REX AND THE CITY
Urban accessories for downtown dogs and cats
By Peggy Scott
Copley News Service
They don't drink Cosmos, and they only care about Manolo Blahniks as chew toys, but pets are rapidly becoming just as urban as those four party-animal gals often associated with city living. As more high-rise condominiums go up, so does the number of chic critters who call downtown home.
And just like their human counterparts, urban pets have a style that's unique. While a pooch in the suburbs may be content with a casual nylon collar, city-centered canines - and their people - want more.
"People tend to dress up more downtown, and so do the dogs," explained Buffy Moore, manager of Dogs and the City Daycare and Spa in downtown San Diego. "There's even a doggie happy hour at the W Hotel on the last Tuesday of the month, and the dogs have to have nice outfits to wear."
Dogs and the City offers urban pooches a chance to romp in a safe environment while their pet parents are at work. Services range from day care at $36 per day (discounts for multi-dog families), to grooming, overnight boarding and spa services. The retail section carries high-quality foods, accessories, doggie mood music on CD, and a selection of canine clothing for every occasion.
"It is all about the bling," agreed Carl Gustafson, co-owner of Tag for Dogs and Cats, a pet boutique in San Diego's oh-so-trendy Hillcrest neighborhood. "The dressiness factor is huge - you need good-quality collars, and stylish clothes area must for the urban dog.
"A lot of people who live in the city also work and play in the city. They take their dogs with them - urban dogs go to a lot of parties, even weddings. They have to have the right attire."
Jessica Digges, manager of Lucky Dog Pet Boutique in San Diego, said downtown pets "need things that keep them safe and healthy in this nvironment."
"A high-quality food keeps their immune systems up, and things that let their people take all the necessities with them keep them comfortable."
Here are a few things city dwellers may want to pick up for their nonhuman companions. And speaking of picking up, don't forget the poop bags. As Digges is quick to point out, leaving behind more than paw prints on a city street is a good way to earn yourself a ticket - not to mention the ire of the downtown community.
TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS
When you gotta go, you gotta go, but a bathroom break can be quite inconvenient if it's the middle of the night and you're 10 stories up.
There are a couple of ingenious items on the market to help with the problem. UGODOG, a plastic grate-top device, has a tray that you line with newspaper or potty pads, and your dog is good to go; $49.95.
For a more "natural" relief station, Cosmopolitan Canine's Penthouse Potty is a 42-by-42-inch faux grass "yard" in a sturdy wooden frame suitable for indoors or on a patio or balcony. A drainage tray and catch pan make cleanup a snap; $429.
HAVE DOG, WILL TRAVEL
The Original Pet PawKit keeps dogs and their owners organized. Measuring 10-by-8-by-6 inches, the PawKit features seven labeled pockets for a leash, water bottle, bowl, toys, cleanup bags, towel and treats.
A custom loop on the outside can hold a Chuck It ball launcher, and a snap hook keeps keys, extra toys, etc. There's even room inside for items like cell phone and wallet. The large version switches to a backpack; $44.50.
We haven't forgotten kitty condo dwellers. Cat trees and self-cleaning litter boxes certainly help make living in close quarters easier for felines and their families. And the Chiapod cat scratcher makes it more fun. The Chiapod has an irresistibly scratchable surface, and the eased concave shape fits a cat's form while the convex underside allows subtle movement. Fluffy won't know which feature to go after first; $189.
CARE FOR A SIP?
Unless your dog has mastered the sports bottle, a drink on the go can get messy. The Water Rover offers a water bottle attached to a drinking bowl big enough for larger lappers; $11.95 to $17.95.
GOING ON THE GO
When you and Fido are out and about, a supply of pickup bags is a must. Bon Tons, a bone-shaped dispenser filled with a roll of cleanup bags, is particularly handy because it attaches to a belt loop or leash; $7.95.
PUPPY'S GOT A BRAND NEW BAG
Pet carriers, featuring ultra-posh names like Juicy Couture, can cost from around $100 to upward of $950. Most are designed in a way that challenges the casual observer to identify the piece as a doggie carrier rather than high-end luggage.
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