It’s a dog’s life

Is it just us or have pets become the new accessory? Okay, so they're cute and cuddly and they look great in a handbag. Because of our new furry obsession - who needs kids? - the pet products industry is booming. According to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, last year alone Americans spent an estimated US$35.9 billion on Fluffy and Fido, up from US$34.4 billion in 2004. So we thought we'd take a look at just how far people are willing to go to pamper their pups - and the best-in-show firms that are reaping the rewards.

Is it just us or have pets become the new accessory? Okay, so they’re cute and cuddly and they look great in a handbag. Because of our new furry obsession – who needs kids? – the pet products industry is booming. According to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, last year alone Americans spent an estimated US$35.9 billion on Fluffy and Fido, up from US$34.4 billion in 2004. So we thought we’d take a look at just how far people are willing to go to pamper their pups – and the best-in-show firms that are reaping the rewards.

Strollin’ in style

Why walk when you can ride? For the pooch who doesn’t want to get his paws dirty, there’s the ATV 3 Wheel All-Terrain Pet Stroller from Central Valley, N.Y.-based callingalldogs.com. Made with water-repellent nylon fabric, it features front and rear entry, as well as top, front and rear ventilation and shock absorbers. There is also a mesh window ‘to keep out the bugs’ and a large storage basket for toys, treats and water bottle. The US$195 price tag includes a wind and rain cover and nighttime safety reflectors.

Get me to the church on time

Thinking of breeding your dogs? Well it’s no longer socially acceptable to just stick them in a pen and let them go at it. Now those beagles have to make it legal. That’s right we’re talking a church, guests, the whole bit. And of course the bride needs to wear white, so California-based doggiedesigner.com has created a wedding gown and tuxedo set for the happy couple. The bride’s gown, made from satin and lace, goes for US$100. Meanwhile, the groom gets an elegant tux with snappy red bow tie plus a boutonniere for his lapel, all for a mere US$80.

When you can’t take your dog to the spa…

Since dogs need vacations too, NYC-based Modern Tails Luxury Pet Boutique

(moderntails.com) is offering a

Bone-Shaped Vinyl Travel Set. The pack, which costs US$20, contains 2 oz. travel-size containers of lavender shampoo, conditioner and between-bath spritz. Now even Fido can take the comforts of home on the road.

In good company

Many busy professional people would love to own a dog but worry about what his quality of life would be like when he’s left alone at home all day. Well, Vancouver-based dogstoriesandmusic.com has come up with a solution. Its CD, Soothing Stories and Music for the Solo Dog, available for $20, keeps poochie company while mum and dad are at work. It combines tales of a dog’s life with comforting classical music so you’ll come home to find your pup relaxed and happy.

Sweet dreams are made of this

From River Vale, N.J.-based CIZL International (cizl.com) comes the Dream Car Bed for mutts who like to snooze in style and comfort. The racing car inspired bed comes in small or large and in pink, blue, red or yellow. It’s lined with a removable, machine washable, cotton pad. This ‘perfect gift for the holidays or any day of the year’ rings in at a relatively inexpensive US$70.