When it’s time for gifts, don’t forget pets

NEW YORK — Pets are people, too – at least when it comes to gifts.


More than half of dog owners and nearly 40 percent of cat owners buy their pets gifts for Christmas or Hanukkah, according to 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, plus favorite pet parents and all-around animal enthusiasts. Here are some ideas for gifts:

PET TOYS: 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, such as 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 also can’t go wrong with balls. Lots of balls. Or durable toys in sturdy nylon or rope. Think about safety when considering 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 give one that looks reasonably good. 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, blanket and bone toy for about $20.

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 to find it.

FOR HUMANS: Gift your animal-loving human a paw pendant, or head to one of the online sites that will customize one using a pet’s actual paw, 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 customizable items 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 that is emblazoned with: “I Just Want to Drink Wine &Pet My Dog” for $29.99. At Originalterritory.com, there’s a 30-by-40 fleece for $19.99 that reads: “Naps are Better with a Dog.”

Friendshipcollar.com is just that: A collar for pet and matching bracelet for the human in a range of designs for $25 and $35.

CLOTHES: Of course, clothes are widely available for pets of all types.

PetSmart even 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 one that looks like a Christmas tree or a sleigh. Lots of these things exist, so they are easy to find .

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.” Made of flat pack cardboard, it costs $35 and is widely available from a British company. Search online for DJ Cat Scratching Pad.

Holiday stockings are a thing for pets, too, including one filled with balls for cats and a purple feather toy. Another for dogs from PetSmart says: “Bones, Bones and more Bones!”

There are plenty of little sweaters and collars that could be great gifts, , too, at just about anyplace that sells pet stuff. You don’t have to spend a lot.

WILDLIFE LOVERS: 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 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.

Colorful and frameable wildlife photographs are widely available. Simply spring for a nice frame.

You can also pick up a box of animal-theme note cards, which are widely available. 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, dogs and cats are among them. Wildlife stamps are also available.

PET TREATS: Boxed-up collections that look like human food fit right into the humanization of pets trend that has been building over the years, said PetSmart’s Larson.

Her company carries treats that look like cannolis and macaroons, along with a bag of organic treats in the shape of lumps of coal, from Bocce’s Bakery for $4.49.

Outwardhound.com sells a $24.99 cheery plastic doggie slot machine that will dispense kibble when a dog pulls down a front compartment.