Unique gift ideas for pets

Camera mounts, ugly sweaters, gourmet food and more!

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(Rhonda Venezia/Getty Images)

(Rhonda Venezia/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Pet owners looking to launch the next Internet sensation or just longing for a new view of their dog’s dashing and digging won’t have to shop for long to find the perfect holiday gift. Wrap up a dog harness that holds GoPro’s durable cameras and watch Frisbee fetch, lazy lap naps and every memory in between come alive.

The Fetch dog harness fits over Fido’s chest or back and holds the small, waterproof camera known for attaching to helmets, surfboards, cars and wrists to film rugged adventures. Sony, Garmin and Kurgo also make camera mounts for dogs.

The device is among a legion of gifts that retailers have rounded up for pet wish lists this year. Narrowing it down is tough, but the harness tops the more unique options and creates lasting footage.

The most pet-friendly camera in the GoPro Inc. line is the Hero4, which allows people to decide what the dog records and control all the functions with a touch screen, company spokeswoman Kelly Baker said. The camera sells for $399, and the mount costs $59.

The chest harness captures bone-chewing and digging, while the back mount films running and jumping, Baker said. They adjust to fit dogs weighing 15 to 120 pounds.

The canine camera view has proved popular. A video went viral of an eager Labrador strapped with a camera sprinting through trees and across rocks to an Italian beach, where it leaps into the ocean.

John Duffield of Santa Monica, California, loves the footage he got from the GoPro he mounted on his two dogs. He got enough shots to make a short video shortly before his chow-Labrador-Akita mix, Lupa, died.

But Duffield didn’t strap the camera to his Chihuahua, Pup, three months ago when he and his wife brought their newborn daughter home from the hospital.

“Pup is like a member of the family, too,” Duffield said. “He belonged in this picture because he was welcoming home part of his family.”

Those looking for pet gifts besides the traditional treats, new bowls and beds can give something unexpected such as:

UGLY SWEATERS

They are the rage this year, so PetSmart Inc. will hawk ugly sweaters for cats and dogs from Bret Michaels’ Pets Rock line ($15.99), said Shelly Albrecht, spokeswoman for the national retailer. Swath pets in sweaters stitched with gingerbread men and Christmas trees and they could win worst-dressed at those seasonal ugly sweater parties popular with people.

PetSmart also is selling leg warmers online and in stores from Top Paw and Luv-A-Pet.

“STAR WARS” GEAR

Dogs will “use the force” with Petco’s line of “Star Wars” toys and clothing. Dress up dogs like Princess Leia with a headband sporting her signature bun hairstyle. The Death Star won’t menace when it comes as a treat dispenser ($7.49) or tug-of-war toy ($5.99).

Plush squeaker toys feature favourite characters — R2-D2, Chewbacca and Darth Vader — for less than $10. And don’t forget the cats — the Millennium Falcon flies at the end of a teaser toy string for less than $5.

DEVICES FOR OLDER DOGS

Make it easier for your senior dog to get around safely with equipment from Solvit Pet Products (www.solvitproducts.com ). Help them avoid injury in the car with a Department of Transportation-tested safety harness ($30) and ease their way out of the vehicle with a ramp for those who can no longer jump ($159).

Keep them close on a bike ride with a bicycle trailer or stroller ($399) or with a wicker basket ($89).

GOURMET FARE

After romping in the snow, pets can warm up with San Diego-based Honest Kitchen’s Winter Warmers Broths. Just add hot water to the dehydrated mixes in chicken consomme, beef and bone, and turkey stock flavours. The company, which focuses on natural food good enough for people’s palates, offers the $19.99 three-box sets for a limited time.

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