From cats and dogs to parakeets and ferrets, pet owners consider their furry or feathered friends part of the family.

And just like any other relative, pets deserve the best care possible, which includes occasionally getting spoiled and pampered by affectionate owners. These local pet care establishments provide an array of products and services, from grooming and health care to glamorous boarding while the owners are away.

Most people are familiar with the advantages of daycare for their children, but what about for pets? When owners are out of town, or even at work, they want to know that their four-legged friends are well cared for. Puppy Love (2630 Edenborn Ave., Metairie; 267-7877; www.puppylovenola.com) offers just such services, not to mention training and bathing. Owner Angela Portera has more than 10 years experience in training and rescue and has segued that passion into an interactive doggie daycare. Dogs can experience off-leash play in 4,400 square feet of grass, socialization and practical training and skills. Puppy Love separates daycare dogs by size and play style and also offers playroom televisions playing either cartoons or Animal Planet. Owners can also check in on their pets with a webcam during normal business hours.

Au Pair des Chiens (617 S. Clairborne Ave; 528-3747; www.neworleansdognanny.com), also offers daycare, boarding, training and grooming – all cage-free! Each dog gets individual, “play-centered” treatment, with feeding instructions and food provided by the owner to maintain the dogs’ usual diet. The maximum capacity is 40 dogs, meaning each dog is able to receive more individual attention, including petting, playing or brushing, with a low handler to dog ratio. Since dogs at Au Pair des Chiens are never kenneled, each must pass the “Dog Nanny’s” temperament test. The Dog Nanny never uses spray bottles for discipline (only cleanup) and offers a variety of durable, safe toys for the dogs to enjoy in the playroom.

Many pet lovers tend to treat their animals like humans – in that vein, Kim Dudek’s award-winning Belladonna Spa (for people) now has a branch just for pets: Belladoggie Resort Spa for Dogs (815 Washington Ave., 899-8500).

The 29,000 square foot facility, opening in June, will offer 21 suites in addition to regular kennels, daycare, grooming, retail, premium dog foods, teeth brushing, de-shedding, hand-scissoring and swimming. The facility will offer the rehabilitation and vet services also provided at Dudek’s third business, Dag’s House (5316 August Ave., Marrero; 218-7271), a facility for special needs dogs. Dag’s House provides housing and fitness as well as veterinary care, physical therapy, acupuncture and homeopathic and chiropractic care for injured or disabled dogs.

Canine Connection (4920 Tchoupitoulas St.; 218-4098; canineconnectionnola.com) is the perfect place for overworked owners to bring their pets – parents can drop off their dogs as early as 6 a.m. and pick up as late as 8 p.m.

In addition to daycare with five outdoor play areas and a dog swimming pool, boarding with webcam monitoring and professional grooming, Canine Connection and Canine Culture (same location as Canine Connection; 267-4143; www.canineculturenola.com) are also involved in local philanthropies. Events such as Barktoberfest and Toasts & Bunny Tails are held at Canine Connection, with a percentage of proceeds benefiting the LA/SPCA.

Canine Connection and Canine Culture also participate in LA/SPCA’s Dog Day Afternoon, Bark in the Park and other events. Their latest and greatest endeavor, however, is opening the NO Fleas Market, a resale shop supporting animal welfare. Donations can be made at Canine Connection and Canine Culture. Visit nofleasmarketnola.com for more information.

As any true pet lover knows, the most serious needs facing many animals today extend far beyond grooming. Many local animals face homelessness and abuse, but thanks to the Louisiana Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals (1700 Mardi Gras Blvd.; 368-5191; la-spca.org), helping save these animals is easier than ever. The LA/SPCA has 40 cats and dogs, all behavior-tested, available for adoption every day at its shelter. The adoption process is simple and includes visiting with the animal, completing an adopter survey, an adoption fee and having the animal spayed or neutered. All adoptions include vaccinations, de-worming, one month of heartworm prevention and several other services.

The LA/SPCA also offers three summer camps for kids, including Camp Luv-a-Pet for second and third graders, Care Cadet Summer Camp for sixth and seventh graders and a Veterinarians of the Future Training Camp for juniors or seniors in high school with a serious interest in veterinary medicine. Those interested in volunteering or becoming a member of the LA/SPCA can visit la-spca.org.

For the outdoorsy dog (and which isn’t?), Camp Bow Wow (2731 Tchoupitoulas St.;
891-3647; www.campbowwow.com), offers a true summer camp feel, complete with camp counselors, cabins and “Bedtime Campfire Tasty Treats.” Camp Bow Wow even offers a “Camper of the Month” award, given to animals with such accomplishments as perfect attendance, good behavior and overall personality. Open 365 days a year, the facility has some unconventional suggestions for when to use doggie day care: when planning an event and the owner doesn’t want the dog to be cooped up during the party, when a family member with allergies comes in town or even for a couple looking for a late night date and wanting the house (or bed) to themselves – there are more reasons than people realize to give dogs a vacation too! The camp is also passionate about their Bow Wow Buddies Foundation, a social interaction and exercise program that helps dogs adapt to rescue and become more adoptable.

A motto of theirs is “You can’t change the world by adopting a dog, but you can change the whole world for that dog.”

While all pets love to be pampered, there are much more basic needs that owners also need to be aware of, such as health and medical care. Prytania Veterinary Hospital (4907 Prytania St.; 899-2828; www.prytaniavet.com), works to promote a healthy lifestyle in animals, as well as regular preventative care. Prytania’s five veterinarians on staff focus on minimizing anxiety and discomfort and maximizing compassion for animals during treatment. Services available for dogs and cats include wellness care and immunizations, senior pet care, surgery, dental care, emergency and critical care, radiology, ultrasound, behavioral advice and nutritional advice.

With the recent oil disaster affecting each of our lives, many people may be wondering how they can help. One surprising way that pets and pet owners can provide assistance is by getting their dogs groomed at Prytania Veterinary Hospital or Pet Paradise (45 East Airline Dr., Kenner; 467-5226). They are donating all dog hair clippings (One pound of dog hair can soak up one quart of oil in one minute) to disaster relief from the oil spill.