Owners prepare for pet-friendly holidays

Owners prepare for pet-friendly holidaysDogs prodding around under the Christmas tree this year should not be surprised if a few presents squeak to their delight. An Associated Press-Petside.com poll shows that more animal owners this year are planning to buy their pets holiday gifts.

According to the recent poll, a total of 52 percent of pet owners plan to buy their animals a holiday gift, representing a 9 percent increase from last year. Nearly 60 percent of dog owners and 40 percent of cat owners will visit the pet stores for the perfect present in the next month, the Associated Press reports.

The idea of gifts as a part of pet care comes naturally to Debra Jenson, who owns a Labrador and a German shepherd-Siberian Husky mix.

"The dogs are our only children. I love my babies," Jensen, of Tulsa, Oklahoma, told the news source. This year, her pups can count on leftover ham, among other holiday treats.

According to the AP survey, owning pets changes how families prepare for the holidays in more ways than one. Erica Peterson is among the 59 percent of pet owners who consider their animals before picking out decorations – no cranberries, popcorn or gingerbread men will adorn her tree this year.

According to the American Humane Association, a total of 40 percent of dog owners and 37 percent of cat owners hang Christmas stockings for their pets.ADNFCR-2720-ID-19477542-ADNFCR

As New Orleans Saints win, so do local pet stores

As New Orleans Saints win, so do local pet storesWith the New Orleans Saints sitting atop the National Football League’s leader board with an undefeated record, Saint Bernards aren’t the only dogs rooting for the sacred-named football team.

Pet shops around Louisiana are claiming that the success of the New Orleans Saints is drawing pet owners into stores and helping merchandise fly off the shelves, WDSU reports.

"We can’t even keep [Saints gear] in stock," Sharon Collitt, owner of the French Quarter Pet Asylum, told the news source. "People are flying in here. They want to buy our tee shirts and collars for all their dogs, big and small."

As football fans continue to dress their pets in black and gold this season, Collitt said that the sale of New Orleans Saints pet gear has gone up 100 percent, giving pet shop owners another reason to cheer on their team each Sunday. Last year the team finished with an 8-8 record.

On Monday night, Saints fans and their dogs will be howling for their team to beat the New England Patriots, the last NFL team to finish a season undefeated. The game will be played in New Orleans.ADNFCR-2720-ID-19477543-ADNFCR

Pet-sitters prepare for non-traditional holidays

Pet-sitters prepare for non-traditional holidaysThe holiday season isn’t all stockings and treats for household pets. Winter vacations mean that many animals across the nation will be spending the season in kennels and foster homes, bringing in big business for pet sitters.

"We get really crazy. During Thanksgiving last year we had 219 dogs and something like 16 cats – and a bird," Indiana kennel manager Pam Hardebeck told the Lafayette Journal and Courier.

So far, Hardebeck has 161 dogs signed up to stay at her boarding facility over Thanksgiving weekend, though the manager attributes the decrease in numbers to procrastination, rather than economic woes.

An interesting alternative to kennels like Hardebeck’s, the Lafayette, Indiana business, Critter-sitters, run by Tracy Walder, provides in-home pet care for owners who wish to leave their animals in the comfort of their home.

With a business like Critter-sitters, the holidays take on a unique meaning for Walder and her family. The owner told the news source, "Most of our family members understand that from about the 20th of November to the 10th of January we’re unavailable."

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the companion pet population, which drives employment of animal caretakers in kennels, grooming shops and animal shelters is expected to increase until 2016.ADNFCR-2720-ID-19477548-ADNFCR

Holiday shoppers make list for family pets

Holiday shoppers make list for family petsSome proud pet owners are likely to know about Petsintouch.com – an online social network that connects owners, allowing them share advice, pictures and videos. However, even these affiliated animal lovers may not know about the websites newest feature, which lets browsers shop for their pets at more than 70 nationwide pet care retail partners.

According to the Human-Animal Bond Survey by The Hartz Mountain Corp, about 75 percent of pet owners consider their animal to be a member of the family. As the holiday season approaches, many will be looking for a treat for their dog or cat that they can put under the tree.

While these animals may end up having more fun with the wrapping paper, Petsintouch will likely give buyers some great gift ideas to help spread holiday cheer to the family’s four-legged members.

"The concept was to create a one stop destination that will provide members with a full shopping experience," said Vanessa Serrano, the website’s managing director.

She added, "The new petmall is basically the destination for thousands of products for all of Petsintouch.com’s eight pet categories."

According to Pet Age Magazine, the average animal owner spent about $38 per transaction in pet stores in 2006.

Pet store sweep aims to protect holiday shoppers

Pet store sweep aims to protect holiday shoppersJust in time to accommodate holiday-shopper traffic, the Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services (FACS) has announced it will conduct a thorough review of state pet stores until the end of the year to ensure that consumer protection regulations are being met.

Primarily, the FACS will be checking to ensure that retailers are meeting the requirements of a state statute which mandates that dogs and cats must be at least eight weeks old when put up for sale, First Coast News reports.

In addition, to ensure high quality pet health, all animals sold must be accompanied by a Florida certificate signed by a licensed veterinarian, which documents vaccinations, tests and treatments.

"It’s important to do business with a reputable pet store or dealer who knows and follows the law to avoid problems after a purchase of an animal," FACS commissioner Charles Bronson told the news source.

Under state ordinances, buyers have 14 days to return or exchange any pet if a veterinarian finds it has a health problem.

According to Bronson, the FACS has secured nearly $80,000 in restitution over the past four years for people who have been sold unhealthy pets.

The American Pet Products Association estimates that $45.5 billion will be spent on pets in the U.S. in 2009.

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