Pampered Pooches

Fast Lane

Deck out your dog in the latest canine chic

People aren’t the only creatures on this planet who like to look good, feel stylish and wear the latest fashions. Dogs take pride in their appearance as well. Okay, maybe it’s the pooches’ parents who reach for the knitted sweater or leather jacket every time they go to the park. Either way, there are a plethora of pet products out there to pamper your best friend.

Valerie Petrášová runs puppia.cz and Luxury Dog. The website is the sole distributor of the Puppia brand in the Czech and Slovak Republic, while Luxury Dog offers two “dog corners” in existing shops; one in Prague, the second in Karlovy Vary. They also sell Italian designed For Pets Only, as well as Wetnoz and Jeffo products locally. Started back in 2005, Petrášová saw a gaping hole in the pet product market.

“I have a dog, all my friends and family have dogs and we thought these kinds of products were missing here,” she explains. “They wanted something special for their dogs.”

Who exactly are Petrášová’s “clients?” The majority of dogs are less than five kilograms; Yorkshire Terriers and Chihuahuas are the most popular breeds, with Maltese, Pugs and Shistu’s frequents shoppers as well. Their parents tend to be middle to upper middle-class, people “who really love their dogs and want the best for them,” says Petrášová. They tend to be either childless or empty nesters and roughly half are single and half are couples. One satisfied Luxury Dog customer is Adéla Krecková. Her Yorkshire Terrier Amy and Chihuahua Chiquita are probably two of the most decked-out dogs in Prague.

“I have for my girls from the Puppia brand sweaters, hoods, winter ski jumpers, collars and beds,” she says. “From For Pets Only I have t-shirts, jean dresses, hoods, collars and a twin lead.”

This may sound excessive, but Amy and Chiquita seem to enjoy the modeling.

“My girls are used to wearing clothes even during the summer – the skirts and summer t-shirts,” Krecková says. “And during the winter they are almost happy they have a nice warm outfit to wear, or they are shaking all the time.”

The company started offering the Puppia brand for their good quality and stylish designs Petrášová says. They offered a complete portfolio to start with.

“Clothes, collars, leashes, beds and bags,” she says. “From the beginning we offered all these items.”

The company soon branched out, adding the even higher-end For Pets Only and has followed that up this year with Jeffo’s, a German treat maker and Wetnoz, an American designer of food and drink bowls.

“Wetnoz is very special,” Petrášová says. “They’ve gotten quite a few design awards for their work; it’s good for people with a modern style interior.”

Really, these bowls could double as candy bowls or votive candle holders in many homes. And it seems the Italians put just as much design and effort into their pet fashions as their human ones. For Pets Only is hand-stitched, and often decorated with Swavorski crystals; your pet will be better dressed then you.

“Some of the stuff is a bit too much,” Petrášová admits. “But it is comfortable for the dogs and the owners are happy.”

For Pets Only does have quite a few unbelievable items, including perfume, pet bags that look more like purses and a “spoil me” bedroom set offering wooden hangers for their outfits, a wardrobe to hang them in and matching bed. Krecková owns these items too.

“Some people might think I’m crazy, but it’s very useful to have a wardrobe for the dogs, if they have so many things like mine do,” she smiles.

The For Pets Only creativity is there too for the more typical pet items such as collars and ID tags.

“This is what I like about this brand,” says Petrášová. “They take normal items and make them special.”

And what will the fashionable canine be wearing this winter?

“Knitted striped sweaters should be popular, and they have matching hats and scarves,” Petrášová predicts. “For Pets Only is going to be introducing a cashmere sweater this year, so that should be popular too.

And if your pet is the patient type, suit him up in a Santa coat, hat and scarf – perfect for the holiday picture card. But even if you don’t have a dog yourself, you can still indulge in these goodies: they make perfect gifts for your pet-mad friends.

“If you know the dog and the person well, and have the dog’s measurements I can recommend something very personal,” says Petrášová. “If you want it to be a surprise, a bed or bag is a good choice if you know the breed, or a new food bowl, ID tag or special treat.”

“It’s a popular present,” she adds. “Many people don’t know what to give as a gift, especially if the person has everything, but it’s always a good choice if you choose something for their pet.”

Whether the pet would agree is better left unsaid.