When it comes to Christmas, I can’t help but spoil my dogs with gifts.
Over the years I’ve given my dogs a number of different toys and contraptions, with only a few getting positive reviews. If you’re wondering what to give your pet for Christmas, here are some ideas that may be worth your while, and your wallet!
You honestly can’t go wrong with a plush toy. My dogs respond best to durable, large plush toys with numerous squeakers. Last year I bought a K9 Tuff Dragon at PetSmart, from what I remember it was around $25-30, but my dogs still play with it today. It’s been a year, and so far my Labrador Retriever Daisy has a hole by the nose from playing tug of war with my Poodle Baxter. They also enjoy tearing toys apart every now and then, and Walmart usually has plastic stockings filled with assorted toys that I usually pick up to share between everyone, they’re also Christmas themed! Few tips with toys: make sure all the tags and stickers are removed before your pet gets them, be cautious giving toys with stuffing (you never know when your dog is going to decide to eat it), and ensure the toy is the appropriate size for your pet!
Kongs come in handy all year round, especially while you’re gone to work and your pooch is home by themselves. They come in a variety of sizes, colours, life-stages, and can be used for treats and meal times with wet/dry food, or even some pet-safe human food. I fill up Baxter, Daisy, and Toby John’s kongs 1-2 times a week, and they usually get it in the mornings before we all leave for work for the day. I fill the kongs with the wet food, my go-to is Royal Canin Gastrointestinal Low Fat canned food as my dogs love it, and I freeze them overnight just to make it interesting for them. I’ve heard of people filling them with peanut butter as well, (just make sure it’s free of Xylitol), as well as different fruits and vegetables. Before placing anything in the kong, read up on the ingredients and make sure they’re non-toxic and are pet-friendly. You can also contact your veterinarian for advice. Trust me, and your dog would love a kong!
A new collar/bandana is another option for your dog. I recently got new collars for Baxter and Daisy from Wilder Collars and Bandana’s locally made! She handmakes her products, creates her own unique patterns/designs, and caters to events/seasons. Daisy (obviously) got a collar with daisies, and I really love the nautical theme, so Baxter got a whale themed collar in red! What I love about WC+B is the variety of designs/styles. I find going to different pet stores in the city, and you see a lot of the same brands/designs; you can literally pick your own design at WC+B. Collars can wear and tear over time, get dirty, and you don’t have to stick with the same one time over time, and you can accessorize with a bandana. You can even order friendship bracelets, which is a collar style bracelet for you, matching your dog’s collar, sweaters, scarves, and much more. It’s the perfect idea!
Some of you pet owners may be considering investing in a DNA test for your dog, I know I was. I adopted Baxter from the SPCA St. John’s September of 2017. I was informed that he came from a registered breeder in New Brunswick, but I never knew for sure what breed he was. He looks like a full bred Miniature Poodle, but some people had mentioned over time that he resembled other breeds. For my own curiosity, I went looking for a DNA test kit. I came across the Embark DNA test, which is a DNA test for your dog, but it performs other health tests with your dogs DNA sample. I figured why not? I waited for it to go on sale, purchased it for $170 (I know, sounds like a lot), waited 3 months for the results, and got all my answers. He was cleared for 100+ health ailments, and it was determined that he is 80% Miniature Poodle, his parents and grandparents being Miniature Poodles as well. The other 20% consisted of Bichon Frise, Lhasa Apso, and Maltese. There are also questionnaires for research that can be filled out, as well as detailed information on the breed. Safe to say I was very impressed with the company. A DNA test may sound like a gift to yourself, but the pet also benefits from the results as well!
A dog bowl water bottle is something I never knew I needed until I bought. I purchased the AquaDog from Bed, Bath, and Beyond a year ago, which is for anyone who doesn’t know, is a water bottle/dog bowl combo. For anyone who commutes with their pet, hikes, goes for walks, or even just a trip to the vet, the AquaDog is an easy way to give your dogs water, and it doesn’t make a mess. You just fill up the bottle, squeeze it, and water fills the bowl attached. The water doesn’t go back in the bowl, so any water left behind can just be dumped. With multiple dogs and my lifestyle, the AquaDog has come in handy more than once.
Whatever you decide to get for your pets this holiday season, ensure to conduct research and follow any safety tips that may follow. As always, call your veterinarian for any further advice or questions!
Witten by: Chelsea Corrigan, Veterinary Assistant