It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Most of us thoroughly enjoy giving and receiving gifts during this magical season. But, while you’re making your lists and checking them twice, did you remember to include your four-legged friends in your shopping plans? We’ve got you covered with our favorite, fresh ideas to keep your pets fit, cozy, and having fun. For added entertainment, try wrapping your pet’s gifts, and letting them go to town uncovering their new finds. Of course, you’ll need to monitor this activity, as paper, bows, and strings could become hazardous if ingested by an overzealous pet. Here are seven of our top gift ideas for pets.
#1: A replacement for your pet’s favorite toy
What better way to entice your pet than with a new version of their favorite toy? We all know that our furry friends love their toys—sometimes a little too much. As toys age, they not only lose their function, but they also become dangerous. For instance, plush squeaker toys may become a choking hazard when your pooch finally discovers the source of that delightful noise inside their soft toy. Cat teaser wands can become frayed, and while the resulting strings may encourage play, they could become entangled in your pet—or worse, entangled in their gut, if swallowed. Tennis balls and other chew toys should be replaced regularly, so they don’t become a choking hazard for pets and tiny people alike.
#2: Tasty—but different—pet treats
Nothing says “holiday tradition” like delicious dishes and sweet treats. While most foods that we enjoy during the holidays are not pet-safe, you can choose from plenty of pet-appropriate options. Choose new treat varieties to put under the tree this year, or consider baking and serving up a special batch of pet-approved snacks. Many pet owners opt for long-lasting rawhides, and while these are not discouraged, you’ll need to monitor your pet while they chew, as they could choke on small pieces that they break off.
#3: New pet collar and leash
Is there a better way to ring in the new year than with some exercise equipment for you and your pet? Replace your pet’s collar, leash, or harness that has seen better days, taking the time to choose the right size and style for you and your pet. For instance, brachycephalic (i.e., flat-nosed) dog breeds should only be fitted for harnesses rather than neck collars. Retractable leashes may be great for casual walks, but can be cumbersome for owners who like to jog or hike with their pets. Cats should always be fitted with a quick-release neck collar that does not entrap them while climbing or jumping about. Whichever style you choose, we hope some new gear will encourage good exercise habits for you and your furry friend.
#4: A feeder or toy that will puzzle your pet
Toys and feeders that encourage pets to slow down at mealtimes are great gift ideas for those who tend to chow down too quickly. Puzzle bowls slow down feeding, because pets must work around small obstacles and contraptions to get their food. This not only encourages better digestion, but also stimulates your pet’s brain, helping keep their mind and body sharp. If your pet already has a puzzle feeder, consider a puzzle toy where you can hide a favorite toy or treat for a fun game.
#5: New bedding to comfort your pet
A cozy new place to lie low is a fabulous gift idea for any pet—the most active dogs and cats need a place to curl up and rest after a day of fetching, seeking, and climbing. Consider your pet’s size, and choose a new bed that is neither too big nor too small. If your pet likes being in small enclosures, consider a bed with sides and a top for the ultimate cozy experience. Have an older pet, or one with arthritis? Try a therapeutic or self-warming bed that will provide some relief.
#6: Dental care products that will brush up your pet’s smile
If you’re looking for a more practical gift for your furry friends this year, look no further than the local pet store’s dental aisle. Dental disease is one of the most commonly diagnosed conditions in pets, but an adequate at-home oral hygiene routine can help prevent your pet from becoming another statistic. Choose from dental chews, oral rinses, wipes, and toothbrushes with the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) approval label.
#7: The best pet gift of all—veterinary care
What is the ultimate gift you can give your pet this year? Routine veterinary care. As your pet’s advocate, you have the power to help them be as healthy as they can be.
At Kennedy Heights Animal and Bird Hospital, we’re here to help give your pet their ultimate gift. From wellness examinations, to immunizations, to screening tests, when you offer your pet regular preventive care, you offer them more than a tangible toy—you’re giving them the gift of life. Contact us today, to find out more about our wellness care, and to set up an appointment.