Ultimate holiday gift guide for dog and cat lovers

Have you finished your holiday shopping yet? I’ve only just begun! In case you’re still searching for that special something, here’s my ultimate holiday gift guide for the cat and dog lovers in your life. Stay tuned next week for part II, which will feature even more fun and creative gifts for animal lovers!

1. An LED leash so their beloved dog stays safe on after-dark walks ($33).

led dog leash

Cruelty-free: the new cool?

Why is it that all the beautiful handbags are made of leather? And often, if it’s not made of leather, it looks cheap or unfashionable. No longer: Meet chic new fashion label Freedom of Animals, which produces 100 percent green and cruelty-free luxury handbags. Their elegant white-and-black PETA X Freedom of Animals Ina Tote, in particular, donates 20 percent of proceeds of each sale to PETA. Elle.com recently interviewed the founders for their thoughts on their inspiration, why sustainable fashion still lags behind, and their hopes for fashion’s future.

Luckily, cruelty-free design, while still not ubiquitous, is gaining its cool factor and becoming easier to find than ever before. Here, Care2 offers a list of 12 animal-friendly clothing companies and retailers that have pledged not to sell fur. Those down feathers in your winter jacket? Another story altogether: Animals usually suffer as the down is harvested for fashion. But leader Patagonia has promised its down is “100 percent traceable,” a weighty goal North Face won’t achieve for two more years. Those looking for animal-friendly fashions can check out PETA’s Shopping Guide to Compassionate Clothing.

What’s your animal’s name?

One of the best parts about adopting a new animal into the family is naming him or her! It’s so fun to play with words, read baby name books and even hit the web in search of the perfect fit. My youngest sis recently did just that: She and her husband welcomed home two eight-month-old sister kittens from the local shelter. They finally decided on two beautiful names: Tig (the alpha kitten, after the comedian Tig Notaro) and Quinn (they wanted a beautiful one-syllable Irish name).

A few weeks ago, all the top name lists for 2014 came out: top baby names of 2014, popular puppy names of 2014, and most popular kitten names 2014. If you’re looking to name a new furry family member, these are great places to start your search.

5 pet safety tips for the holidays

Dear friends, I just adore how you treat your animals not like pets, but as genuine family members. That’s why I’m sharing the following tips—so we can make sure our fur babies don’t get into too much trouble while we are busy feasting and merry-making! You might already know everything on this list, but it doesn’t hurt to take a fresh look and keep the following in mind. Here’s to you and your animals having a happy (and healthy) holiday!

1. Just say no to holiday scraps: We all know not to give table scraps to our furry four-legged friends, but sometimes that begging look in their eyes is just too tempting! If you simply must share something special, cook up a nutritious treat that’s safe for dogs and cats, such as thoroughly washed and baked carrots, broccoli, sweet potatoes or green beans that are plain and unsalted. (Onion and garlic are no-nos!) Dogs also delight in the occasional dollop of lip-smacking peanut butter. But no matter what, keep pets away from all that chocolate lying around, or you just may end up in the emergency room.