From diamond dog collars to sushi for cats
By Sandy Robins
updated 9:49 a.m. PT, Wed., April 27, 2005
This holiday season, there’s a plethora of gift ideas for Fido and Fluffy ranging from innovative toys and delicious treats to designer furniture and trendy must-have accessories that pet owners will be begging for, too.
The American Pet Products Manufacturers Association predicts that this year 40 million Americans will spend around $100 per pet for a total of nearly $4 billion. So which gifts does Santa Paws have in store for your animal companions this Christmas?
Beds fit for a king
“Beds are a hot item,” says Vicki Wagner, president and CEO of Eloise Inc., and the creative designer behind a line of pet pillow beds, which grace many celebrity homes and Starwood Hotels’ pet-friendly rooms. Prices range according to size and fabric and start around $93.
If you favor originality, then consider purchasing one of only 350 Imperial Crown beds being released worldwide by In the Company of Dogs. This ball-shaped cocoon in blue velvet and gold comes with a crown-shaped toy for the little czar or czarina in the household.
Other popular pet-furniture styles this year include the pet circus tent and the Legally Pink townhouse inspired by the Legally Blonde movies starring Bruiser the Chihuahua, available atTeacups and Puppies Boutique, based in Hollywood, Fla.
Pet carriers are another hot gift item. From haute couturiers like Chanel and fashion icons like Louis Vuitton to supermarkets like Petco, there’s something for every pet and every pocketbook with prices ranging from $30 to $1,300. And remember, carriers don’t necessarily have to be carried. There are designs on wheels and backpacks for more convenience.
Diamonds are a dog’s best friend
Diamonds used to be a girl’s best friend, but now man’s best friends are wearing them, too. Doggie diamonds are for those who have unleashed spending power, and some of the designs will have pet parents drooling for matching accessories.
An eight-inch diamond collar with nearly 6 carats of diamonds from the Fancy Bone line, created by King Jewelers, will liquidate $7,500 from your savings.
“Collar charms available in a variety of precious stones are very trendy and can also be worn on bracelets and neck chains,” says Kim Walker, owner of Teacups Puppies and Boutique, which carries an assortment of gems for pets.
Tanya Smith, CEO of Animal Stars, Inc., purveyors of luxury pet products, agrees. “Its all about glitz and glamour this season. We’ve been inundated with orders from both dog and cat owners for our pink sapphire Swarovski crystal ID tags worn with matching crystal encrusted collars.”
And for the “tough guy” dog, Animal Stars is selling Maltese cross tags and Jolly Roger bone pirate tags.
Looking for something a little more practical? A designer food canister from Harry Barker, Inc., is a useful present and can be filled with a variety of seasonal treats. The container, available in silver or white, costs $28 and can be used to hold smaller presents like Harry Barker spa products and monogrammed towels.
Or, the container could hold Kitty Kabuki sushi-styled snacks, all natural Truffle Treats for dogs, and plush toys like a Jimmy Chew shoe or a Chewy Viutton purse — all from Trixie + Peanut, Inc.
Remember your rodent pals
Not to be left out, hamsters and other small critters will have fun in a blue Habitrail Space Station that features a mission control platform for multi-level living and a cosmic glow-in-the-dark wheel for exercise.
Top of the shopping list for mice is the pink Princess Castle with a cellar that simulates an underground environment and an inner courtyard for sleep and play. It’s probably the cheapest “castle” around — a bargain for $39.99 at PETCO.
This year, Christmas is all about customizing gifts and there are a variety of novel ideas that will be appreciated long after the mistletoe has been taken down — everything from personalized food bowls to pet photography.
Pet parents may like an advanced order of the books “Dogs 24/7” and “Cats 24/7,” created by Rick Smolan and David Elliot Cohen. The books, which feature a collection of original photographs taken by pet lovers across the country, are scheduled for publication in June 2005 by Chronical Books. Even if your pet’s picture didn’t make it between the covers, for $7.95 they can be featured on the book’s jacket. Simply upload a digital photo to america24-7.com/customcover.
For stylish owners, fashion items include bracelets made of tiny photo frames or cufflinks encasing miniature photos containing pet portraits from photographer Jim Dratfield ofPetography, Inc.
And, it’s not too late to commission ceramic artist Debby Carman to do a sculpture of a favorite pet. Carman, based in Laguna Beach, Calif., has earned worldwide recognition for her animal caricatures that capture the essence of feline and canine antics. There’s a large selection of items available at Faux Paw Productions.
Shelter animals in need
Finally, at this time of cheer and goodwill, remember homeless animals and make a donation to your local animal shelter or advocacy group, such as the Humane Society of the United States or the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
When it comes to helping less-fortunate pets, Justin Rudd of Long Beach, Calif., has campaigned hard. Through his organization Haute Dogs, Rudd has raised thousands of dollars for shelters in Southern California and every year organizes Operation Santa Paws to collect toys for homeless cats and dogs.
“The simplest toy can improve an animal’s demeanor, reduce stress and increase its chances of finding a loving home,” says Rudd. “Cats enjoy rolling toys like balls and batting toys that can be hung from cage doors, while dogs like tennis balls or heavyduty chew toys.”
So consider donating a gift — of either toys, food or money — to help animals in need. And along with greetings and glad tidings, spread the word so that as many homeless pets as possible around the country can have a little holiday fun.
Sandy Robins is a freelance writer and columnist based in Irvine, Calif. Her work has appeared in numerous publications in the United States and internationally.
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