NEW YORK >> Pets are people, too — at least when it comes to holiday gifts.
More than half of dog owners and nearly 40 percent 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 favorite pet parents and all-around animal enthusiasts with human gifts just for them. Some ideas:
Flatties, some that squeak, are always popular, said Mardi Larson, a spokeswoman 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 AND 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 a classic or rustic look, PetSmart.com’s exclusive Pendleton collection includes beds in autumn colors or rainbow stripes. The company also has combination gift sets that come with a dog bed, cozy blanket and bone toy for about $20.
Petplay.com sells beds adorned with bright yellow mustaches.
Oprah chose as one of her Favorite Things of 2016 the Charles Fradin Home Customizable Pet Blanket. It’s a 60-by-54 micro-fleece printed with an original hand-drawn image of said pet, for $395. Head to Amazon.
Give your animal-loving human a paw pendant, or head to one of the sites that will customize using a pet’s actual paw print, including 4pawsforever.org. At Uncommongoods.com there’s a woman who will make you a pendant from a mold of your pet’s nose. Look for other customizables there, including pet portraits and pillows that look like your dog.
There are kits available for your pet lover to make a paw print mold to turn into a tree ornament or garden stone.
How about a throw? PetSmart has a red one selling strong emblazoned with “I Just Want to Drink Wine & Pet My Dog.” $29.99. At Originalterritory.com there’s a 30-by-40 fleece that reads, “Naps are Better with a Dog.” $19.99.
Friendshipcollar.com is just that: a matching collar for pet and bracelet for the human. In a range of designs. $25 and $35.
Because of 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.
CATS AND 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. 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.” Flat pack cardboard. No glue necessary for assembly. $35. Widely available from a company called Suck UK.
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 from PetSmart says, “Bones, Bones and more Bones!”
The World Wildlife Fund lets you select two mugs featuring Morten Koldby images of species the nonprofit is working to protect: the tiger, snow leopard, rhino and bison. Choose two different animals or a matching set of the same animal. Each mug holds 12.5 ounces. They’re a thank-you for a donation of $55. Go to WWFcatalog.org.
Or pick up a box of animal-theme note cards. Also widely available. While you’re at it, the U.S. Postal Service has Forever 47-cent pet stamps in a book of 20 with photographs by Eric Isselee. Puppies, betta fish, iguanas, mice, hermit crabs, chinchillas, corn snakes and, yes, dogs and cats are among them.
Boxed-up collections that look like human food fit right into the humanization of pets trend building over the years, said PetSmart’s Larson. Her company carries treats that look like cannolis and macaroons, and bags of treats in the shape of lumps of coal, from Bocce’s Bakery. Organic. $4.49.