Who deserves more special attention this holiday season than the best friend that gives you absolute love and devotion? Your favorite furry friend, that is.
If you’re stuck for gift ideas to pamper your pet, here are some of the hottest trends in jewelry, toys and other goodies.
Hitting the road
More people bring their pets wherever they go. That means comfy travel accessories are must-haves.
The snuggly BedPals bed can double up as car seat. Styles include a princess crown, a panda, a frog and monkey. They are suitable for strapping in two small pets or one larger pet up to 25 lbs. for $119.99 at Myluckydog.
The new $249 Mercedes-styled Furcedes bed with its grab-and-go handles is easy to carry. If you’re traveling some distance, consider getting Fido and Fluffy their own driver’s license nametags and luggage labels. These functional tags look official and are manufactured by the same high-tech printing used by the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Peripatetic pets will also appreciate roll-up sleeping bags. These reversible, machine washable sleepers unzip to convert into a travel blankets and come with toys attached. Suitable for both dogs and cats.
For adventurous pets who like to ride along on ATVs, golf carts or bicycles, a safety helmet is a necessity. Zoomer Gear Helmet uses the same plastic in construction hardhats. Designer Kay Tabor offers customized helmets and special foam pads for pets with stand-up ears. Chin straps are adjustable. Prices range from $26 to $30.
Pet fashionistas will love to be seen with the ultimate "it" accessory — the latest purse-styled carrier from PuppyPurse.com. Ranging from $80 to $120, these doggie bags are a great alternative for small and medium-sized pets that don’t like to be confined in conventional carriers.
Available in different fabrics, including denim, fleece and leather, the lightweight harnesses are adjustable so people who really love to snuggle with their pups can wear them like a fanny pack or shoulder bag.
Whether you have a glamour puss or a pot-bellied pig, jewels are a must-have for party animals this festive season. For about $133, DorothyBauer.com has eight designs in 24-carat gold and fine silver and handset with Swarovski crystals. The metal work is secured on to a velvet ring that sits snugly on the head, ties securely around the ears and under the chin. Personalize it with the wearer’s name in stones.
If a tiara is too much, how about a three-strand $90 dog necklace that was featured in "Legally Blond 2?"
Pearls are suitable for both cats and dogs. Grey is the season’s hot color at Phoebesphasions.
Elderly or small pets may need stairs so that they can snooze on your bed or favorite chair. EZ Steps are made of sturdy high-density foam with special non-slip sheepskin. Priced at $89.99, they are available in four colors. The lightweight construction makes them easy for elderly pet owners to move around the home, too.
Pet beds used to be all frilly frou-frous. Now they're for tough doggies. The outback double bunk from Ruffles and Bark, complete with matching wooden ladder, offers sleeping accommodation for two pets. Made from quaking aspen, a wood known for its natural crooks and curves, each one is a handmade original.
No pet can ever have too many toys. Small critters will enjoy the latest glow-in-the-dark exercise balls. For less than $10, outdoor lovers have lots of fun with the Go-Frr slingshot action fetch ball that zings a ball much further than most people can throw. The Ruff Dawg Toolkit is made from durable rubber and includes a hammer, wrench and paintbrush.
For pets often left home alone for long stretches, PetSitterVideos can entertain cats, dogs and birds for hours. Or try CDs of soothing music help de-stress nervous types and reduce separation anxiety at PetMusic.com.
This year, party animals can join in by drinking a toast to the New Year with Happy Tail Ale. The non-alcoholic drink, manufactured by the Dog Star Brewing Co. in Napa Valley, Calif., is made from malted barley with a beef flavor. BeerForDogs is $12 a six-pack. It even contains vitamin E and glucosamine for your best drinking buddy. Serve it chilled. Paws up!
Sandy Robins is a freelance writer and columnist based in Irvine, Calif.