22 Dec 2018

Christmas goes to the dogs with pet-pampering spending spike

3:04 pm on 22 December 2018

Christmas has gone to the dogs and cats seemingly as more and more people are making their furry companions part of their Christmas celebrations.

Pet dogs Christmas

Kim Maiden says Christmas is just as festive for the furry babies. Photo: Supplied

Trade Me have seen an upsurge in people selling pet toys and other animal goodies in the lead up to Christmas.

And businesses like pet shops and doggy daycares are getting on board with the growing business too.

At Paws in the City doggie daycare in Wellington, Christmas is a very special time of year.

Manager Kim Maiden said they gave all their dogs wrapped gifts, a tradition they called Santa Paws.

And the pets they groom also got an extra festive flair.

"We have a bichon frise that comes in that has her mohawk coloured in and this year she's going to be red and white like a candy cane," she said.

Ms Maiden said a lot of owners did things for their pets at home for Christmas, so they appreciated the effort from staff at the daycare.

But it could be tough getting the right gift.

puppy christmas French Bulldog

Christmas time is also seeing an increase in the number of purchases for pet toys online. Photo: 123rf

Dog owner Jessica Williams said it was not always easy buying a gift for her greyhound Meg.

"One year we mistook her interest in a squeaky rubber chicken in the park as being that she really likes it so we bought her a rubber chicken and she hates it!

"It was that same sense of 'oh I'm so sorry' when you buy someone a gift and they really don't like it," she said.

Trade Me figures showed there had been a 56 percent rise in people selling pet toys in November in the lead up to Christmas compared to last year.

In November, Trade Me saw a 17 per cent increase in the number of pet toys sales when compared to September.

Spokesperson Millie Silvester said it didn't look to be a passing fad either.

"Looking back in the past three years, we've seen a real solid increase in the number of purchases for pet toys particularly in that really busy Christmas season, so I think this trend is set to stay, she said.

But it's not just online sellers who are making money from pet Christmas presents.

Director of The Pet Centre stores Jane Dee said the week before Christmas was their busiest time of the year.

"There are a lot of pet owners that don't necessarily shop pet speciality, perhaps they shop at the supermarket, but they will venture into a pet store just that one time leading up to Christmas because they might be able to get something a bit different," she said.

Ms Dee said the baby boomer generation whose kids have all left home are usually more inclined to spend on their pets.

"It's not just on stuff for the pet either, we're really busy in our dog grooming room, and it's been booked for a couple of months."

"There's people thinking, not only do they get their own hair and nails done for the lead up to Christmas - they want the dog to look good as well," she said.

Jane Dee said the likely reason behind the growing trend was that people were seeing their pets as members of the family more than ever.

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