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Dogs Get a Leg Up on Holiday Spending


A dog named Kitty has to cover all the bases, which is why she's decked out for Christmas, while chewing on a doggy version of a menorah.

Americans are on track to spend $60 billion on their pets this year, according to Pet Supplies Plus, a brick-and-mortar franchise based in Livonia, Michigan. Of course, some of that money is spent taking care of a pet’s hygiene— such as poop bags and bags of cat litter— and another healthy chunk goes toward feeding them, when they’re not too full from stealing food off counter tops or inside refrigerators.

And just so you don’t think I’m exaggerating about that last part, Frank Martin, director of CRM & analytics at Pet Supplies Plus, found his cat Max napping inside the refrigerator after polishing off the leftover turkey from Thanksgiving. Let’s hope Martin used his employee discount to buy Max a catnip toy to counteract all that tryptophan, and that he also has a dog who could loan Max his sweater to warm him up.

The holidays’ colder weather has always provided pet owners with the perfect excuse to dress up their dogs— once Halloween is over. While most guardians go for utilitarian sweaters, one website boasts the perfect holiday gift for Fido is the faux fur coat. Remember when dogs were content to wear their real fur coats? And really, only the most fanatical PETA member would throw red paint on a dog.

No surprise that our pets, like our other family members, make the top of our shopping list. The average shopper in 2014 spent $30 on their pet at Christmas, according to the American Pet Products Association. There’s no shortage of Christmas and Chanukah squeak toys out there, not to mention high-end attire as well.  But for some pets the reason for season is enough reward. A Maltipoo (a cross between a Maltese and a toy poodle) belonging to Spencer English, Pets Supplies Plus’ event marketing specialist, abandons his own bed every year when the family's nativity is put out, so he can sleep next to the manger to guard the baby Jesus. Once the nativity is packed away, Luca’s watch is over and he returns to his own bed.

Pet Supplies Plus employees had other stories to share as well, such as the dog who drank all the water out of the Christmas tree stand (it was the husky’s green pee that busted him) and Kelsey the puppy who liked to polish off all the adult beverages left over after the guests went home.

Because most guardians instinctively know what to buy their pets, I turned down an opportunity to interview an expert for tips on buying the perfect gift that wouldn’t “harm” or “scare” pets. But my online research did lead me to the perfect gift for my grandchildren who are getting a puppy for Christmas: “Doggie Doo—The Famous Dog Poop Game,” that teaches kids how to clean up after a toy dog in the hopes that the knowledge translates to the real deal. The jury is still out on that one.


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The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is senior editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at




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