With all the parties, baking, wrapping and running around we do this time of year, it’s easy to forget to have a little something special under the tree for our furry family members. Avoid another panicked Christmas Eve dash to the grocery store pet aisle by planning ahead with these cool ideas – all of which are available at local, independently owned pet stores (and in some cases, at larger box stores and almost always online).
Coats for dogs
We love these stylish Ilkare coats for dogs. They’re made in Raleigh by Christel Ellsberg, a custom tailor who works for Raleigh Denim. The coats are available in different prints (Franny is modeling London Plaid), and the line also includes rain jackets. $35-$45 (rain jackets $25-$35). You can buy them at Phydeaux, which has three Triangle locations, or at ilkare.com.
Cats have to scratch, so give them something that isn’t your sofa. Cardboard scratchers are popular and they come in a range of prices, from around $7 to more than $100 if you get fancy. Imperial Cat has a great selection and they’re sold at both Unleashed, which has five Triangle locations, and Phydeaux stores (and online nando.com/2kxb). If you want a super deluxe scratcher that can double as a tiny piece of cat furniture, check out the Dachsund and Tiger shapes.
Toys! Like kids, animals need to play, and fresh, fun toys are the go-to at gift-giving time. For dogs, choose something tough. No dog toy is indestructible, but West Paw makes some pretty solid toys. They’re widely available, but clerks at Unleashed and Phydeaux tell us if your dog destroys the toy, they’ll exchange it.
For kitty, go with catnip. Look for products that feature organic nip, like in this Funky Feline kicker. Also popular now are toys with a catnip-valarian root combo, like this Hopped Up Harry bird sack. You can find a great selection of toys with all-natural ingredients at both Phydeaux and Unleashed, as well as online.
If your cat’s idea of a good nap involves a warm, snuggly space, check out the Cat Cave by Meow Town. Shaped like the mouth of a jungle cat, this bed is especially nice for smaller cats and kittens. Available at Unleashed stores for $26.99 or online.
For the chickens
A nice splurge for those tiny backyard workhorses that often double as family pets is a super fly chicken coop. These are available from around $200 to over $500. What you spend depends on how many chickens you have – and how cool you want your yard to look. This one by Producer’s Pride ($329) has enclosures to keep the birds safe from predators and a nice beach house vibe. These are harder to find in stores, but can be ordered through Tractor Supply (tractorsupply.com).
If only the very best will do for your pampered pooch, what about these luxury dog collars made by Pittsboro designer Erica Preo? Made of Italian leather, they retail for $265. She donates 10 percent of each sale to a pet rescue charity. If your mutt is more a Regular Joe kind of dog, you can certainly opt for a cheaper collar at a local pet store and donate the difference to your favorite pet charity. pantofola-mia.com.
For the little guys
Habitat enrichment is very important for confined pets like guinea pigs, hamsters and rabbits. They’ll love something like this straw hutch. It’s a fun enclosure (available in a variety of sizes), plus they can chew it, so it’ll keep them occupied. Available widely, but this one came from Pet Supplies Plus in North Raleigh. $22.
Independently owned pet shops
Unleashed has five locations in the Triangle: Lake Boone Shopping Center, 2460 Wycliff Road, Raleigh, 919-858-6460; Stonehenge Market, 7414 Creedmoor Road, Raleigh, 919-521-4963; City Market, 329 Blake St., Raleigh, 919-977-6529; Crabtree Mall, 4325 Glenwood Ave. (Kiosk K2, lower level near Belk), Raleigh, 919-521-0325; and Crescent Commons, 2066 Kildaire Farm Road, Cary, 919-977-1329. More at unleashedmutt.com.
Phydeaux has three locations in the Triangle: 2535 Atlantic Ave., Raleigh, 919-917-7552; 400-A1 S. Elliott Road, Chapel Hill, 919-960-3606; and 6464 Tryon Road, Cary, 919-977-7103. More at phydeauxpets.com.
Pet Supplies Plus: 3074 Wake Forest Road, Raleigh, 919-878-0080. More info at petsuppliesplus.com.