Unless you live in a media-free vacuum, you know that retailers have deemed the holiday shopping season is upon us.
So let’s talk for a moment about gifts for some very important ones in your life- your animal companions.
The pet products industry is big business, especially for dogs. But before you get caught up in the excitement of some eye candy display set out to attract your attention, think about this:
One of the reasons why the pet product industry is growing so rapidly is that there are few regulations on products sold. Now for you Free Market Economy groupies, you probably see that as a good thing. And yet we can look no further than the jerky treat issue to see how problematic free markets can be. Oh wait, it was less than 4000 animals that got sick in the last 6 years, and fewer than 600 died? Well then, I suppose those are fairly good odds…… unless it was YOUR pet that got sick and/or died.
Before you purchase that huge rawhide chew or the cute squeaky toy, and certainly before you give one of those gifts to someone else for their pet, ask yourself what company is selling this product and where it was manufactured.
I suggest you shop with a retailer you trust. Our local boutique, For Pets’ Sake, sells a variety of products for dogs and cats, including high-quality foods and treats, dishes, pet beds, and cute items for humans as well. Jen feels confident shopping there because she can ask questions and get honest answers from the owners and staff.
Or how about, instead of buying, you put those baking skills of yours to work and MAKE gifts this year. There are plenty of great recipes for treats for dogs and cats online.
Oh, and speaking of gifts, here is some advice for those of you planning to give a live animal as a holiday gift: DON’T DO IT! Bringing a companion animal into the home requires lots of planning and preparation, and should not be a decision made lightly. An animal should absolutely not be given because your kid begged so loud and so long he or she wore you down.
If a new companion animal is in your future, might I suggest you wait until the end of January? That’s when the shelters and rescues will start filling up with all those cute puppies and kittens that kids just “had to have,” then later decided they didn’t need (or want) after all.
One gift that fits everyone is a donation in that person’s (or animal’s) name to the animal welfare organization of your choice. It’s always the right size and it looks fantastic!
What are your tips for a safe and responsible holiday gift for a beloved companion animal?