pets food made for people, people should be eating food made for pets. A bowl of dry kibbles makes a great breakfast, and in the evening I’d recommend moistening it with some soy milk and warming it in the sun (please do not electric and gas devices). Wash it down with a glass of kale broth.

  4. I’m feeling you Kate,
    I used to go Montclair Pet and Feed and over the years spent many hundreds of dollars there. I don’t think the owner is a bad person but he certainly is maladroit when it comes to dealing with people. In spite of this the store seems to be doing well.
    The last time I was there, the owner was being a real ‘D*ck’ to a female employee, RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME! I felt the behavior was completely inappropriate and never shopped there again. There were uncomfortable moments almost every time I was in the store, but I just chalked it up to some people are just weird. This was too much though.

  5. I sadly agree about Montclair Feed. The owner followed me around the store one time as if he thought I was going to steal something. That was the last time I ever went in there.
    I haven’t been to Iggy’s but have heard good things. He made it a point to reach out and offer to take some PAWS cats and ease the overcrowding when he first moved into town.

  6. MB, Nellie–I’m sorry to hear you’ve had similar experiences, although I have to admit I’m relieved it wasn’t just me!
    It’s too bad; there are some really nice kids who work there. The store would undoubtedly do much better if the owner would stick to back-office stuff and let his employees be the face of the business.

  7. “and in the evening I’d recommend moistening it (kibble) with some soy milk and warming it in the sun ”
    Mathilda… please tell me how you can warm the soy milk in the sun, in the evening? Here the sun sets pretty early now…
    My dog doesn’t eat processed kibble, and neither would I. He eats pretty similar to us, and has lots of chicken, steak, boneless fish, vegetables, rice, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Sugar and salt free of course. He is in peak condition, and is very healthy.
    Simplicity and moderation in all things.

  8. I’ve had a dog for many years. It’s my experience that he doesn’t understand any holiday including the gift giving ones. He appreciates his food on time, water in his dish, a walk when he needs to go out, and a little loving.
    The pet items in the article are wasteful. There are people who need food and warm clothes; schools that need supplies. Make a donation and tell your pet what you have done is his/her honor.

  9. I do make donations to “pet” causes (pun intended) but I also like indulging my baby. There is nothing wrong with that I resent people telling me that there is.

  10. All our cats probably want for Christmas is a public retraction of the recent well-publicized article in Britain’s “New Scientist” in which dogs were rated as superior to cats by a score of 6 distinctions to 5. A great, deadpan funny article, however, for all its slobbering over canine slobberers.

  11. A friend of mine had a dog who ate sausage, eggs, steak, peanuts and anything else my friend would happen to eat. At dinner the two of them looked like Tweedledum and Tweedledog. When the canine reached 9, it puffed up and died, probably of gout or some other disease of the rich.

  12. But, Cathar, you can mention to your cats that cats still remain more popular–in the U.S.–anyway, than dogs as pets. Probably because they are a bit easier to care for.

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