Christmas may not be much of a religious holiday in Japan – there aren’t all that many Christians in this Asian country – but, by golly, that doesn’t stop Japanese pet parents from going all out to lavish their furry loved ones with holiday treats. Of course, the Japanese are famous for pampering their dogs and cats all year round, so the holidays are just another excuse.
If you’re new to Tokyo, or you’ve already settled in as an expat, you’ll want to make sure your own pooch gets in on the action, too. Here is a sampling of holiday pet treats you can easily find. Whatever you choose, be sure it’s dog-appropriate.
Pampered dogs (at least of the more diminutive breeds) appreciate the latest stylin’ outfits so they can look appropriately kawaii (cute) in public – not just during the holidays but every day. Check out Tokyu Hands, which has numerous locations in Tokyo and throughout Japan and offers an astonishing array of pet items from functional to frivolous.
No surprise, in this fish-loving country dogs enjoy a seafood treat as much as their humans. Dried sardines (called iwashi) are popular for dogs, and good for them, too. Sardines are high in fatty acids that can sooth stomachs, boost brainpower, and help prevent cancer and dental problems in dogs.
It could be that, only in Japan, would a well-known restaurateur/chef create a Christmas cake just for dogs – but edible for their humans as well. This isn’t totally shocking, since the #1 Christmas goodie in Japan is a special sponge cake made with cream and strawberries. Chef Naohiko Nagatani has simply taken the tradition to the dogs. As he explains, “dogs have pretty much become like children and people want to share Christmas with them. But if it’s just the humans eating cake, the dogs put on a really sad face.”
You know that face, don’t you? Your own dog has spent hours in front of a mirror perfecting it. Chef Nagatani’s cake features sponge (made with spelt, since some dogs cannot easily digest wheat) and whipped cream (not exactly vet-approved). The cake is intended for humans as well as dogs.
And he’s not alone. One of Japan’s popular online pet stores, Peppy, also sells Christmas cakes for dogs that can be shared with their owners. For example, you might like the “Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer” cake, a chiffon creation made with cheese and yogurt and topped with cookies. A pet shop in Osaka makes somewhat more appropriate doggie cupcakes from meat and veggies, but since it’s the holidays, they’ll go the extra mile and use frosting to add your pup’s name on top.
Special doggie dinners to go
You could cook up your pup’s favorite dinner as a holiday treat, but why go to all that bother when you can simply order it in? Shops in Tokyo and other Japanese cities offer not only dog treats such as beef biscuits but full means that include such goodies as chicken stew with vegetables, grilled turkey with a fruit sauce, grilled chicken, lamb steak, venison ragu with pasta, omelet with bonito broth, gardenia or pineapple fried rice, mashed sweet potatoes, etc. it’s enough to make you drool right along with your dog.
Dog parents deserve a holiday treat, too
The Japanese love to visit onsen (spa resorts that feature hot springs), and they love to tote their pups along for the experience. Yep, some onsen have special baths set aside just for dogs. Talk about relieving the stress of the holidays!
Or you could treat yourself to something entirely practical. Here at Pacific pet Transport, we’re pet owners ourselves, so we know hair is something you contend with on a daily basis. You can feel if their home, your clothing, and your car are coated with remnants of your dog’s coat. So why not treat yourself to this clever dog hair remover?
The Ketori Hair Cleaner looks like a rubber egg. You rub it over the hairy surface, flip it over to open, and remove the wad of hair. Thanks to the odd shape, you can finally reach and remove hair between cushions and in other tight spaces. Happy holidays, indeed!