Owners include pets in holiday fun with treats, toys, photos

Whether they’re naughty or cute, nearly 100 pets with their parents introduced the pets this month for their photo shoot with Santa in Greensburg.

The one-day event represents a 40% increase over similar photo sessions held in the pre-pandemic years at Petagogy’s pet store.

“We usually do 60 to 80 sessions,” said Ben Huber of Hempfield, one of the shop owners.

The store’s Shadyside location has attracted nearly 150 owners and their pets, on par with previous years.

It’s a sign of how much dogs, cats, and other non-human companions are valued and how owners express that devotion to the holidays, especially when so many people are spending more time at home during the pandemic.

“During the pandemic, we have seen an influx of new pet owners from the area,” Huber said. “Many of them seem to make their pets full members of the family.”

One can only speculate which area the pets have been begging for during their visit with Santa, but it is clear that the owners are willing to fulfill their wishes for Rover and Morris with seasonal toys and games.

About 78% of dog owners and 72% of cat owners buy special holiday gifts or treats for their pets, according to a 2019 report from market research firm Packaged Facts.

Rover.com polled 1,000 dog owners in the US and found that 89% plan to gift their pets this year — 75% of that group are seeking gifts online and 18% plan to give homemade gifts.

Men (92%) are more likely to give gifts to dogs than women (84%). The survey also found that 63% of owners plan to bring their dogs on their vacation trips.

The Paws on Main pet store in Ligonier will join in the holiday photo fun, inviting pets to pose for their Santa photo on December 12.

“We sell a lot of stuffed animals, squeaky toys, and pull toys,” said staff member April Kinzler. “They are very detailed and different for the holidays. There are the ones with Christmas logs and Santa Claus and chimneys.”

Kinzler also offers crafts, including ornaments that feature pictures of dogs and wreaths in the form of paw prints.

Millennials — people born between 1981 and the mid-1990s — brag a lot about their pets for the holidays, spending an average of $51, according to a 2020 survey by statista.com.

Gen Z members (born between 1997 and 2012) are $1 late, at $50, followed by Gen X (born between 1965-80), at $41. Baby boomers (who were born between 1946-1964) are a little stinger, allocating $28 to helping their pets celebrate the season.

In addition to candy and stuffed toys, other popular options to put under a tree or in stockings for Fido include blankets, jackets, and jackets.

Cat owners can shop for cat fashion or they may cough up cash for more tailored gifts – cozy cat caves or structures that allow their pets to climb and scratch. Interactive toys that pets can pounce on are also popular.

Doting owners can help their cherished canines or cats count down the days until Santa arrives with an advent calendar filled with dog or cat food.

Gretchen Kuhns of Hempfield was busy baking cookies with holiday decorations to sell to fellow dog owners. Its most famous dishes are peanut butter and bacon flavors.

But she does not neglect her pets. She gets balls for her dogs to play with and orders a variety of gifts for her eight bunnies. “There’s usually some hay, some biscuits, and some rabbit-friendly toys,” she said.

Hopper needs to look no further than his store shelves to find gifts for his two dogs, who are already part of the family. But he leaves the choice to his daughters.

“I let them do all the holiday shopping for the dogs,” he said. “They have three little girls who fill baskets for them.”

Jeff Himmler is a writer for the Tribune Review. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-7622, ​​jhimler@triblive.com, or via Twitter .

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