The popularity of upscale pet boutiques, dog- and cat-friendly cafes, and even dog chiropractors have confirmed what we have known for a long time — we seriously love our pets. Whether you wish to give your furry friends an extra treat this holiday season or go all out and pamper them, the Bay Area offers plenty of special gifts at every price level.
Gourmet Holiday Dog and Cat Food By Merrick$32–$40 for 24 cans
Merrick claims to not just make pet food, but the "Best Food Ever. For the Best Pet Ever. Yours." The recipes include ingredients such as USDA-inspected meat, and sound like they belong in a mom's recipe book of wholesome holiday feasts. For instance, the "Purrfect Bistro" line of cat food includes Turducken, Surf and Turf, and Beef Wellington. On the dog food end, seasonal recipes include Grammy's Pot Pie, Venison Holiday Stew, and the Forever Home Holiday Recipe, which includes beef, chicken, Yukon gold potatoes, red delicious apples, and peas. Your dog no longer has to drool while he watches you carve a juicy pot roast for the family dinner — nor do you have to slip him something under the table.
Available at Petco, Paws and Claws, Pet Club, and Holistic Hound
Vintage Puppy T-Shirts By Scutte$20–$32
Bay Area photographer and designer Kira Stackhouse began Scutte when she got her first dog, a Boston terrier. As she told DogTipper, Scutte "was born out of the need to find simple, everyday casual clothing for my puppy ... not the novelty, cute, and adorable stuff with ribbons, bows, and studs." She bought a bunch of T-shirts at a thrift shop, and began tailoring them into pup-sized shirts. Stackhouse turns the leftover scraps into cat toys as part of her effort to maintain an eco-friendly business. She also teams up with the San Francisco dog rescue organization, Muttville, to which she donates part of her profits, and has photographed adoptable animals at the Berkeley-East Humane Society. The line features typical 1990s tourist tees from places such as Acapulco and Kauai that you can get for cheap at the airport or while in a shop buying sunscreen. The best pick right now is the vintage Oakland A's shirt for extra small pups, but because the shirts are one of a kind, the store's stock is constantly changing. There are also vintage necktie collars that you can custom-order for a dog that means business.
Available at Scutte.com
Cat Scratch By Suck UK$35
We love it when animals act like humans. The makers of Cat Scratch, a DJ turntable scratch mat for felines are happy to oblige us. As the website notes, "Cats scratch furniture to mark their territory, exercise their muscles, and for sheer pleasure. All similar reasons youths mix music." The scratch resembles a DJ Felix record with a mean-mugging cartoon cat wearing headphones. The turntable itself is dotted with stickers that say "Scratch Til You Itch!" and "RUN DOG" in the same style as the Run-D.M.C. logo. Best of all, the record scratch mat spins as your cat plays, supplying endless entertainment for holiday guests.
Cat Scratch is available online. Other Suck UK pet products, such as the Pet Bow Tie, are available at GEORGE in Berkeley.
Upcycled Desktop Mac Pet Bed By Atomic Attic$109
Finally, we a gift that allows your cat to feel more connected to technology without constantly walking across your keyboard. The upcycled pet hangouts from Oregon-based Atomic Attic's online Etsy shop allows you and your pet to jump on the 1990s nostalgia wagon with a hollowed out candy-hued Macintosh desktop computer that's been upcycled into a pet hangout nook. It also comes complete with a custom cushion for your dog or cat. The shop features other objects repurposed into pet beds, including retro office chairs, suitcases, and televisions. Although they run pricey, the vintage and handmade pet beds last longer and look nicer than the usual ratty shearling cat or dog cushion. For those who prefer to DIY, consider stopping by The East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse for art supplies and Goodwill for a used suitcase or TV to create your own version.
Custom Collars By Paco Collars $50-$225
Nothing says "best friends" like matching accessories. At Paco Collars in Berkeley, you can browse through studded, jeweled, and quality leather collars, as well as matching bracelets and belts for humans. The styles range from leather-and-studs tough to glitzy cowgirl chic, including the especially classy V-neck collars for dogs. The leather itself comes from a single-family's farm in Mexico, but Paco owners say that the leather shouldn't be thought of as delicate or unwearable — dogs are encouraged to be dogs while wearing Paco creations. Custom work is Paco's specialty – you can design your own in person or online.
Available at Paco Collars
GEORGE, 1824 Fourth St., Berkeley, 510-644-1033, GeorgeSF.com
Holistic Hound, 1510 Walnut St, Berkeley, 510-843-2133, HolisticHound.com
Paco Collars, 2905 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, 510-848-7226, PacoCollars.com
Paws n Claws, 3436 Dimond Ave., Oakland, 510-336-0105, PawsNClawsOakland.com
Petco, multiple locations, Petco.com
Pet Club, 3535 Hollis St., Emeryville, 510-595-7955 PetClubStores.com
The East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse, 4695 Telegraph Ave., 510-547-6470, CreativeReuse.org