Most dogs would probably be pretty happy with a warm bed, lots of treats and plenty of ear scratches. But, increasingly, that’s not enough to make dog owners happy. More and more, we’re spoiling our pooches with Instagram-worthy luxury experiences previously reserved for two-legged members of the family. For some lucky mutts, a dog’s life may include resort visits, pool parties or being an honored guest at a wedding. Some eat exotic gourmet food and live in doggie mansions.
It’s no wonder that the amount of money Americans are devoting to pets has been hitting record highs. The American Pet Products Association (APPA) estimates that U.S. spending on pets in 2021 reached $123.6 billion. That’s billion with a B. That represents a nearly 20% jump from pet spending in 2020, which was also a record-breaking year. To put that into perspective, that’s nearly three times the amount Elon Musk was ready to pay to buy Twitter. It’s also about
30 times the amount the U.S. government allocates each year to international programs that feed people in food-insecure countries.
But what’s the cost of love, especially during stressful times? According to a 2021-2022 survey of pet owners by the APPA, three-quarters of pet parents say that spending time with their pet has helped to reduce their stress and increase their sense of well-being during the pandemic. The survey also estimated that 14% of U.S. households got a new pet during the pandemic and that 70% of households now own a pet. Here’s a glimpse into the way we’re pampering our pooches:
We humans used to be happy with a plate of cold cuts and crackers, but now we need an aesthetically pleasing arrangement of meats, cheeses, fruits and other snacks on a fancy wooden platter and a fancier French name. Voilà: the charcuterie board.
Not surprisingly, there’s now a canine version called the barkuterie board.
Minneapolis dog owner Maggie Skrypek made one earlier this year with celery, carrots, cucumbers, cheese, berries, nuts, kibble and “meat topper” powder for a joint celebration of the one-year “adoption day” anniversary of her Boston terrier, Poppy, and Poppy’s sister, Rosie, owned by Peter and Paige Matheson, also of Minneapolis.
“We did it to be special, because it’s a celebratory day,” Skrypek says.
“This is definitely for us, the humans,” Peter Matheson says.
Not skilled enough to curate your own barkuterie board?
You can outsource the job to Rebecca Jackson, a chef and owner of barkuteriebox.com, a Lakeville-area company that sells stylish barkuterie boxes and dog-oriented crudité snacks like biscuits made with liver pâté, beef hearts, beets, blueberries, apples and oat and chickpea flour. There’s even a dog friendly Easter egg made with peanut butter and oats covered with chocolate free carob.
Product prices range from $13 to $45.
“It’s fun for us humans to give them something that looks good and smells good,” Jackson says of her barkuterie boxes.
See also the Atlanta area barkuterieboards.com, which for $40 and up can ship you a board featuring “novel proteins” like bison, dehydrated shrimp, dried mussels, beef tripe and duck feet. For a little extra, your dog treats will arrive in a custom wooden box or a dim sum steamer container.