When I was 8 years old, I got my first dog. He was a black lab named Tigger who ran away almost every day and would only eat yogurt, but I loved him more than anything, ever, and so began my canine obsession. And while I don’t have a dog at the moment (don’t ask — major family drama), I have been known to spend hours at pet stores playing with puppies, because puppies. But then it occurred to me: We almost never — OK, actually we have never — focused on pets around here. Which is why we brought in Matt Powers, dog lover, owner and founder of ShaggySwag, a monthly delivery service of upscale, stylish dog products inspired by the humans and dogs of New York City. Read along to see how you can make sure your dog (or your friend’s dog) is living its best life. Because after all, it truly is a dog’s life.
1. Send Them Lots of Gifts.
My dogs LOVE toys and we use treats regularly as training tools. There are so many products for dogs, and going to the store can be overwhelming, so why not let the experts handle it for you? ShaggySwag curates the perfect monthly delivery of products from treats and toys to fashion accessories and other useful essentials. Just tell them (well, us) a little about you and your dog and they (we) handle the rest. Delivered right to your doorstep every month, you save money and time!
Launching in September, just in time for the illustrious Fashion Weeks, we're also bringing you ShaggyStyle, a monthly delivery of high-fashion items ... for your four-legged friend. Every box includes a signature wearable item such as a button-down shirt or sweater with an accessory to match (yes, we're talking doggie sunglasses, bandanas and collar jewelry).Just to make it extra fun for the dog, there's also bag of treats and a toy from the ShaggySwag Collection included as well.
2. Keep Them Looking Good
When we can't make it to the groomer, sometimes we have to do it the old-fashioned way and take it to the bathtub. We've tried a variety of shampoos and conditioners, and finally found a product that we're super happy with and smells like a high-quality salon product rather than the fake fruit aroma of most off-the-shelf dog shampoos.
Natural, non-toxic and healthy are nothing new when talking grooming products, but combine those with Chic and you have WYLDE. Already getting attention from Vogue.com, WYLDE was created by two pet parents, Loni Edwards and Dr Lisa Lippman, who love their pets as much (if not more!) than their human family members, and wanted natural pet products without chemicals, that looked like something they’d want to use themselves. They couldn’t find what they were looking for, so they created WYLDE.
3. Give Them A Little Bling
It's hard to find a celebrity dog on Instagram not wearing one of RebelDawg's fully customizable tag or charm. The super quiet, lightweight, acrylic construction is perfect for all dogs, plus, they're BPA free and full of paw-some style. Proudly handmade in Brooklyn, NY with a healthy dose of attitude and love.
4. Take Them to Events. Because Even Dogs Need Content.
Both of my dogs have their own Instagram accounts (@jerrybrows and @figgyjean) with highly engaged followers. Finding new places to get content can be a challenge , but there are new events, conventions and other interactive experiences that are popping up in cities nationwide where dogs (and their humans) can see and be seen.
PETCON: From the creators of The Dog Agency, the Second Annual PetCon is a pet-friendly, 2-day convention featuring insightful panels, fun activations and can't-miss meet and greets with everyone's favorite celebrity pets! There's also a well-curated selection of brands to discover, showcasing new and innovative products.
Humans Best Friend: Human's Best Friend is a sharable experience for dogs and the humans who love them. Created to celebrate all things dog, travel through a series of technicolor environments that will have tails wagging. This canine-centric world will also feature adoptable dogs available for play in partnership with a variety of NYC rescue organizations.
5. Feed Them Human (ish) Food
All you have to do is Google "What's in dog kibble?" to learn the shocking truth about what is actually in most commercial dog food, which is why we love The Farmer's Dog. What is it? A meal plan service that sends human-grade food to your dog for as little as $3 a day. A noticeable trend, human-grade dog foods are popping up everywhere, but The Farmer's Dog has definitely set themselves apart with their proprietary algorithm that creates a customized plan to fit your dog's needs. Every package also arrives to your home with your dog's name on it, so you know it was made specifically for them!
6. Make Sure They Travel in Style
My dogs go everywhere with me, but not all places are totally open to them roaming freely so finding the right bag was critical to making my lifestyle more dog-friendly. "It's almost like the dogs know it was made with love," said the Founder of Love Thy Beast to me as I purchased the tote houses my two 15 pound dachshunds. Perfect for travel and taking the pups around the city on the subway or in cabs. As soon as I take the bag out they immediately run over and hop in.
7. Take Them to Really Cool Coffee SpotsPet-friendly Places - Boris & Horton -
But first...coffee OR walk the dogs? Both please!
The East Village of NYC is a great neighborhood for dogs, and with the recent addition of Boris and Horton, it's even better. NYC's first Health Department-approved, dog-friendly coffee shop has created a space that welcomes all dogs AND serves food and beverages. They also host a variety of dog inspired social and adoption events, dog birthday parties, and a well designed showcase of local brands in their small boutique shop.
When Matt Powers (@themattpowers) and wife, model/designer Candice Huffine (@candicehuffine) got their first dog, Jerry (@jerrybrows) in 2016, it was life changing. Matt, who had successfully started his own production company in 2013, creating content for fashion and lifestyle brands was so inspired by the connection he had with his new four-legged best friend, he and a fellow dog-loving friend decided to start the Brooklyn based company, ShaggySwag (@shaggyswagbox), a monthly delivery service of upscale, stylish dog products inspired by the humans and dogs of New York City. Shipping thousands of boxes across all 50 states and adding another dog to the family (Figgy Jean @FiggyJean), Matt and the ShaggySwag team are now developing their own line of dog treats, toys, fashion and accessories. Matt and ShaggySwag’s goal is to help grow the connection between humans and their dogs by creating products that make dog life simpler, more fun and super stylish.