It is no secret that we love our dogs. Few things are better than walking through the front door and being greeted by a flurry of fur, barking, and unmitigated canine joy. For many dog owners, there is no sight more welcome than their pup’s tail wagging uncontrollably.
Our dogs share in our highest highs and our lowest lows; they revel in our celebration and snuggle in quietly to join our mourning. Often it seems that our most faithful friends are canine. Their joy has the beautiful ability to transfer to their people, and for that, we want to return the favor.
How to Posh up Your Pooch
From a simple scratch behind the ear and a “good boy” to spa weekends and diamond-encrusted collars, people choose to lavish their dogs with love and attention in a myriad of ways. Some dogs feast on the fanciest of fare while others feed on the simplest of kibble.
Grooming can range from the occasional bath to weekly spa visits. Doggy education may consist of housebreaking, obedience classes, or agility training. Some dogs fetch sticks while others chase $20 squeaky toys. All of this care is an expression of the love that humans have for their dogs.
Why Do We Pamper Our Pooches?
This canine bond is nothing new; humans and dogs have shared a special relationship for millennia. The domestication of dogs from their wolf ancestors predates written history. Since those foggy origins, specialized breeds have been developed to serve humans as hunters, cattle herders, and security guards.
Today we even have dogs that help people with diabetes monitor blood sugar and care for those who suffer from epileptic seizures. While practical services may help dogs “earn their keep”, we don’t treat our pups like servants; we treat them like they are our own human children.
No single species cares for another quite the way that humans care for dogs. Why on earth do we do this? The answer lies in psychology. It’s not merely that their goofy panting smiles and joyfully wagging tails make us happy, it’s that they change our brain chemistry.
Scientific studies have shown that looking into your dog’s eyes can actually trigger a release of oxytocin, a hormone that results in bonding between mothers and their children. This means the term “fur baby” is no longer just quirky slang from obsessed “dog moms”; it may actually be approaching bonafide scientific jargon.
While brain chemistry definitely plays a role in the creation of posh pooches, it would be a mistake not to consider social trends as a cause of the phenomenon. We have a history of loving our pets, but this love seems to have grown in recent years. It may be difficult to imagine our depression-era grandparents fawning over a dog the way we do now. Their generation largely did not have the resources to lavish on their pets that many people have today.
One interesting cultural trend that dogs have leashed onto is the subscription box. With subscriptions that deliver clothing, nerd gear, and meat, it should be no surprise that there are also boxes for dog food, treats, and toys. The most popular dog subscription seems to be Barkbox, a totally customizable box of themed toys and treats that delivers straight to your door every month. This could well be a distinguishing mark between your posh pooches and common canines.
Not only do individuals have increased pet budgets, but governments do as well. Consider the fact that “dog park” is now a commonplace part of our vocabulary. City and county governments now play a role in spoiling our dogs for us. Common features in these dog parks are open fields, walking trails, and designated areas for different sized pets. Some dog parks go above and beyond this standard with doggy play equipment, swimming pools, and splash pads.
Our dogs endure or enjoy diets that are nearly as varied as humans with the present plethora of ways to care for our pooches and an incomprehensible range of price and quality. While the wealthy of our species may regularly dine in restaurants adorned with Michelin stars, those with fewer resources may celebrate with a fast-food burger. But what about our dogs?
It seems that the fare standard for most pups is dry kibble. From a human perspective, this is a less-than-appetizing prospect. As a result, those who are raising posh pooches may choose to upgrade their dog’s food in a variety of ways. One option that is growing in popularity is organic dog food. Organic kibble may be a nice distinction in the human’s eyes, but what about the dog’s enjoyment? Canned wet food seems to be a little closer to the raw juicy meat that dogs crave, and tends to be a little more expensive than dry food.
As we continue up the scale, a popular option for more well-to-do woofers is fresh food. This food must be refrigerated and will generally cost significantly more than dry food. Freeze-dried raw food such as Stella and Chewy’s is loved by dogs but can cost nearly $50 for less than two pounds. The top of this dog pile, however, is human-grade food. “Why should my fur baby eat food that is not suitable for human consumption?” Well, your fur baby no longer has to, so long as you can pay.
Mealtime is one thing, but dessert is a whole other ball game. We all know about the basic biscuits, the rawhides, and the dental chews, but what about next-level treating? You may drive through Starbucks with your dog and ask for a puppuccino, a small cup of whipped cream for your good boy to enjoy. You may also try a bakery. Many bakeries now include treats made especially for our canine friends that are also safe for human consumption.
If you are truly willing to splurge on indulgences for your princely pup, you may look into some top-tier treats. Bonne et Filou dog macarons are delightfully tempting even to the human eye and selling at about $64 for a box of 18. This price may seem outlandish until one is aware of the Kobe beef and truffle oil jerky treats from Organic Pet Boutique. These tasty tidbits will set your pup back about $1,000 for only eight ounces.
Lassie, Old Yeller, and Toto achieved fame as fictional pups portrayed by real doggos, but dog fame has taken an interesting turn in recent years. Social media has allowed ordinary dogs to become world-famous without starring in a TV series or feature-length film. Jiffpom, an incredibly fluffy Pomeranian who was featured in Katy Perry’s music video “Dark Horse” currently has 10.3 million followers on Instagram.
Social-media-savvy dog owners have humanized their dogs not only for themselves but also for the world and have turned their pup’s cuteness into profit. Doug the Pug had tapped into the nation’s Pug craze by posting pictures dressed up in cute costumes or going about daily life and has earned 4 million Instagram followers. As a result, Doug now earns nearly half a million dollars a year.
Love Your Pup
What distinguishes between a posh pooch and a common canine? Is it whether they crunch on kibble or howl for homemade dinners? Or is it whether they are treated with a spoonful of peanut butter or delicacies at a price that might make royalty wince? Chances are, you love your dog as much as they surely love you, and this may just be the measure of a truly lucky dog.