Now that the Thanksgiving Day tryptophan infusion has worn off (perhaps I'm assuming too much), it's time to get down to the business of shopping for the December holidays. I mean, we live in America (many of us, anyway), so consumerism is a cultural touchstone, is it not? And now that you're clustered with family members (whether you like it or not), shopping is probably on your agenda this Black Friday.
To that end, I've been trying hard to get together a reasonable list of fun items that you, my Fully Vetted readers, might appreciate. The USA Today people got one list, my Miami Herald readers, another. You, however, are the toughest crowd. Most of you already know all the cool new toys, tasty treats and funky duds that are on offer.
Me? I'm a little late to the party. "I've been busy," is my excuse. But I do have some ideas. Here's my very non-traditional list, just for you (though I am stealing some items from my other Black Friday columns ... just because I'm so in love with them):
1) Pet food upgrade (almost home-cooking)
You've been meaning to start home-cooking for your pets but you just can't get there. It's not the money, really (though that may be a factor), it's more to do with the time and effort of it. And I get that. Though I have a penchant for laboring over the stove and a liking for the slowest kind of food imaginable, I understand that it's not for everyone.
To that end, I've identified the closest thing to home-made food: The Honest Kitchen. I'm sure there are other outlets for almost-home-cooked pet foods, but this is one I happen to trust on the basis of its recommendation by my BFF, Gina Spadafori over at PetConnection. If Gina loves it after visiting the HK facilities ... I've gotta be a big fan, too.
2) Commitment to animal exercise through toys
Are you getting or giving the X-Box Kinect thing this year? I am. (I hope my 12 year-old doesn't read this post.) In case you don't know about this great new X-Box 360 add-on, it's the motion-sensing gadget you can exercise to, dance with, or play games on — without the widget-y thing the Wii requires. I, for one, am looking forward to it, seeing as I've been wanting a Wii forever but have been wedded to the Microsoft platform. (Assassin's Creed be damned!)
But I digress ... because this post is definitely about pets — and not about your own [or your offspring's] personal fitness. Pet fitness, however, is the issue. It's time, whether you can fess up to it or not, to accept the fact that your pets need more exercise.
OK, so you K9 agility devotees, lizard-hunting cat owners, and otherwise-athletic animal people get a pass. Everyone else listen up, because you NEED to do something, longevity being correlated with exercise and all (in humans anyway, so extrapolate with me if you will).
So what do you do? Invest in animal toys; all kinds. Though the doggie hamster wheel thing is indeed a doable thing if you've got 350 bucks to burn, I strongly recommend you go old-school and stick to the promise of one play-inciting, five-dollar toy every week for the rest of the year. Or one $20 toy a month. Sure, I know that's about $250 a year, but toys are fun!
Btw, PLEASE tell us about your favorite toys in the comment section below. We absolutely NEED your know-how here.
3) Presents for pet-people
Here's a category of gifting that acknowledges the obvious: Pet people love pet-themed gifts. In this realm, I can offer you plenty of options. From iPad and iPhone apps (like Laser Kitten and Kitty Carnage) to pet "clothing" (I love Dublin Dog collars, especially their durable plastics and holiday-wear varieties).
Tags are also on my hot-hot-hot holiday list. I adore the Rockin' Dog pewter personalize-able tags and charms for both dogs and cats. I especially like the fact that many of these pet tags offer matching jewelry for the humans that love them.
MIcrochips also made my Miami Herald and USA Today lists but what can I say? Though no one likes an extra trip to the vet (much less a fourteen gauge needle), getting pets back home again is part of my schtick.
Now it's your turn. Because I plan to offer you some updated holiday gift info sometime next month, I'm especially keen to get your favorite ideas for this year's holiday pet-gifting season.
Dr. Patty Khuly