Canine couture big business
National Dress Up Your Pet Day has furry followers
Even though she's part pit bull, Chica looked fetching in her purple polka-dotted frock -- the one with the bow and eyelet trim.
She was celebrating National Dress Up Your Pet Day.
"It's fun. We have a lot of fun with that," said Chica's person, Diana Farrar.
Farrar is top dog at Fifi and Fidos Pet Boutique, 5120 Broadway. She knows canine couture is big business.
Her store is well-stocked with pet apparel like a sassy, hot pink cable knit sweater to college T-shirts and even a wedding dress complete with veil and leash.
"Sometime it's just for fun," Farrar said, "but a lot of times there's a reason for it. A lot of small dogs actually get cold."
Pet parents are indulging their loyal companions more than ever, unleashing a record $51 billion dollars on them last year. About 65 percent of that was for food and vet bills, and $11 billion was for pet products, according to the American Pet Products Association.
And there's good reason for all those treats.
"You have to realize they are probably the only thing in your life that doesn't talk back to you and loves you unconditionally," Farrar said.
At Woof Gang Bakery at Alon Towne Centre, 10003 NW Military Drive, sweaters and doggie apparel were big sellers over the holidays, according to owner Sara Spreen.
"We get probably a daily request for 'bling bling' for dogs," she said.
Her dog Charli just celebrated her third birthday, a shindig complete with party hats and a custom cake. The shop sells custom cakes for dogs.
"There's a huge market for it," she said.
The bakery specializes in fancy-looking treats with flavors like peanut butter, pizza and liver.
"We try to fill every possible palate there is," Spreen said. "'Spoiled' is the key word for anyone who comes into the store."
The market for pet products and pampering is booming, in part, because people view their pets as members of the family.
Andrea Klauer, who was buying goodies for her dogs, said her pets are kind of like her children.
"I mean, I have a child. He counts," she said jokingly. "But he's 14 and he doesn't want to be parented any more and (my dogs) do."
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