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Pups Panting for 'Pawlished' Nails

As if frilly bows and styled fur weren't enough, now the most posh pooches can prance around with polished toenails.

With Sept. 21 to 27 marking National Dog Week (search), pup owners can take pet pampering to the next level thanks to "Pawlish" nail polish for dogs — the latest offering from high-end nail care company OPI (search).

"There are hotels for dogs, massages for dogs — why not nail polish for dogs?" said Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, OPI's executive vice president. "People spend more money on their dogs than on their children sometimes."

So after Fifi the poodle is bathed, shaved, brushed and coiffed, she can have her exposed nails painted pink, red, silver, blue, purple or green — preferably whatever matches the bow on her head.

"They went crazy for this," said Weiss-Fischmann, describing early response to the polish. "People treat their dogs like people."

But others found the idea of painting a dog's nails completely absurd.

"That is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard of," said Cristina Barden of Long Island, N.Y. "I mean, please. What the hell is the matter with our value system?"

Not surprisingly, the company plans to target the Hollywood set among its potential Pawlish customers. It's hosting a star-studded launch event in November with Much Love Animal Charity — which has a long list of celebrity donors.

"They take their dogs seriously," Weiss-Fischmann said of the rich and famous.

The Pawlish is quick-drying, nontoxic and thick — so it only requires one coat. And when it starts to chip, OPI sells "It's Dog Gone! Pawlish Remover" and "Paw Pads Wipes."

Though OPI is the first major beauty company to market nail polish for pets on a wide scale, groomers have long offered "pet-i-cures" to their four-legged clients.

Groomer Vickie Zwart, who owns Heritage Pet Grooming in Parker, Colo., has been painting doggie nails for 15 years — charging $3 for small pups and $5 for large ones.

"Painting the toenails is just an easy way to spice up life," Zwart said. "It's very popular around the holidays." Some dogs get their nails alternately done in green and red for Christmas.

But not everyone is panting over the painted paws trend.

"Dogs don't really need this stuff because they are already beautiful and loving, both inside and out, without being gussied up," said People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) (search) in a statement.

Though pet-friendly polishes can technically also be used on cats, feline owners and groomers aren't purring at the thought.

"I don't see any reason to do it for a cat," Zwart said. "Their nails retract right into their toes. You wouldn't see them unless they're getting ready to slash you."

The OPI Pawlish, which retails for $9.95 a bottle, is packaged in a cardboard doghouse that barks at passing customers and comes in colors with names like "Poodle Pink," "Fire Hydrant Red," and "Doghouse Blues."

"We're so stressed out, and life is so hard lately. You want to have a little bit of levity," said Weiss-Fischmann of the fanciful colors.

But Barden said pet polish is too over-the-top. "I know you can pamper your pets, but painting the toenails? Come on. That's a little too much for me."

So what do the dogs think? Weiss-Fischmann has tested the Pawlish on her own two pups, with mixed results.

Her black toy poodle went bow-wow over her "Pink Poodle" toes.

"She was born to have a pedicure — she loves it," said Weiss-Fischmann. "She gets pink bows in her hair and pink nails. It's a riot. It's one of those L.A. moments."

But there was no excited tail-wagging from the medium-sized Hungarian Vizsla (search).

"She wasn't thrilled," Weiss-Fischmann said. "She loves to hunt. It's not her style."