The Rise of “50 Shades of Fur” and Other Oddly Inappropriate Dog Toys

Seriously, who comes up with these? Dog toys these days are a running commentary of modern human culture. That's not always a good thing.

Janine Kahn  |  May 29th 2013


Dogster Community Manager Lori Malm and I often visit “Furry Tales,” the local pet boutique near our office in San Francisco’s SoMa neighborhood. We’ve picked up items including collars for a last-minute photo shoot and treats for pups’ birthdays over the years, and the shop has done a lot to keep us updated on the latest product trends with its varied selection. A recent visit had our eyebrows climbing high into our foreheads, though. And we’re curious to know what you think.

How we feed, groom and outfit our pets is increasingly becoming a reflection of who we are as people. We get into deep debates about the merits of raw vs. kibble in our forums, for example, and take care to match our dog’s feeder and bed to our home decor. Some of us go so far as to coordinate outfits with our dogs. Our pets have become extensions of ourselves — our culture, our good taste, our status as decent human beings. (How often do we crow “My dog is a rescue”?)

So I suppose it’s not a surprise that some of the pet toys on the shelves have become a bit of a running commentary (or parody) of modern human times. Behold, for instance, this dog toy we found from a company called Fab Dog:

Modern humans find love on the internet, so why shouldn’t modern dogs? Alas, hounddate.com is unclaimed on GoDaddy as of this writing. (Somebody needs to get on that, by the way.) Then modern dogs can access it from their iPAWD, which is in fact a thing:

How clever, we thought after perusing the boutique’s toy selection, that Diggin’ Dog Designs, the parody dog product purveyor that came up with the line of “Chewy Vuitton” toys would move out of designer mode into cultural satire. But then we saw this and wondered whether the company is taking it too far:

Here at Dogster HQ, people sometimes stop in the middle of the workday and yell “Dogs are NOT sexy!” at the computer screen, after running into — oh, I don’t know — a photo of a dog in a French maid outfit or something. So that was our initial knee-jerk reaction to the 50 Shades toy. Is it cute? Funny? Something you would give your mother-in-law if she read the book, Fifty Shades of Grey, as a clever gag? Who is the target market for this thing? That’s what we want to know.

And would they also pick up something like this?

Because every dog needs a book full of bitches? (It squeaks, too!)

Dog toys these days. It’s almost enough to make you want to take up drinking. And fortunately, there are toy options for that, too:

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