Pets are people, too. Remember that come gift time

2016-11-18 18:34
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New York - Pets are people, too - at least when it comes to holiday gifts.

More than half of dog owners and nearly 40% of cat owners buy their pets gifts for Christmas or Hanukkah, according to the American Pet Products Association, an industry trade group.

Potentially, that's 39 million dogs and 32 million cats on holiday lists this year, the group reports. And don't forget all those pet aunts, uncles, grandparents and friends, let alone pleasing favourite pet parents and all-around animal enthusiasts with human gifts just for them.

Some ideas:

PET TOYS: Flatties, some that squeak, are always popular, said Mardi Larson, a spokesperson for the retail chain PetSmart. And they can be cheap. For the holidays, PetSmart has some with Christmas motifs, like a bright green dinosaur in a Santa cap.

"Pets just love to destroy their toys. Flatties are safe because they have no stuffing," Larson said.

You can't go wrong with balls. Lots of balls. Or go for durable toys in sturdy nylon or rope. Consider safety in such things as sewn-on doodads or other swallowable bits.

PET BEDS & BEDDING: Face it, a pet's bed is part of home decor. You might as well find one that looks reasonably good as a gift. Choose one with a holiday theme for an added festive feel.

FOR HUMANS: Gift your animal-loving human a paw pendant, or head to one of the sites that will customise using a pet's actual paw, including 4pawsforever.org. Look for other items such as pet portraits and pillows that look like your dog.  There are alsokits available for your pet lover to make a paw print mold to turn into a tree ornament or garden stone.

CLOTHES: For the pets. Widely available.

Because, equality, PetSmart sells tiny Santa and elf looks for Guinea pigs, complete with pointy hats. They've also got a Santa with snorkel and goggles for a fish tank, in place of fish attire.

Look around for one that amuses or fits your pet gift recipient's personality.

CATS & DOGS etc: How about a holiday scratcher, a la the one that looks like a Christmas tree or the one that looks like a sleigh at PetSmart. Lots of these things exist so don't sweat it.

There's one scratcher shaped like a DJ's turntable that really spins. It's adorned with stickers of cat smiley faces, paw prints, photos of fish-shaped cat treats, and faux band stickers, including "Run DOG."

Holiday stockings are a thing for pets, including one filled with cat balls that comes with a purple feather toy that's part of the company's holiday collection. Another for dogs says: "Bones, Bones and more Bones!"

There are plenty of little sweaters and collars that are gifty, too, at just about any place that sells pet stuff. You don't have to spend a lot.

PET TREATS: Gift boxed-up collections that look like human food fit right into the humanisation of pets trend building over the years, said PetSmart's Larson. Her company carries treats that look like cannolis and macaroons, along with a bag of treats in the shape of lumps of coal.

Another company sells a cheery plastic doggie slot machine that will dispense kibble when a dog pulls down a front compartment.

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