It's that time of year when the cat decides to scale-up the freshly decorated Christmas tree and the family dog rekindles his infatuation with holiday gift wrapping. Regardless of their, shall we say, amusing episodes of curiosity, we'd be hard pressed to leave them a lump of coal in their stockings. Here's a ways to help spread some holiday cheer to your four-legged friends.
Wolf & Lion Pet Supplies (San Francisco)
With a wide array of naturally derived wet and dry foods that cater to nearly every canine and feline, Wolf and Lion Pet Supplies actually is "the biggest little pet shop is San Francisco." Sure, their assortment of organic and whole-meat foods are incomparable, but they also showcase seasonally available novelties from local vendors too. They carry handmade stockings in the shape of dog bones from the Foggy Dog, which are perfect for stuffing with treats and toys. // 2460 Lombard St (Marina), wolfandlionpet.com
Pro Canine Tip: Jerkies are a low-fat, high-protein treat and can also help remove built-up tartar from around your dog's gum line. But be sure to read the labels: More "affordable" jerkies made in China have been known to have toxic chemicals that can wreak havoc on your dog's digestive tract.
Pro Feline Tip: Because cats have thinner, more delicate teeth than dogs, dry foods may not always be ideal. Wet foods and the occasional piece of malleable salmon jerky would be ideal.
Canine Comforts (Oakland)
From Lucky Dogs Barkery treats to laser pointers for your cat, there is little you won't find at Canine Comforts. With an ever-rotating stock of dog-safe plush and BPA-free frisbees, wet and dry treatsfrom respected brands such as Lotus and Taste of The Wild, and all-natural grooming supplies, you'll probably find everything for your fur baby. (They also have a great collection of training collars and harnesses from top-name brands such as Ecollar and Timberwolf for the more rambunctious pup.) // 308 Jackson St # 2 (Oakland), k9comfortsoakland.com
Pro Canine Tip: This is the go-to store for anything and everything harnesses or leashes, active-wear and otherwise. (We recommend investing in one of their soft-fleece running vests if your dog's nylon-strapped harness is causing under arm irritation.)
Pro Feline Tip: Primarily a dog-speciality shop, you won't find a ton of novelties for your feline—but they do have cat essentials such as organically grown catnip and scratch posts made from 100-percent recycled materials.
Paws and Claws (Oakland)
Above any other pet shop in the Bay Area, Paws and Claws is the Toys-R-Us of pet shops with squeakers and plush toys and frisbees as far as the eye can see. (They also carry one of the widest selections of full-bodied fleece and trench coats for dogs.) Since they offer anesthesia-free teeth cleaning for both cats and dogs, it might be worth giving the gift of healthy gums. "We're seeing a lot of positive results from feeding dogs organ-based foods such as lungs and livers," says a team member of Paws and Claws. "We also carry 'bully sticks,' which are great for keeping your dog's teeth clean and free of tartar build up." // 3436 Dimond Ave. (Oakland), pawsandclawsoakland.com
Pro Canine Tip: Grooved treats such as rawhides can help keep tartar buildup under control. However, once it sets, it's notoriously hard to remove; yearly cleanings can do wonders for your dog's bad breath and oral health. (Most Bay Area vets offer both anesthesia-assisted and anesthesia -free cleanings.)
Pro Feline Tip: Cats are far more prone to gum disease and tooth decay than dogs because of their more delicate, clustered teeth, capable of hoarding bits of leftover food for days on end. If your cat's got "kitty breath," it might be time for a cleaning or vet check-up.
Andy's Pet Shop (San Jose)
At Andy's Pet Shop, 100 percent of the animals are for sale, from dogs and cats to snakes and turtles, which have all been either surrendered, rescued, or taken in from the streets. So when you're buying your dog food or cat litter, not only are you supporting American-made brands (which is what the shop primarily stocks), you're also helping fund their adoption center and rehoming costs. // 51 Notre Dame Ave (San Jose), andyspetshop.com
Pro Canine Tip: Small dogs such as dachshunds and toy poodles can benefit greatly from wearing fleece coats and sweaters during cold spells.
Pro Feline Tip: Because of the acrobatic nature of cats, vests, harnesses, and loose-fitting collars can prove to be hazardous.