At the most wonderful time of the year, the most wonderful furry creatures in our lives are not forgotten.
In fact, according to an AP-Petside.com poll, a little more than half of American pet owners bought gifts for their pets for last year’s holidays, spending an average of $46 on their animals.
Toys and treats top the list, but let’s see what Santa Paws has in store this season.
Hot items Sheila Spitza, president of Wet Nose Inc. who has two dogs and two cats of her own, says certain pet items always sell well.
“During the holiday season we will, of course, sell holiday collars and apparel, but our biggest categories are toys and treats,” she says. “Coats and sweaters sell well, too, but not usually for gifts.”
When visiting the Geneva shop she owns with her husband, Joe, expect quite the selection of individually baked and decorated cookies in addition to toys. The shop specializes in all-natural food and items for dog and cats.
“People can create an assortment, and we’ll bag them in holiday wrap with a pretty red bow … [they’re] great for gifts, and the price point is easy to control.”
The Spitzas, who celebrated their shop’s 10-year anniversary the day after Thanksgiving, suggest pet owners consider some of these hot hit items:
• Bully Sticks (beef tendons): the ones at Wet Nose are hormone-free, free-range, antibiotic-free and odor-free. Bully Sticks cost $3.99 to $6, depending on size. • Apple Honey Paw Print Cookies: soft-baked cookies that smell heavenly (even to humans) and are easily broken into smaller pieces. Apple Honey Bites cost $7.50. • Katie Ortho Bed: available in two sizes and two colors, this bed is perfect for any dog, but particularly older dogs because of the orthopedic foam. “Our Lilly has one and absolutely loves it,” Spitza says. Katie Ortho starts at $285, depending on the size. • Knit Knacks: knitted toys for smaller dogs. Wet Nose offers lots of super cute designs that cost around $10. • Tuffy Red Dragon: a plush toy for both smaller and larger dogs, available in two sizes. This toy is made from Tuff Technology, so it stands up to abuse. Tuffy toys range from $10.50 to $35, depending on size and style. • Tuffy Hydra Dragon: a plush toy also available in two sizes. The larger one has six heads. “[This is] super fun and [a] big seller for us,” Spitza says. • You can’t go wrong with cookies, whether you’re on two legs or four. For the latter, Wet Nose has individual cookies ranging in price from 20 cents to $7.
Other pets Critters Pet Shop has been serving the St. Charles area for 25 years, and owners Mark and Caroline Janczak understand that pets are family.
Their customers like to indulge pets this time of year in everything from a festive treat to a fancy dog bed. Popular gift items include holiday dog collars, new dishes, dog coats, squeak toys and bakery treats.
“One of our best-selling treats is rawhide shaped to look like a candy canes,” Mark Janczak says. “We also have cute plush toys that are shaped like Christmas characters and they are especially made to be pet safe.”
It’s not all about the pups and kitties, though.
The Janczaks’ boxed aquarium kits and small animal set-ups are also good sellers. Mini aquariums or Nano fish tanks can be set up to create a fun miniature underwater world with live fish.
A customer can never go wrong with gift certificates, either.
“These are a great idea for the animal lover so the recipient can choose their own pet or pet products,” Mark Janczak says. kc
Wet Nose Inc. 1510 Commons Drive • Geneva 630-232-7000 www.wetnose.com
Critters Pet Shop 1437 W. Main St. • St. Charles 630-584-0200 www.critterspetshopinc.com