8314 Market St., Lakewood Ranch (941) 907-9111
Dottie DeCarlo, franchise owner of Woof Gang Bakery’s Lakewood Ranch location, has created a veritable temple for dogs. DeCarlo and store manager Kristy Howland hand-select every item in their store, from treats and chews (think pumpkin softies, chicken chips, beef bites and dog-friendly cupcakes and cakes) to accessories and toys. “Our customers care enough to come to an independent retailer for their dogs, so we research the best of the best,” DeCarlo says. Woof Gang also offers grooming services, from baths to dental cleanings, with certain services booking up a year in advance.
1465 Main St., Sarasota (941) 388-3647
Wet Noses has a 21-year record of providing pet accessories, food and grooming services to dogs. The shop offers a variety of raw, kibble, freeze-dried and grain-free foods from brands like Nature’s Logic, Orijen and Stella & Chewy’s; strollers, toys and pet carriers; accessories from local artists Makinsie Adkins and Miri Hardy; and accessories for dog parents including Tervis Tumblers, clothing and cards. Grooming and pet-sitting available, too; there are also locations on St. Armands Circle and in Gulf Gate.
4210 77th St. E., Palmetto (941) 729-5665
After you spend a day attending puppy kindergarten on Southeastern Guide Dogs' sprawling Palmetto campus, stop by the gift shop, where you'll find pet accessories, gifts and more. The Dog Obedience Starter Kit, which contains training treats, a treat pouch, a training clicker and a book written by Southeastern Guide Dogs' trainers, would be a great present for a friend with a new puppy.
Pet Portraits by Local Artists
Sarasota artist Rob Jones has a background in comic book illustration but has found a niche painting watercolor portraits of beloved pets. “I love the joy that you see on the person’s face when they see their pet commemorated in paint,” he says. Contact him at robjonesart.com. Clients have included bulldogs, Boston terriers, Yorkies, poodles and pit bulls. Easter Seals of Southwest Florida (easterseals-swfl.org), Doris Schmucker of a Darling Design (adarlingdesign.com) and Angela Kaiser of My Muze-Art (mymuze-art.com) also offer hand-painted custom portraits to commemorate your furry family member.