The Ultimate Pet Gift Guide for the Holidays by Denise Petryk, DVM
We weren’t surprised to hear that 95% of pet owners surveyed in a recent Rover.com survey get Christmas gifts for their pets. For many of us, pets are part of the family and we want to make them feel special. They certainly deserve a gift, considering how successful they are at helping us relax, lowering our blood pressure and giving us a better sense of well-being. It only seems fair that we take the time to spoil them.
The following are my favorite gifts for dog lovers and cat enthusiasts, including suggestions that will help your beloved companion stay healthy and live better life:
Cat and Dog Gifts with Brains and Brawn
- Brain-Teasing Toys: These toys keep your pet occupied and entertained, which makes for a happy animal. These are a great way to help stimulate your pet’s mind and alleviate boredom.
- Active Toys: These can range from a new tennis ball or mouse toy to a backyard agility set. Toys that keep you and your pet active are great for the whole family and help to keep your pet healthy.
Pet Food Gift Ideas
- Slow-Eating Bowls: For the dog or cat that always gulps and eats way too fast, research slow eating bowls. There are many types that range from bowls that look like they have bumps in them to mazes to actual eating games. They will entertain your pet and help them eat at a safer pace.
- A Drinking Fountain: This is ideal to encourage your cat and dog to drink more. Many cats prefer running water. Just like us, they should likely drink more water every day.
Pet Accessory Gift Ideas
- An Embroidered Collar, New ID Tag, and Microchip: That way you know they can always find their way home. Pick a design that will look great on your pet!
- A New Bed: Treat your pet to a new soft bed that helps them with arthritis or keeps them warm in the winter. There are a number of fancy pet beds fit for a king or queen.
- Pet Furniture: Window seats, scratching posts, cat trees and cozy kennels keep your pet entertained and comfortable!
Pet Health Gift Ideas
- Medical Coverage for your pet: A must-have for every responsible pet owner, this will help your pet get the best care and treatment, giving you invaluable peace of mind no matter the time of year.
- A Thundershirt: This wrap is designed to help comfort your pet during anxious situations, such as storms, trips to the veterinarian, car rides (especially for cats), and fireworks.
Pet Grooming Gift Ideas
- Grooming accessories: Look for a FURminator de-shedding tool, dog or cat brushes, high quality clippers (example: Wahl Arco Cordless), and sharp toe-nail clippers or a dremel. A trip to the pet spa or groomer is a great way to pamper your pet and keep them in top condition.
- Tooth Care and Treats: Your pet’s dental health is important and you can stuff their stocking with anything from dental chews to a new tasty pet-friendly toothpaste—they even have chicken flavor!
The Best Gift of All: Your Time and Companionship
If you have the resources and space in your home, why not consider rescuing another dog or cat? There is great statistical evidence to show that cats are healthier if they have a canine companion (especially if they are raised with a dog). Although there is no good study to prove dogs are happier whether with a cat or with another dog, I think my family of two dogs and three cats all seem to enjoy each other’s company and certainly keep me entertained as they interact with each other. Far too many healthy dogs and cats—purebred and mixed breed—need homes. Giving a pet a great forever home is the best gift you can give.
- Time to Train: Teach them the basics like sit, stay, come, wait, and also take the time to socialize your pet so they are comfortable in new situations and with touch. That way, they can be quiet and comfortable anywhere they go—including the vet’s office. When your pet is able to sit still for an exam and allow their eyes, ears, mouth, feet, toenails, nose, and tail to be handled, they can receive the most thorough examinations and treatment.
- Time to Provide Great Care: Take your pet to the groomer, the veterinarian, and to regular socialization opportunities, and for regular exercise (including your cat!). Give the gift of great health by developing a relationship with a veterinarian that you know and trust so you can get great personalized advice for your pet.
Some of my warmest Christmas memories of the past involve my dear Cairn Terrier rescue cross named Foster. He loved, absolutely loved tearing open gifts, no matter who they belonged to. His gifts were standard dog gifts like dog cookies, a new chew toy, or a new soft teddy bear, but the most important thing I ever gave Foster was time. Time every day for a walk or a vigorous session of fetch in the yard, time for a good grooming and toe nail trim, and time to go for a car ride to the beach—and in his final days, time to take him to veterinary specialists when he developed cancer.
Taking great care of a pet takes a lot of time, so my #1 gift I hope you give your pet this Christmas and beyond is time! Whether you have a new puppy, kitten or a new rescue pet of any age, take the time to do the following:
Do you have any other great pet gift suggestions? Leave them in the comments below to share with other pet owners!