May 29th, 2020


It's a Dog's Life (And I'm Envious)

Lenore Skenazy

By Lenore Skenazy

Published October 20, 2017

It's a Dog's Life (And I'm Envious)

Pet owners, I know your animals are cherished members of the family. What they aren't, however, are neurotic 21st-century Americans. So why are we starting to treat them that way?

For instance, there is flavored water for dogs these days, the options ranging from spearmint to peanut butter to parsley.

Would you introduce water for humans in pork, beef or pizza-from-the garbage flavor? No. So lay off the parsley flavor for dogs! Dogs don't do garnishes.

Dogs also don't do the whole weight thing. That's why their tails wag. You never hear a dog saying, "Woof, I hate my thighs." Yet one of the pet food companies started distributing doggy body mass index kits to veterinarians. Using it, vets can now determine whether a dog is officially, provably fat. Then they get to bring up this point to the probably officially, provably fat owner.

I'm sure vets are thrilled at the prospect.

There are designer clothes for dogs now, as well as gourmet dinners and videos, when what they really need is less stuff and more time outside, playing.

Just like our human pets: kids.

Dogs (and kids) are getting the short end of the stick when they should just be getting the stick, period. But here's the big surprise. There is a huge potential in the flip side: marketing doggy products to humans.

I took a little stroll around my local (corporate-owned) pet shop and dug up some ideas:

—Chew toys for the rest of us. Dogs have a heap of toys to gnaw on. Us? Zero.

Why not? We love beef jerky. We love gum. Why doesn't someone combine them already? A nice beefy-tasting chew toy would curb our meat cravings, last a long time and probably not even have very many calories. Sell it as a diet aid! I've even got a name for it: The Human-Chu (rhymes with Fu Manchu).

OK. So work on a name.

—Snacks that brush our teeth. There are a bunch of hard biscuits that clean dogs' teeth while they eat. Many are even shaped like toothbrushes. So why not make these for kids? "Go eat your biscuit!" sure beats "Go brush your teeth!"

—Flea and tick collars. Everyone's terrified of Lyme disease, but only pets get to wear full-on protection. That's dumb. We humans need flea and tick ankle bracelets. Our naked ankles are like catnip (so to speak) to ticks. Why should we spend our summers spraying on Off! when we could just wear a couple of these collar things?

—Roasted beef flavor sauce. Pour this Iams sauce on your dog's food and suddenly it all tastes like roast beef. Think what it could do for tofu.

—Bath-in-a-wipe. Petkin doggy wipes clean and shampoo dogs that are "difficult to bathe." Not only does that sound like pretty much every dog but it sounds like pretty much every child. Imagine a no-rinse wipe that you could rub all over your young'uns that even cleans their hair. Saves time! Water! Tears! Sanity!

—Name tags. Dogs wear these; people don't. Big mistake. Dogs don't have to greet each other by name; we do. If we all wore our names on easy-to-read charms, think how much easier all social interactions would become. "This is Jim and his lovely wife ... uh ... Spanky!"

Life is about shifting perspectives. Think, live and sniff like a dog and the world is your ... um ... oyster.

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