Seven Christmas gift ideas for pets

You have gifts for your spouse, your parents, your kids, your friends, even your hairdresser and the mailman. But what about Fluffy and Fido?

Your four-legged family members deserve a few gifts under the tree, too! Feeling stumped? Here are seven Christmas gifts for pets:

Toys, toys, toys!
Use the occasion as a reason to invest in some good quality toys, such as a rubber Kong toy for your dog, or a puzzle toy for your cat. These types of toys can be on the expensive side, but they typically last longer than cheaper toys. Plus, they force your pet to work for a reward, which helps keep their minds sharp!Looking for something a little more budget-friendly? A rope bone is good for your dog’s teeth, and a feather toy can provide hours of independent play for your cat.

A tasty treat
Christmas is a great time to slip into a boutique pet store and get a treat that’s extra special for your fur babies – if you don’t get an elaborately-decorated dog cookie at Christmas, when will you? Even better – whip up a batch right in your kitchen! Try these recipes:

Cat treat recipe:
10 oz canned salmon (undrained)
1 egg, beaten
2 cups whole wheat flour
Miniature cookie cutter

Pulse salmon in a food processor until finely chopped. In a large bowl, combine the salmon with the egg and the flour until a tacky dough forms (add flour as needed to make dough firmer; add water if it’s too dry). Roll out the dough on a floured surface until it’s about ¼ inch thick, then use your cookie cutter to cut out treats. Bake the treats on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes (or until they’re slightly browned and crunch). Allow to cool before serving, and keep in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

Dog treat recipe:
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
¼ cup peanut butter
2 large eggs
3 cups whole wheat flour
Miniature cookie cutter

Beat pumpkin puree, peanut butter, and eggs until well-combined. Gradually add in 2 ½ cups of flour, beating at low speed until just incorporated. Add an additional ¼ cup of flour at a time until the dough is tacky, but not sticky. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface a few times, then roll it out until it’s about ¼ inch thick, then use your cookie cutter to cut your treats. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until they are golden brown. Let cool before serving.

A walk in the park (literally)
Your dog is less concerned about gifts to unwrap and more concerned about spending time with his favorite humans (that’s you!). Instead of buying another toy your pup will destroy, take your doggo to the park instead! He’ll love spending time with you in a place with so many great smells. A walk around the neighborhood works, too, or a trip to a dog-friendly restaurant or bar.

 

A cat tree (not the Christmas tree)
You’re going to spend the whole season shooing the cat out of the tree, so why not give kitty a tree of her own? A cat tree is great for playing and hiding, and it encourages jumping and climbing, which is vital exercise for your cat’s health.

A new blanket or bed
A new bed or blanket is a great way to make tails wag this holiday season. Your pets will love rolling and burrowing in a brand-new bed. Plus, if you get some new beds, you can toss out the old smelly ones – perfect for that “new year, new me” promise!

A new sweater or pajamas
Your fur babies might appreciate an extra layer when the temps drop – especially if you get a white Christmas! Be sure to measure your pet from neck to tail to get an accurate size, and, for large dogs, also measure around the widest part of the chest. Plus, your Christmas photos will look extra cute with your fur babies all decked out for the holidays!

A high-tech toy for when you aren’t home
Grab a camera/treat dispenser combo to talk to – and reward – your pets when you aren’t home! You can see your pet, reassure them, and dispense a treat, all from your office. Or, for the dog who can’t get enough fetch, consider an automatic ball thrower – he may even learn how to put the ball in himself! For the restless kitty, try an automatic, interactive laser toy.

At the end of the day, though, all your pets want is love from you. Give plenty of ear scratches and belly rubs, and you’re guaranteed to have a happy pet this Christmas!

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