Dog days

PA Photo/Handout
PA Photo/Handout

As a nation of pet lovers, we shouldn’t need an excuse to shower love and attention on our furry friends - but just in case you do, National Pet Month, which runs until May 4, is the perfect opportunity to spruce up your pooch’s pad or your cat’s crib.

Almost half of UK households has a pet, with dogs and cats our most popular four-legged friends - in fact, it’s estimated that around 8.5 million canines share our homes, along with a similar number of felines.

If you’re not a pet owner, however, you can still wag - sorry, bag - yourself some creature comforts, as there’s a whole zoo’s worth of homeware featuring dog and cat-themed prints and details. Not only are pets proven to have a positive impact on our health and wellbeing, it seems they offer a wealth of inspiration for decor and design, too.

“As firm dog lovers, we decided to launch a nationwide competition with AGA owners, to find out what breed of dogs are the most popular,” says Caroline Smith, commercial manager at AGA Cookshop.

“After receiving over 500 responses, in the form of beautiful images and stories from AGA owners up and down the country, the Top Dog print was born from the top eight breeds, including labrador, spaniel and dachshund.

“This stylish and innovative print is our latest addition to our AGA Cookshop range of kitchen textiles.”

The charming range includes aprons, gauntlets, oven gloves, tea towels and chefs pads.

It’s not unusual for some designers to go one step further and create a tableware range that’s inspired by their very own new pooch. Cath Kidston has devoted a new china range to her much-loved white Scottie, Billie, who obviously loves teatime and appears on biscuit jars that could double up as doggie treat containers.

As for little Rover or Kitty, furnishing them these days doesn’t have to be all about practicality. If your pooch is your prince then a grand Louis XV1 Style Dog Bed, complete with a velvet surface that’s been treated with a water and dirt-resistant layer, would certainly impress posh paws and top cats.

According to a survey by Astar Pets, one in six people admit to spending more on presents for their pet than for their partner, with 66% buying their animal birthday gifts.

“Our dog is very much part of the family, and happily rests her gorgeous head on a Louis XVI bed which she was given for her birthday last month,” says interiors designer Joanna Wood. “ This elegant bed, featuring a carved solid oak frame and luxurious navy velvet, is incredibly chic and fit for the most royalist of dogs!”

Wayne Clarke, creative director at And So To Bed, agrees: “Our beautiful Nautilus pet bed oozes style and elegance, a miniature take on our classic sleigh bed inspired by the classic shape of the nautilus shell, featuring carvings of fish scales, shells and scrolls.

“Crafted from solid timber and finished in a luxurious silver leaf, this is the ultimate pet bed to keep your four-legged prince or princess content.”

Of course, your pet might reign supreme at home, but that doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily have a budget to match. That needn’t breed resentment, however, as there are plenty of smaller, less expensive items, such as brightly coloured bowls and ornamental bird cages (with or without a feathered friend), that will still please those animal instincts.