Holiday Gifts for Our Pets! by Joan H., OMHS member
Christmas and other seasonal holidays are right around the corner, and folks are rushing like mad to mail cards, decorate trees and houses, and buy gifts for family and friends. While you’re busy doing all these things, don’t forget your four-legged family and friends! Some gifts can be practical, but others can just be fun gifts that your animal companions will really enjoy. It’s not just kittens and puppies that like to play—you’d be surprised how much older animals also enjoy these activities! And you may just find out that the fun is really contagious for you, too!
Purchasing or making gifts for pets can be rather difficult, so the OMHS Adoption Coordinators for Cats have compiled a list that you may find helpful.
OMHS Suggestions for Cat and Kitten Holiday Gifts:
Laser lights: Everyone has seen these lights, and you’ve probably seen cats race around like mad in their efforts to catch that elusive little light. Your cat(s) will have fun chasing the light on the floors, walls, and wherever else you can shine the laser. And you won’t be able to stop laughing at their antics! Lots of fun for only $1.00 at The Dollar Store.
No catnip toys, please: Not all cats enjoy the smell of catnip, and cats sometimes become aggressive when affected by the catnip. Best to just avoid this plant.
Ball toys for cats: You’ll want to get a small ball for your cat. Some balls have a bell inside them, and these balls are OK for your cats. But don’t buy this kind of ball for your dog. The bell may fall out of the ball, and the dog could swallow the bell or even choke on it. Either way, you and your dog might find yourselves making an emergency trip to see the vet. Not a good way to spend Christmas—for your dog, you, and the vet!
Hand-made cat toys: These are fine as long as they are plain and have no sewn-on eyes, etc. Knitted or crocheted balls for cats to play with or cloth toys that are sewn together out of scrap fabric are fun. Other toys for playing are fine as long as they have NO strings on them, no sewn-on eyes, and no feathers. Swallowing these items could wreak havoc on your cat’s digestive system.
Cat Dancer toys: Excellent playthings for cats. (There are none available in Richland Center… PetSmart and MadCat in Madison have them.) The Dollar Store has a “kind” of cat dancer that would be safe for the cats.
Cardboard Scratching devices: Splendid gifts for cats. Cats enjoy scratching on them, and they can save your furniture.
Washable cat beds: Something like a “kitty cup” is a fine bed for cats who like a defined space. Cats love to curl up in these beds!
Food: Check with the cat's owner to find out what the feline prefers. Cats can be very picky about what they like to eat.
Temptations Cat Treats: These treats are acceptable to most cats, but some cats may have favorite flavors. Best to check with the cat’s owner to find out the feline’s favorites.
Used but clean and good blankets: (There’s no need to buy new ones!) They make excellent beds for cats. Cut the blanket into 20 x 24-inch-sized pieces, and give the cat several wonderful beds! Easy to wash when they get dirty!
Small stainless steel or china/glass food bowls: Fine for cats. Plastic food dishes are not good for cats… believe it or not, some cats have been known to develop acne from the plastic!
These suggestions should give you some ideas for the cats in your life. And don’t think that we’d forget those captivating canines! Here are some ideas that we’ve put together for man’s (and woman’s!) best friends.
OMHS Suggestions for Dog and Puppy Holiday Gifts
4- or 6-foot leashes: Ask the dog's owner what they prefer regarding color and length. (OMHS does not recommend retractable leashes.)
A nice bright collar: A collar with a matching leash will smartly accessorize even the most discriminating pooch.
Used, clean, and good blankets: Cut them into a size that is easily washed. (Again, don't buy new because the used blankets will work just fine.) Dogs just love to chew, and their beds are no exception! A recycled blanket cut to the dog's size works very well.
Stainless steel food and water bowls: Shiny new bowls will brighten up your dog’s food and water area.
Dog treats: Sweet potato treats are excellent because they help with good dental health for dogs. These are a wonderful chew experience for dogs!! Chet's Feed and Seed has these sweet potato chews. If you can have a good recipe for dog treats, you can make your own!
Knotted rope toys: Dogs love to chew, so these give them something satisfying to chew on and will, hopefully, keep them away from shoes, slippers, and furniture.
Knotted fleece fabric toys: Toys can be handmade by anyone who sews and has some fleece material scraps from sewing projects,
FYI: Ropes or other chew toys that have been much loved and much chewed can disintegrate, turning what was once a safe toy into a choking hazard. So if these toys are looking a little ragged, please throw them away, and give your pet something new to chew on.
Toys made of rubber or soft plastic: OK for chewing. NO SQUEAKERS in the toys, though. Can be very dangerous!! (See cat suggestion regarding bells in balls. The same precautions apply.)
KONG toys are good gifts. KONGs and other similar work-for-food toys can keep dogs engaged and mentally stimulated as they puzzle out how to get to the treat. Some veterinary clinics or pet departments have these toys. KONGs are available in a variety of sizes and shapes for dogs and puppies of all sizes.
FYI: Avoid purchasing nylabones or rawhide toys or treats. (The rawhides can carry salmonella, and biting off smaller pieces can cause choking. Nylabones are hard and can cause chipped teeth.)
Balls: Balls are perennial favorites for dogs, but make sure to select balls that are appropriate for your dog’s size and strength. Tennis balls work well for small-to-medium-sized dogs, but the balls could lodge in the throat of a larger breed. Your larger dog will enjoy a bigger ball and have lots of fun chasing and chewing it.
OMHS hopes these suggestions have been helpful to you and provided you with some practical ideas for giving gifts to your special companions. We wish you a very Happy Holiday Season!
Thank you for being careful
about the toys you give to pets!