12 Days of Pet-mas: Habitat

The dog doesn't care what mat you put under her food and water bowls; she's too busy wolfing down kibble to notice. It's you who has to look at the mat, so why not get a clever one? Chiasso's Rodeo Pet Mat ($35; three colors) has a simple dog design in the center, and flares out in a bow-tie shape to accommodate bowls. It's made of vinyl, so it's easy to clean. (A more budget-friendly option: IKEA's Nackten bathmats. $2.99 a pop, and you can huck them into the washing machine. Stencil on a dog with a Sharpie first if you like.)

But if nothing's too good for your furry baby in the bed department, I'd recommend the Divine Donut Pet Bed (Soft Surroundings; starts at $69.95 for an XS donut). Choose between a velvet bed (four colors, three patterns) or cotton twill in toile (two colors); the bed's cover is machine-washable. I would have asked Santa for a black toile version for my cats if I didn't know for a fact that they would rather sleep 1) next to it or 2) in a cardboard box.

I think they'd sleep in a heated house, though (since one of them is stretched full-length on the radiator right now). Hammacher Schlemmer's version is quite possibly nicer than my own house: a 20-watt heater in the floor keeps it toasty, but not too hot (and you can remove it if you like); the foam floor is waterproof, as is the pitched roof; and it has a front AND back door. You'll need an outdoor outlet, and $129.95.

There's cozy outdoor housing for our feathered friends at Uncommon Goods -- felt birdhouses made by fair-trade Nepalese artisans. The mushroom, birch, and hermit-hut habitats maintain shape for at least one year outdoors, and can last much longer inside ($24).

And for fish, treat them to a stay in a fancy "hotel" from Crate & Barrel ($29.95). It's a modernist cube about 10" around; you can remove the inner bowl to clean it. Stack a few of them for a nifty skyscraper.

Further reading:
Help animals in need this holiday
9 pets you CAN buy for Christmas!
The top dog names of 2011