With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, there’s ample opportunity to pamper our furry wonders. We all love our pets–or we wouldn’t have ‘em. I’m all for spoiling dogs and cats, within reason–and when it doesn’t cause other problems.
My dog gets a bit of people food now and then. He’s even allowed on the sofa, and receives far too many doggy toys to count, despite disemboweling the squeakers in record time. . .
Oh, who am I kidding! He gets a LOT of people food (he loves broccoli), the end of the couch is his spot, and he usually beats me to bed in the evening.
The cat also gets his share of lap snuggles, on demand. He also enjoys treats from my plate, especially lean meat and fish. And I found a deep blue leash that matches his stunning eyes for the ultimate in fashionable pampering.
There’s reason behind some pet products. I have no problem with folks dressing up collars and leashes with colorful patterns. Some pets actually benefit from wearing sweaters to keep them warm in frigid temperatures–check out these cold weather tips–or protected from sunburn pain. Special treats that don’t upset the digestion or proper nutrition can help with bonding and training. Heated pet beds ease doggy arthritis, and water fountains encourage kitties to drink and reduce problems with urinary concerns. Heck, even painting the dog (or cat’s) toenails is a harmless indulgence, and those colorful nail covers like SoftPaws actually prevent clawing and digging.
Too Much of…Everything?
One obvious example of going too far is treats. We’re loving our pets to death and creating fat cats and dumpy dogs. That predisposes them to all the same health problems that overweight owners risk–arthritis, diabetes and more.
But what about fun products? Can a dog or cat have too many toys? DON’T ask the pets, you know what they’ll answer. 🙂
I receive an enormous number of press releases either in the regular mail or via the Internet. They promote everything from kitty bling to doggy tuxedos–what else should the pampered pet wear to a wedding, right? They also offer all kinds of cat and dog toys that frankly appeal more to the human than the furry consumer. Heck, I’d wear some of that pet jewelry, if it came in my size! *ahem*
A couple of years ago I got a pitch for a Father’s Day gift that appeal to both the fur-kids and Dad. These include the “doggy driver” golf clubs that loft dog balls into the air to chase (“practice your swing and delight your dog”); baseball bats that do the same thing, and slingshot-like mechanisms able to launch balls and toys 220+ feet. I have to say the idea of swinging a club for the dog to chase a ball scares me when I think of any dog trying to grab the club and getting wacked in the teeth.
Pet Purses, Oh My
On the other side of macho appeal, you get the “cutesy-diva-fashion” appeal. Harmless, right? Well I had an “oh-my-heavens!” moment when I got a promotion for a “puppy purse of the month” club.
I’m not making this up.
It’s designed for the smaller “portable” size dogs (or even cats). You strap the pet into the little designer sack so his feet dangle through the holes. He has a “purse handle” attached on his back, or a longer strap for over-the-shoulder portability. That’s right, this product turns your pet into a fashion accessory. The owner can then carry the pet over a shoulder like a living, breathing briefcase and the pet’s fuzzy feet never touch the ground. The puppy purse product line comes in all sorts of fabric and patterns.
Just shoot me.
There is so much wrong with this, I don’t know where to begin. I’m appalled.
Pets On the Go
Certainly pets may enjoy going places with you. Maybe an ill or injured pet (as described in the product benefits) might be conveniently toted with one of these. And I’ll agree there are benefits to keeping the small dogs safe and out from under our feet (or within bite-range of larger dogs). I do have a pet stroller to keep my cat safe while enjoying the outdoors. However, more small dogs get bitten and attacked by larger dogs when dangled from the arms of a fearful owner.
More than that, dogs and cats are living, breathing, thinking creatures. You don’t turn them into luggage! If you take a look at some of these doggy models, their body language reads anything but delighted–and pampering and spoiling should be something the pet likes. I can only imagine the nasty comments my cat Seren might make if presented with one of these outfits.
Give ‘em toys, for sure. Lavish attention, absolutely. Dress yourself up and accessorize with jewelry et al. But when pampering transforms our pets into mere fashion statements, I gotta draw a line in the kitty litter. Give me a break!
What “oh-my-doG” kinds of pet products raise your hackles? Am I all wet about the puppy purses? What do you think?
I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book giveaways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!
Amy Shojai, CABC is a certified cat & dog behavior consultant, a consultant to the pet industry, and the award-winning author of 35+ pet-centric books and Thrillers with Bite! Oh, and she loves bling!