March 17 2014 Latest news:
by Amanda Nunn, Senior Reporter
Friday, December 20, 2013
Edible Christmas decorations, catnip advent calendars and a grotto for dogs complete with Santa are just some of the things pampered pets could be sniffing out under the tree this festive season.
Finding the perfect present for your cute canine is enough to send anyone into a tail-wagging spin but we have surveyed what’s hot and what’s not this Christmas.
Whether you’ve got a saucy Siamese cat or a docile Dalmatian, the ideal gift is out there.
Shazia Dar, 42, owner of CatWalk Pets & Aquatics, High Street, Barkingside, said pet presents are bigger and better than ever, with many of her lines already sold out.
“The gifts are better this year than last year,” Shazia said. “The products are better, have brighter packaging and more effort has gone into them.
“It’s just a good laugh and it’s good to give them something to keep them busy.”
She said top sellers include Dreamies cat advent calendars, Rudolph t-shirts and catnip Christmas trees.
Other key trends are the raw buffalo hide Christmas cards for dogs and specially made Christmas cakes, which have a shelf life of three weeks.
“People are busy cooking at Christmas for lots of family or visitors, and animals are left at home or put to one side – but they do need to be entertained,” she said.
“When you go round someone’s house and they have a dog, it’s nice to get something for the dog as well.”
Over at Paw-Fect, in Longwood Gardens, Barkingside, dogs dressed as Santa and Rudolph got to have a quick chat with Father Christmas about their canine Christmas cravings.
Shop owner Stacy Ismael, 44, does the grotto every year as a way of thanking her customers and raising money for charity.
This year she decided to raise money for Cancer Research UK after a number of her customers lost family members to the disease.
“The grotto was bigger and more Christmassy than last year,” she said. “It’s a fun day but mayhem.
People might think it’s silly but as long as the customers enjoy it and we are raising money for charity it’s good. “We put a lot of love into it.”
She said that this year top sellers included Christmas jumpers and Santa hats as well as tiny snowmen socks.
“Many people buy their children a Christmas outfit now and I think people like to just to the same for their dogs.
“It’s just to have something nice to wear at Christmas and pets can’t object where as your kids can.”
Dogs that visited the grotto got to have their photo taken with Santa and got a little present to take home.
“It’s all for fun and the customers have a drink and a mince pie. It’s like taking your kids to a grotto,” she said.
“We do encourage the dogs to dress up and have one customer who really goes to town with her dog. It’s quite a closely guarded secret ever year what it will be.”