‘Ruff’ Life: Chic Dog Trends on the Rise

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By DREW PARKER

Staff Writer

In 2017, dogs are more a part of the American family than ever before. At two local pup-friendly establishments, trends and family fun collide for a chic experience.

Cool Cuts

At Happy Tails Pet Salon in McMechen, staff members focus foremost on health and wellness, but fun is never far behind.

According to owner Terry Lindsey, the salon tends to stick to the basics and focus on healthy coats, but it also caters to each dog’s personal style, even in cases such as a punk rock Shih Tzu.

“We have one dog who comes in each year to get a Mohawk and a fu manchu,” Lindsey said. “He gets it clipped off for part of the year and then grows it back. We just shave the sides of his head and keep the top and then style it. That’s his summer ‘do.”

According to Happy Tails Manager Ethel Brown, dogs costuming themselves as other animals is another craze.

“We recently shaved around one dog’s head for him to look like a lion,” she said. “That’s what the owners wanted.”

Although national fads for dog grooming include hair extensions for ears, appliques for toe nails and vibrant hair dye, Lindsey said the most important “trend” is fur and skin health.

“Collies, huskies and the Great Pyrenees are just some of the most popular dogs with heavy coats that are high maintenance, and unfortunately most people don’t realize it,” Lindsey said. “The biggest thing is for people to work on them at home more often. You can bring your dog in as often as once a month, but if you don’t brush them at home, they can get matting. Home upkeep is key.”

Posh Pups

To Peggy Riccadonna, pet fashion is a lifestyle. Last year, she gave up her former trade as a dental hygienist to run St. Clairsville’s trendiest animal spot, The Snotty Pooch Stylish Pet Boutique, located at 115 E. Main Street. And yes, she means snotty.

“The name came from my 6-year-old Shih Tzu, Bella, because she’s a little snotty pooch. We have a lot of haters on my name and a lot of people don’t like it, but that’s the reasoning behind it,” Riccadonna said. “She was just a little snot nosed brat and we named it.”

Appropriately matching Bella’s style, along with that of her fur siblings, Levi the Shih Tzu and Lula the English Bulldog, the store offers highly fashionionable outfits, accessories, perfumes and more for stylish dogs and cats.

“It’s very affordable and unique with accessories for your pet, but it’s also family fun,” she said. “We do free pictures with purchase and serve dogs from 2 pounds to 200 pounds. It’s just a positive atmosphere for your family and fur baby.”

Riccadonna’s best sellers include dresses with matching leashes, life jackets, birthday attire, biker jackets, animal strollers, licensed NFL dog jerseys, cat condos, healthy treats and the very popular Adidog athletic outfits.

The store also offers a “Mommy and me” photo station for pet owners and their dogs and cats, along with personalized “talking” pet videos for Facebook.

“I personally don’t have children and I think for a lot of couples today without children, their dogs become their kids and we treat them just like they’re our children,” she said. “It’s fun to come to work. I look forward to seeing the dogs, watching them grow and seeing the families get a new puppy.”

She added upscale pet outfits are no longer considered inappropriate in modern society.

“It’s no longer considered ignorant to dress your dog,” she said. “Strollers are very trendy now. I think before you were looked at like you were crazy.”

Other hot trends

Although kale smoothies and quinoa may seem marketed for the two-legged, sales forecasts show that Fido may be taking clean eating for a spin as well. Many pet parents are opting for holistic dog and cat food brands, organic grooming products like facials and natural flea and tick repellents to reduce carbon paw prints.

For the very in vogue pup, upscale spa services like paw-nicures, massage and even pet-friendly Reiki are on the rise.

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