We have a mutually beneficial relationship with our pets. Our dogs are our walking and play companions, our cats give us a reason to be still and “feel the vibration.” Security, warmth and love -- these are some of the reasons we love to have animals in our lives. So when it comes time to buy gifts for the ones we care most for, it’s kind of difficult to separate our animal companions from our human companions. While our pets might not know that it’s a holiday, we know, and this is one of those cases when the giving is better than the receiving. So what are you planning to get for your little (or big) companion this year? We have been giving it some thought here at PetMD HQ and came up with a few ideas…
Yummy, But Healthy Treats
Holiday candies and chocolates are good for our human friends, because hopefully, they know how to moderate their consumption and share with others, but showering our pets with treats and goodies does not work out the same way. Their bodies are not built to effectively deal with the empty calories and fats. Look instead for healthy treats made with ingredients for joint health, skin and haircoat health, urinary tract health, tartar control … you get the idea. Even a little pot of catnip or grass will make a great gift for your cat.
Water fountains also make a superb gift for pets. The water is always circulating, keeping it fresher and cleaner. Some fountains even come equipped with a filter so that chemicals are cleared from the supply. Water fountains can be found almost any where pet products are sold, or they can be found at Internet shopping sites.
Toys and Games
Interactive toys are a great gift option for lots of reasons. Weather may make it difficult to get outside to exercise every day, or you may have an indoor only pet, or maybe your pet really needs to lose some weight and every little bit if extra activity counts.
For cats you can choose from laser pointers, ball or mouse wind-up chase toys, and feathers attached to hand-held wands. The main goal with cat toys is to keep their attention as long as possible and to keep them moving around. A lot of cat toys are made with catnip stuffing. They can be found in the shape of little cloth covered balls and fabric mice, and these types of little toys can keep a cat occupied for a while as they bat the toy around the floor, catching and releasing the toy again and again.
Dogs are generally easy to amuse since a big part of the fun for them is the interaction they are having with their humans. Chasing, running, and catch and return games, some dogs can play them for hours. In fact, it is usually the human that gives up the game first. Tugging ropes and nylon/rubber toys are great for challenge games and for young dogs’ teeth and muscles; thick rubber balls, designed for chewing, are great for rolling around on the floor; and don’t forget the classic squeaky toy, which comes in so many cute shapes you will probably have a tough time deciding which one to get.
Both cats and dogs enjoy a good brain teaser. Puzzle toys and balls that are designed to hold treats within, challenging the animal to figure out the puzzle in order to get to the treat, are a wonderful treat for any age or breed. The more interactive the toy is the better.
A Comfy Place to Rest
Older pets especially benefit from well made pet beds. As older age sets in, the bones are achier, the muscles a little weaker, the hair a little thinner. Lying on a cold hard floor just isn’t as easy as it was when they were younger, and a towel just won’t cut it after a certain age. There is a wide range of pet beds to choose from: There are enclosed beds, like miniature tents and tunnels, for pet that like a little privacy; raised beds, trees and window perches, which cats in particular appreciate; and big fluffy beds for resting achy old bodies on. There are also special orthopedic beds available for pets with joint problems, and heated beds for pets that sleep in cool locations or who have lost some of their natural ability to stay warm.
Almost all dogs and cats appreciate a nice massage, but older pets especially benefit from a full therapeutic massage. A nice cut, shampoo, and pedicure will also do wonders for your dog’s outlook. The gift of a deluxe grooming session will make your pet feel fresher, and will make his or her hair and skin healthier and stronger.
Image source: doviende / via Flickr