Whether fluffy, furry or feathered, pet lovers don't discriminate. They all have a soft spot for their pets. Here are some suggestions for pet lovers of all ages that are fun, clever and practical. They will love you unconditionally for it.
Pet photography book
Pet photography is big business nowadays. What pet owner doesn't love cute pics of their 'baby"?
"Pet Photography 101: Tips for Taking Better Photos of Your Dog or Cat" by Andrew Darlow
can teach them how to get professional results. The book covers the proper equipment to use, and how to get your pets to stand still -- as well as how to capture them on video. It even has tips for getting great holiday photos. According to the author, the book is appropriate for photographers of all skill levels. (Published by
Science & Technology Books and sold at bookstores; $14.95.)
This is not a brand of treats, but rather, a clever new way to keep tabs on your pup when you're away via the social media site
Simply attach the small round transmitter tag to the dog's collar and sync with a computer. Whenever the dog moves, barks, or just naps, the tag knows it and sends a WiFi signal to the computer, which then sends the owner a Tweet via
. For example, if the dog is running around the house generating a lot of movement they may receive this Tweet: "Finally caught that tail I've been chasing! Phew - what a workout!" There are more than 500 phrases loaded onto the device. (Available at toy stores and pet stores; $29.99.)
Games people play (with their pets)
These games go way beyond "fetch" to connect you and your dog or cat in fun new ways, by Darf Inc.,
is a board game where people compete to get their
to do activities ($34.95).
is a card game families play with each other and their dogs ($17.95).
Do You Mind
is a portable dice game people and dogs play together ($24.95).
is a dice game that makes training
to do tricks into a game ($19.95). (Available at pet boutiques and gift stores.)
Who hasn't laughed at the over-large, sleuthing Great Dane at least once in their lives? Now he's hip to the video game generation.
Scooby-Doo! and the Spooky Swamp
is a souped-up version of previous Scooby-Doo games, which allows kids to play as any of the characters -- Shaggy, Velma, Daphne, Fred or Scooby -- plus drop in and out of the game whenever they want. The goal is to solve the mystery behind a strange swamp girl and her peculiar cauldron of brew. Players can even change costumes and collect Scooby Snacks to "buy" stuff for their character. The game will be available for
and PlayStation2. (Produced by
Interactive Entertainment and available where video games are sold; $19.99-$39.99.)
Luxury stuffed pets
The Steiff company invented the Teddy bear, and has been famous ever since as the world's top quality stuffed toy maker. The moment you touch a
, you'll see why they are coveted and collected by "kids" of all ages. In addition to their lifelike appearance, each animal's fur is made of either mohair, alpaca, cotton velvet, silk, and other valuable materials. One toy can be made of as many as 50 different pieces of "fur." Today, Steiff offers much more than bears. Various breeds of dogs and cats are available, including Rico the golden retriever. Other pets are represented, such as
Franzi the parakeet, Dormili the rabbit
Niki the pony.
Steiff creates new animals each year, so there is always a fresh selection. Prices range from about $60 to several hundred dollars. (Available at upscale toy stores.)
If you're looking for a gift for the cat person who has everything, they probably don't have one of these.
is a new line of sculptures that feature a feline form in an art deco style. They are adorned with patterns designed by
artist Ken Wong. These bright, colorful sculptures come in eight versions. (Available at gift stores and boutiques; $21.99.)
Reusable water bottle
This high-quality refillable water bottle is made by SIGG, a Swiss company that claims it makes
"the world's toughest water bottle."