Pet-lovers gift guide

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Whether you’re a dog person, a cat lover, or all of the above, you know that pets are just as much a part of our families as anyone. So it only makes sense that our furry friends would have a gift to unwrap this holiday season, just like the rest of us. Here are our favorite gadgets, toys, and services to show your animal companion just how awesome they are. (Not that you aren’t doing that constantly already.)

Whistle dog activity tracker ($100)

For outdoorsy dogs

Whistle dog activity tracker

Packed with all types of techy goodness, the Whistle connects to your iPhone to give you detailed information about how much exercise Fido gets every day by breaking up different spurts of activity into walks, play, rest, and other activities. Whistle also allows you to compare your dog’s activity level to other pups of his age, breed, and size, and set activity goals to keep Mutts McGee (or whatever you call him or her) in shape.

Sony Action Cam Pet Pack ($260)

For shutterbugs

Sony Action Cam Pet PackWe’ll never truly know what the world looks like through our dog’s eyes – but the Sony Action Cam Pet Pack can get you pretty darn close. The kit includes everything you’ll need to capture some wicked POV shots of your dog in action, including the Sony Action Cam with SteadyShot image stabilization, an 8GB microSDHC memory card, and Sony’s specially deigned dog harness which has a camera mount and fully adjustable straps.

FroliCat Dart ($40)

For lazy cat owners

FroliCat DartCats freakin’ lose their minds for laser pointers – that’s just a scientific fact. But unless you have superhuman stamina, you will grow tired of shining a little dot on the floor way before your cat gets bored of it. That’s why you need the FroliCat Dart, which plays laser tag with your cat (or dog) for you. The Dart comes with a variety of speed settings, and can be set to automatically turn off after 5, 10, 15, or 20 minutes.

Wisdom Panel 2.0 Dog DNA Test Kit ($80)

For curious dog owners

Wisdom Panel 2.0 Dog DNA Test KitEverybody knows mutts often make the best dogs. But figuring out where Mr. Bowjangles got those pointy ears and that crazy curly fur can make you the best pet owner. Using Wisdom Panel 2.0 dog DNA test kit, you can learn the full ancestry of your pup, back to her great-grandparents – knowledge that can help you better address breed-specific behavior issues, and prepare for potential health risks inherent in certain breeds. And besides, once you know your dog’s ancestry, you can pretend that your cock-a-doodle-dandy-poo is actually part of very elite designer breed.

Tagg Pet GPS Tracker ($180)

For dogs that like to roam

Tagg Pet GPS TrackerEven good dogs wander off sometimes. And when they do, you’ll want to make sure they’re packing a Tagg around their necks. The Tagg tracker allows you to know where your pup is at all times, thanks to its built-in GPS and Bing Maps-enhanced smartphone app. Similar to Whistle, Tagg also keeps track of your dog’s exercise levels on a daily basis, so you can help keep that puppy fat from slowing Fido down.

Litter Robot II ($360)

For smart cat owners

Litter Robot IIThis one literally sells itself. As any cat owner knows, the one downside to having a house full of felines is cleaning out their stinking boxes. It’s the kind of thing only should do – and now it can, thanks to the Litter Robot II, an ingenious device that automatically sifts and bags all the little treasures for you. All you have to do is wrap up the bags, and toss ‘em away. Now, it might seem crazy to spend hundreds of dollars on a litter box – but remember: this gift is for you, and you deserve to not go digging around for clumps of cat urine ever again.

Petnet SmartFeeder ($200)

For nutrition-conscious pet owners

Petnet SmartFeederGet a 21st century handle on your cat or dog’s diet with the Petnet SmartFeeder, which connects to your smartphone or PC, allowing you to feed your pet anytime, from any where. SmartFeeder lets you set up scheduled feedings, and keeps tabs on your pet’s caloric intake over days, weeks, and months. It will even remind you when the food is about to run out. The only downside? SmartFeeder is so new, it won’t arrive until early next year – but you can reserve one today. If you can’t wait, however, this programmable pet feeder will hold you over till next year.

Sleepypod Clickit Dog Harness ($90)

For road-trippers

Sleepypod Clickit Dog HarnessCar accidents can be just as damaging for your dog as they can for you. So it only makes sense that your dog has a seatbelt, too. The Clickit dog harness is the only car safety restraint for dogs that is proven to protect your pooch from a major collision – and it’s the same one Subaru plans to start building into its cars. The three-point design keeps your dog tight and secure in all the important spots, and the attachment mechanisms make it possible to latch your pup into either the backseat or the cargo area.

Samsung PetCam ($150)

For protective pet owners

Samsung PetCamLeaving your pets home alone for hours on end can add stress to any pet owner’s life. So keep tabs on your furry buddies from afar with Samsung’s PetCam. Using PetCam, you can watch live streaming video of your home from your smartphone, tablet, or PC. Samsung’s system also allows you to connect up to 10 cameras to a single account, so you can cover all the rooms in your house. Night vision enhancements let you see what your pets are up to in the dark. And the two-way speaker and mic let you tell your dog he’s “good boy” from anywhere – or, you know, tell him to get off the couch.