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Bill Radke: Ticket sales are a little slow for today’s start of the Westminster dog show. It does feel odd fussing over an American Foxhound when American workers are suffering. On the other hand, pampering a pet can seem comforting at a time like this. There are pet hotels, veterinary antidepressants, dog yoga classes, and this from reporter James Nestor in San Francisco.
James Nestor Mitchel Berg is stacking dog perfumes onto cramped shelves at Bow Wow Meow. The manager of this upscale pet store says people find these products useful.
Mitchel Berg Especially if they sleep with their dog, and what have you.
I’ve brought in my 3-year-old rescue mutt, Face, to try out some perfumes.
Berg: You know, you’ve got Harry Barker, Citrus Fragrance, Floral Fragrance. You’ve got Earth Bath, which is a locally made product. And not only does he have numerous fragrances, but he also has wipes.
I sprayed Face with Harry Barker. She tried to twist out of her collar to avoid it. But Berg says the stuff is flying off the shelves. So much so that in 2007, Liz Claibourne’s Juicy Couture released Dog Pawfum, a unisex fragrance sold at major department stores. Other makers followed.
Beth Ehrenberg: Sexy Beast is 100 percent hypo-allergenic, 100 percent vegan fragrance for your dog. It’s really beautiful. I mean, we wear it, so we love it.
That’s Beth Ehrenberg, Brand Manager for Sexy Beast. But Rachel Feigenbaum, a San Francisco vet, argue that some perfumes can be irritating, possibly toxic, and could disorient a dog’s fine sense of smell.
Rachel Feigenbaum: A dog’s aesthetic when it comes to smells is very different from a human aesthetic.
Some dog perfume makers think organics are the answer. George, a San Francisco pet boutique, offers fragrances with chamomile and tea tree oil. Manager Deborah Loews:
Deborah Loews: These ones, this is a really cute line, this is from Lani, and they base their scents on places that dogs, that would be familiar to dogs. So we only carry beach and park. You want to try that one?
Face: Awoooo! Awooo.
Face freaked out and cowered in a corner. I told Deborah, no, I think we’ll head for the real beach.
Nestor: Face, come here!
In San Francisco, this is James Nestor for Marketplace.