Who puts their pets on their holiday shopping list? I know I do! I don't have children, so my pets are my kids. In fact, I've already bought several things for them and have had to hide them well as the cats quickly find the catnip toys!
When buying gifts for your pets, consider environmentally enriching toys. For cats, consider a cat tree or other cat scratcher. Cats love to be up high, and even declawed cats will flex their paws on items like they are scratching. Laser pointers are great to help your cat exercise and work on that prey drive. Be nice, and don't run your cat into walls! Also allow your cat to 'catch' the laser now and then. Feather wands and other toys that move on their own are fun as well. And of course, the catnip toys. What cat can resist a brand new catnip toy!
For dogs, Kong items are a good choice, as they can be filled with peanut butter, canned cheese, water (and frozen), or stuffed with food and sealed with peanut butter or Kong stuffing. Kongs in the appropriate size for the pet are durable toys. Consider the chewer in the dog when buying things like rope toys, stuffed animals, etc. Nobody wants to spend Christmas at the Emergency vet after their dog ate his Christmas present.
Stay away from hard items like Nylabones and deer antlers, as many dogs will fracture their chewing teeth on them (this equals a trip to the vet for anesthesia and extraction of the broken tooth). No pig ears, hooves, or bully sticks, as they are basted and can cause salmonella or e.coli infections.
Birds and pockets pets also enjoy new cage toys and hideouts. Birds, especially, may take a few days or even longer to accept a new item in the cage. But give it time and it'll be the new favorite. For ferrets, anything new is fun and exciting! Guinea pigs and Rabbits need to chew and nibble constantly to keep their ever growing incisors short and trim. Toys for them to nibble on are enriching.
Many people get pets new treats as a gift. As with treats every other day of the year, give them in moderation. And no human food as treats!
If you want to give your friends' pets a gift, ask your friend what kind of gift would be appropriate. A gift card to the pet store is always a good idea!
As for the animal lovers in your life, consider a gift card to the pet store, or even a gift certificate to their veterinarian. Many pet people would appreciate a donation to an animal shelter or wildlife center in their name. There's a website called The Animal Rescue Site with lots of gift ideas for pets and animal lovers, and a portion of all sales goes to feed homeless animals-win win!
At Suburban, we have Pet Odor Eliminator Candles in a variety of holiday, fall, and everyday scents. At $9.95, they are perfect for any pet owner, or even as a hostess gift at your next holiday party (hint-they help with more than just pet odors...and they smell great!).
One gift to NEVER give during the holidays is a live pet. A person should go personally to pick out a new pet once he or she has determined that they have the time, space, money and resources to support a new pet for the life of the pet. Pocket pets live 6 months -8 years, dogs live 10-15 years, and cats live 15-20 years. Fish have a variety of lifespans and tank requirements, as do birds with size and cage requirements. If a person has hinted at being ready for a new pet, consider a gift card for pet supplies, or offer to go with the person to pick out a new pet and pay part of the adoption fee.
Many parents opt to get their kids a new pet for Christmas. A few things must be considered before doing this:
1) Parents are ultimately responsible for the well-being of the pet. So if the kids don't do their job and feed the pet, scoop the litter box or walk the dog, the parent must see that it gets done, even if it means doing it his/herself.
2) Having a pet is like having another child. They take time and money, and in the case of a dog especially, behavior training.
3) Kids often lose interest in the pet once the novelty wears off.
4) Good first kids' pets include Guinea Pigs and Rats. Hamsters and Gerbils do NOT make good kids pets are they are not as personable or friendly guinea pigs and rats. Young ferrets are apt to bite and must be taught not to.
5) Kids must be supervised with any pet at all times. They must be taught how to handle the pet and how to behave around the pet.
6) Before you get your 10 year old a kitten for Christmas, consider the fact that in 8 years, that child will be going off to college. Now who gets the cat?
Hope everyone has a great Holiday Season! Suburban Animal Clinic will be closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve, and New Year's Day.