Christmas Gifts and Toys for Pets- The Good And The Bad7 min read
CHRISTMAS GIFTS AND TOYS FOR PETS
Dogs and cats are members of the family and that is why Christmas gifts and toys for pets is a no-brainer today! Many times you can ask a couple how many children they have and you will often get the following response: “Two dogs named Moe and Larry plus a cat named Fred”. I always smiled at work when I heard those words as I have been an advocate for animals throughout my life. I also have learned over the years that animal children are zillion times easier to raise than the human variety.
There are so many different types of gifts that can be purchased for either a dog or cat that it would be impossible to discuss each and every one of them. It is much easier to describe the gifts that are SAFE for pets and those that I have always had issues with.
You say you don’t have a pet yet but want a Christmas puppy or kitten under the tree? The best idea in those situations, if you have young children, is to wait till after the New Year celebrations have passed. Having a new puppy or kitten is like having a new infant in the house. There is a lot of care involved but the animal can easily be overlooked with so many things going on during the holiday season. Young animals are so small that they can easily be stepped on by people scurrying around. Buy a leash or a collar and put it in a Christmas box with a note that you will be getting a new furry creature in a few weeks. Children will be just as happy and full of anticipation.
TYPES OF CHRISTMAS GIFTS AND TOYS FOR PETS
Christmas gifts and toys for pets fall simply into two categories; good and bad. It is just as simple as that. Toys that are not safe for pets are those that can be swallowed and or irritate, puncture or tear the gastrointestinal tract. Soft rubber balls with a squeaker inside of them are bad news. The rubber can be ripped to shreds in a millisecond, swallow and passed but the metal squeaker can lodge in the intestinal tract. Murphy’s law was made just for veterinary medicine. If something bad happens it happens in spades. Pets can swallow anything. Do not assume that the huge raw hide chew could never cause problems. Dogs will chew a huge rawhide bone into smaller pieces. Each one of those could be swallowed and lodge in the intestinal tract.
One of the worst types of play toys to get dogs or cats are those that have string as a component of them. Look at the slideshow above. You will see several that have string attached to them. Cats, in particular, are fanatical about anything LINEAR. Anything that can form a straight line can and will be swallowed by any dog or cat. Take a look at the shot of the cat playing with the colorful yarn. The Chinese Crested dog to the right is smart to stay away. In my Ohio practice, I once had a small dog presented with the string of a balloon hanging out of its mouth. The string was swallowed with the helium balloon still floating around. The owner had just had a birthday party for a child. All of these objects form linear foreign bodies that require surgery to correct. The dog with the balloon did just fine after I finished the surgical procedure.
The best Christmas gifts and toys for pets are those that are relatively large and durable. Examples of those can be seen in the slideshow above. Dogs love carrying around LARGE pieces of rope or the huge, hard rubber toy seen being carried by the retriever. Consider purchasing a bagful of pigs ears. For little dogs, you can cut them up into smaller pieces. Dental chews that have been impregnated with hydrogen peroxide can be purchased from your local veterinarian. They provide hours of fun for your dog and help create a healthy oral environment at the same time.
WHAT DO CATS WANT TO ENTERTAIN THEMSELVES WITH?
Cats are so picky that owners have been known to purchase 100 different types of cat food. All of them are still sitting in the closet. The cat refused to eat any of them. The same concept can be applied to this time of year. Christmas gifts and toys for pets, particularly cats, should be as simple as possible. If you want a gift that costs you nothing just throw a 12 pack soda carton on the floor and watch your cat spend hours playing and hiding inside of it! Remember, it’s the thought that counts.
A simple homemade perch with brackets can provide hours of viewing pleasure for your cat. Mount it below a window, put a soft pillow on top and watch your cat have fun! Cats love little fishing poles with a catnip mouse at the end. Cast the line and watch your cat reel in the catnip creature. Better yet buy your cat a handful of toys with catnip inside of them or a plastic bag of the real stuff. Not all cats get the almost immediate “high” from catnip. Some just sniff it and walk away. Feather toys with a handle (as shown in the carousel above) or attached to a stick will provide hours of pleasure for your cat. Remember the big thing about cats- that their socialization always relates back to hunting and catching prey. They learn this as young kittens stalking and pouncing on each other in between sleeping and nursing off of mom.
WHAT ABOUT FOODS FOR PETS?
People are tempted to purchase bags of doggy junk food for one reason. It is relatively cheap, their pet will love it plus it comes in a handy plastic bag ready to pull off of the local supermarket rack. Granted one bag will not hurt the animal but it will pack a slew of unnecessary calories. Better to dish out one a day for a treat rather than throw the bag at the dog. Dogs have a finicky GI tract. All dog owners eventually figure this out. Dogs do fine when they are fed the same thing daily. Add something to their diet that they are not used to and the trouble begins. Spicy holiday foods or tidbits of beef grilled outside might taste delicious sliding down the dog’s throat but can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
There are a million other different Christmas gifts and toys for pets that are not eaten or cannot be swallowed. Why not purchase: a new lead, new bed, a dog sweater, a safety car seat or back seat rack for your vehicle?
The best gift of all that you could give a dog or cat is your love and companionship. That gift is priceless and lasts a lifetime.