McKee said “absolutely” pet owners buy gifts for their pets at the holidays.
“Dogs and cats have always been members of the family,” McKee said. “I imagine to a certain extent it started off as a practical consideration. Give the dog or the cat something to do while we are opening presents or having our holiday meal, so a treat or a toy. Probably now, the pets are more part of a family gathering around the holidays.”
“Sometimes the best gift for a pet at the holidays is just companionship and a little something special that is out of the usual,” said McKee, who said the store will sell plenty of holiday cookies that are carob and yogurt frosted for dogs.
He acknowledges that many of the gifts people buy for their pets are really something pet owners are buying to make themselves feel good. The antler hats he sells for dogs probably are worn only once a year for the family Christmas picture.
“One year someone came in, it wasn’t at Christmas time, and they asked, ‘Do you sell costumes for cats?’ And my first inclination, though I bit my tongue, was, ‘Do you really have a cat? Do you think your cat likes to wear a costume?’”
Holiday pet spending by the numbers
Half of all dog owners purchase Christmas gifts for their pets. So do ...
- 36% of cat owners
- 11% of fish owners
- 24% of bird owners
- 28% of small animal owners
- 8% of reptile owners
- 19% of horse owners
Dog owners spend an average of $11 per gift
- Cat owners $8
- Fish owners $23
- Bird owners $12
- Small animal owners $15
- Reptile owners $10
- Horse owners $33
Source: 2013/2014 American Pet Products Association National Pet Owners Survey