A dog wearing a pink coatIt may seem a tad early to start thinking about the holidays, but for the “do it yourself” crafty types, now is the time to start planning. For those of us who love our pets, gifts for other pet lovers on our lists seem to be some of the most fun to create.

But, who wants another knitted dog sweater or cat coffee mug?

To give you a bit of inspiration when planning your next craft session, The Pet Experts at Elmhurst Animal Care Center have come up with a few of our favorite ideas for those who adore their fur companions.

Eight Creative Gifts for the Pet Lovers on Your List

Whether you are handy with a hammer, fierce with the knitting needles, or skilled in the visual arts, there is a gift to be made by you.

Handmade gifts are heartfelt and unique, and allow you to really focus on the recipient’s love for his or respective pet. It’s also just pretty satisfying to make gifts instead of relying on readymade store-bought stuff.

Here are eight of our favorite pet-oriented gift ideas for the animal fanatic.

  1. Dog (or cat) mansion – Forget the standard outdoor dog house, this is an indoor work of art where dogs or cats alike can cozy up. You can get really creative with the design, including adding second stories, a rooftop deck, or bridges (cats will love this!).
  2. Ornate pet feeding stations – Whether you go with colorful tile or decorative wrought iron, a feeding station will be a practical gift for any pet and will allow him or her to feast in true style.
  3. Framed pet silhouettes – If you have a few side profile portraits of your friend or family member’s pet, silhouettes are a wonderful sure-to-be-cherished gift that can be framed and proudly displayed.
  4. Personalized pet quilts – These comfy quilts can be made for the pet or the pet owner. To make it truly special, you can add a few blocks with the pet’s portrait or paw print.
  5. Animal stamped scarf – For the stylish pet lover, you can choose an animal near and dear to her heart and create a stamped pattern on silk, linen, or similar fabric. A purrfect gift for winter!
  6. Donation in his or her honor – This isn’t exactly artsy-craftsy, but is a much-needed and appreciated choice in gift giving. Just select your friend’s animal charity of choice (and, many nonprofits will send a card to notify the recipient of the special gesture).
  7. Knitted, felted, or crocheted animals – From Scotty dogs to pretty parakeets, plush animals are adorable. And, you are never too old for stuffed animals. Never.
  8. Picture perfect – Have mad camera skills? Offer a portrait session with your friend or family member and his or her pet, and then frame some of the favorites or design a collage or scrapbook to be adored for years to come.

No matter what gift you choose to make, it will be sure to be appreciated by your pet loving recipient, since it is handmade and from the heart.

And, before you wrap your creation, be sure to take a photo. We would love to see your handiwork.