Pet passion takes on a new meaning with animal owners dressing up their cats and dogs in stylish clothes and accessories. With the influx of pet toys and food, the present crop of pets couldn't care less about chasing butterflies in the garden or digging around for a bone.

He likes to loll in luxury. A ragged rug is just not good enough for him to sprawl on. A special bed and cat house is his ‘basic' requirement. As you can see, two-and-a-half-year-old Google, a Persian cat, is a total divo (male equivalent of diva). Keerthana, Google's owner, laughs and says, “He won't even eat the cat food that's available here. I have to specially get it from abroad.” Pets today are a spoilt lot.

With the influx of pet toys and food, the present crop of pets couldn't care less about chasing butterflies in the garden or digging around for a bone. There are chew sticks and bones in a variety of flavours waiting in vibrant pet bowls while they entertain themselves with fancy toys. And not just that, with owners being fashion-conscious, some of the pets too get garbed in what's hot this season. The trend has really caught on, and if you thought only humans had online shopping options, you need to re-surf. There are many exclusively dedicated to pet fashion.

Puja Malhotra loves to dress up her five-year-old Labrador, Dodo. Outfits, hats, shades and shoes apart, this fashionista of a canine is also well-known for smelling great thanks to his collection of perfumes and deodorants that could well put a human to shame. “Every time we go abroad I shop for him too. He just loves fragrances,” says Puja.

But now, you don't have to fly overseas to get your four-legged companion the best in accessories. Stores in Chennai have been stocking up on designer leashes, collars, clothes and a blurring variety of shampoos, conditioners and toiletries. Veera Pet's Fashion World, owned by Dr. Saravanan is every animal owner's dream come true. He has something for every feline, bird, fish or even hamster. Engraved pendants, collars embossed with rhinestone and American diamonds, play devices involving brain work, T-shirts, hats, raincoats and shoes and almost everything that you would find in your closet and on your dressing table are making their way to your pet's stable. According to Dr. Saravanan shoes for pooches are a good idea when they are taken out for walks as they keep their paws germ-free. “Sometimes the owner may not clean the dog's paws and it may lick its germ-laden feet and develop a stomach infection or even spread the germs around the house.”

Though these pets look adorable in rockstar-like costumes, animal welfare groups feel that clothing pets in a hot and humid climate as ours could lead to dehydration. Dr. Saravanan says, “They are right and that is why the clothes we make are all in cotton and tight. They are not to be worn everyday and are meant for special occasions such as birthdays or parties. I also advice my clients on pet safety.”

Animal rights activists also believe that fragrances for animals may cause allergies. “Sometimes stores may sell perfumes that are meant for humans. They just put a dog sticker on it. Therefore it is advisable to always check the quality and opt for something that's chemical-free,” says Niranjan, PETA activist.

With the stress being on well-being, it's not just about looking good but feeling good too. So while you spend hours at the spa slathered in chocolate, your pet can also enjoy a reinvigorating massage at a pet spa.

Kabbs Pet Spa and Boutique, is the first of its kind in the city. Started by designer Sidney Sladen and friend Sundar Ramaswamy, Kabbs offers a range of services such as aromatherapy, massage, grooming and colouring ( you are not the only fashionable one…pets can get streaks and highlights too!). After being pampered they can also indulge in some retail therapy at the boutique. “We visited Singapore and Australia and did a lot of research before starting Kabbs. This industry has grown in spite of recession,” says Sundar.

With pets getting a swanky lifestyle, ‘dog days' takes on a whole new meaning.

Is it your pooch's birthday? Veera Pet's Fashion World has special cakes for him that are devoid of sugar, chocolate, cream and egg and loaded with energy supplements and chewies. It takes around three hours to bake them and can be made in any shape.

What's in your pet's closet?

Shiny, vivid custom-made collars and leashes, sun protection spray that prevents sun stroke, couches, beds in funky shapes and hues, water-bottles, designer combs, bows and clips, finger toothbrush, T-shirts, raincoats, hats and flashy footwear.

Keywords: animal fashionpets