Legend has it that President Harry Truman once said: If you want a friend in life, get a dog. Or, we might add, a companionable cat. If the number of dog parks, animal fundraisers and pet stores today is any indication, we're wild about Harry's advice. For avid pet lovers -- you know who you are -- here are new ways to lavish attention on Fido and Frisky.
• Does your dog shudder and cry during lightning and thunderstorms? Pet owners have been raving about the Thundershirt as a surefire method to ease animal anxiety. Place the shirt on your dog's back and attach with the chest and torso straps. The gentle pressure seems to calm them, somewhat like swaddling for a newborn. Who knew? $36 at www.thundershirt.com.
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• Talk about the cat's meow. Just wait until your feline friend tries to pounce on or chase the pattern created by this laser toy. You can put down the FroliCat Boltfor an 15-minute automatic play session or move it manually. Any way you use it is sure to engage even the most independent kitty. $20 at Big Bad Woof in Washington, or www.thebigbadwoof.com.
• Play hours of fetch with Planet Dog's Wood Chuck. The comfy cork handle makes gripping and throwing a breeze, and the four-pronged claw means easy pickup and slobber-free hands. A ball made of recycled material is included. $25 at www.planetdog.com.
• Orvis has come up with this portable pup tent, perfect for camping your pet inside or out. Pull on the handles, and it pops open, umbrella-style. When it's not in use, stow it in its own storage bag. Sturdy construction of nylon and fiberglass rods adds to its allure. $104, small; $109, medium; $124 large at www.orvis.com.
• Love your cat but not its hair all over the house? Missouri-based pet-grooming products company FURminator offers cutting-edge solutions, such as this tool for cats, designed to control shedding and prevent hairballs. See www.furminator.com for its line of de-shedding tools for cats and dogs.