Bad dogs will have to fetch lumps of coal, with this floatable orb from Orbee-Tuff, at Bad Dog Frida and Tabby & Jack's.
Pet lovers are not going to let that most important member of the family go giftless. The furred set will be happy with any old toy or treat, but why settle for a Nylabone at the most wonderful time of the year?
Dogs can get very involved with the celebrations, and some become unfortunately interactive with the tree, as evidenced in the illustrated tale of the well-intentioned but hapless Baron von Jingles in The Dog Days of Christmas (by Judith Rogala, illustrated by former Isthmus art director Paul Stroede), sized to fit in a Christmas stocking (baronvonjingles.com, $12).
Bad Dog Frida has plenty of holly jolly toys to keep your curious mutt occupied well away from the tree. Try a stuffed, squeaky Santa or reindeer (Harry Barker, $12) or a plush dragon Santa (goDog, $11). Dogs can look stylish at the party no matter what holiday is being celebrated with a perky snowman collar (Up Country, $20 and up). Or splurge on holiday motif dog cookies made with cage-free eggs, natural peanut butter and free-range chicken (Bubba Rose, $12).
Holiday cat toys are harder to come by. Nutzy Mutz & Crazy Catz stocks the Holiday Santa Moose Catnip Toy, with a reusable pocket that holds fresh catnip (Kong, $6). A snowman that squeaks like a mouse and lights up with two LED lights should prove distracting, too (Play-N-Squeak, $6). Still, the focus is on dogs -- the Wubba rope toy is red and green, for the season (Kong, $10); a soft elf or Rudolf toy that comes loaded with five (!) squeakers may or may not be a good idea (HuggleHounds, $15). A gingerbread man cookie with, it says, gingerbread flavor (Buddy Biscuits, $3) is a safer choice.
At Tabby & Jack's, plush and even sequined red Santa hats for dogs (Aria, $4-$6) are just the start of dressing up. A reindeer coat (costume?) complete with a hoodie adorned with antlers and a red nose that sports the slogan "Santa's Other Reindeer" (Casual Canine, $20). More practical garb takes a step away from the holidays, but is also seasonal, in a way: Green Bay Packer and Wisconsin Badger coats that will stand up to a Wisconsin winter (Allstar Dogs, $37). Draw your own conclusions about the human-sized t-shirts that say "I kissed a dog and I liked it" ($37).
And if you have pet-lovers-who-already-have-everything on your list, I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest they'll be just as happy to receive a pet gift that they can immediately re-gift -- to their pet.
Bad Dog Frida
2094 Atwood Ave.; 608-442-6868
Nutzy Mutz & Crazy Catz
330 W Lakeside St.; 608-256-3647
Tabby & Jack's
2970 Cahill Main, Fitchburg; 608-277-5900
6925 University Ave., Middleton; 608-841-1133