Contributed by Sarah Wooten, DVM, CVJ.
Dr. Wooten’s Pet Gift Guide for This Holiday Season
It’s the time of year when everyone is hustling to buy holiday gifts for all their friends and loved ones, including their furry four-legged family members. Wondering what the best present is for your best friend? Toys that focus on emotional and cognitive enrichment make the ultimate holiday gifts. The best food gifts are those that also promote wellness in your pet. Here is my holiday pet gift guide that will not only make your fur kid happy, but also healthy!
K&H Thermo-Kitty Cat Bed
Did you know that a large percentage of older cats have undiagnosed arthritis? Providing a warm, quiet place to sleep can do a lot to help comfort an older kitty and help relieve aches and pains. A heated cat bed makes a wonderfully thoughtful Christmas cat gift. This K&H Thermo-Kitty Heated Cat Bed is just the thing to warm your kitty up on a cold winter’s day. I chose this bed because it is temperature-regulated and has a memory foam base that provides supportive cushioning to soothe achy joints.
Big Barker Bed
Speaking of beds, as a veterinarian I can’t say enough about much I recommend Big Barker Beds to pet parents with big dogs—I actually own two beds for my Goldendoodle! Big Barker big dog beds have been clinically proven to cushion dog’s joints and make excellent dog gifts. I’ve noticed that arthritic dogs who have trouble getting comfortable rest soundly on these beds, so they are really a nice way improve the quality of life for your dog.
PetSafe SlimCat Interactive Cat Feeder
For indoor cats, enrichment combined with a tasty food is the best Christmas cat gift! Chronic diseases found in indoor cats, such as obesity, feline interstitial cystitis and other behavioral issues, can be stymied by enriching your feline’s environment through the use of food puzzles. If you are not ready to hide toy mice around your house stuffed with kibble, try the PetSafe SlimCat Interactive Cat Feeder. This feeder offers multiple benefits, including slowing down eating to avoid the scarf and barf, controlling calories to allow for healthy weight management or weight loss, and stimulating the cat mentally, as she has to figure out how to hunt for her food. Bonus: it’s dishwasher-safe!
Frisco Cat Tree
To be healthy and happy, every indoor kitty needs a place to engage in normal feline behaviors, such as scratching, climbing, hiding and surveying her kingdom. If you can’t plant a tree in your front room, get the next best Christmas cat gift—a Frisco Cat Tree. This 72-inch model has six levels and multiple cat condos so that more than one cat can enjoy the tree! Encourage your cat to use the tree by hiding cat treats or catnip on different levels, or spray the tree with catnip spray to keep her interested.
Aikiou Junior Dog Slow Bowl
Did your veterinarian tell you your pooch needs to slow down when eating, but you can’t stop him from gobbling his food up in two seconds flat? Or is your dog digging or chewing because he is bored? Try the Aikiou Junior Dog Slow Bowl. I like this bowl because the level of difficulty can be adjusted, and the interactive experience will not only slow your dog’s hoover-like eating tendencies, but will also stimulate his mind, which may help with behavioral problems that stem from boredom.
Greenies Dental Treats
Still one of the best dental treats out there, Greenies Seasonal Freshmint Dental Treats make for great stocking stuffers. What would a holiday pet gift guide be without them? Dogs love to chew on these little treats, and veterinarians love the fact that these treats help reduce plaque and tartar and also help promote healthy gums and teeth. For kitties, try the Feline Greenies Flavor Fusions as a nice surprise in their stockings.
The majority of dogs over the age of 7 suffer from some level of osteoarthritis, and arthritis is the number one cause of chronic pain in older dogs. Pet parents love giving their dogs treats, so why not give a treat that has the added benefit of promoting joint health? Dasuquin is one of the most well-known and veterinarian-approved joint supplements available. We now know that the blend of glucosamine and chondroitin, if administered at the appropriate levels, can be a natural alternative to Rimadyl for pain relief associated with osteoarthritis. So treat your dog today to an improved quality of life with these beneficial treats!
KONG Is Still the King of Toys
A KONG Extreme Dog Toy is the perfect antidote for the dog that has the uncanny ability to chew all their toys (and your shoes!) into oblivion. KONGs top this pet gift guide because they are durable, safe to chew, won’t break teeth and are stuff-able! My dog’s eyes always light up when I toss an almond-butter-stuffed KONG toy her way.
The KONG Jumbler Ball Dog Toy is also a tail wag worthy present to spoil your dog with. It’s a two-in-one ball for double the interactive fun and has handles for easy pickup.
Link AKC GPS Collar
Tracking our fitness through the use of wrist-worn devices is all the rage right now, but did you know that you can get an equivalent product to go on your dog’s collar? The Link AKC GPS Collar connects to an app on your phone that allows you to track your pooch’s daily physical activity. It also provides an exact GPS location and allows you to activate an LED light remotely. This present is great for tech-savvy pet parents, or the pooch that has everything.
It is normal behavior for cats to mark their territory, either through urine spraying or bunting. Bunting is when a cat rubs the glands on their chin on something to mark it with their scent. To encourage normal marking behavior with bunting and not urine spraying, try a wall-mounted, self-grooming comb. Try putting one in every room so that your cat can bunt until her heart’s content, instead of knocking things over from chin-rubbing, or marking them the other way.