Oh Dog! Rumpy Dog here.
While it’s hard for me to imagine anyone not liking moi, I know there are some of you out there that are just not animal lovers. Yet you respect your family and friends who are animal lovers, and are even considering showing you care by buying a holiday gift for that special person’s special pet.
If that’s you, then I have a few tips for you to ensure yours is a gift happily received and enjoyed for days (or hours) to come!
Not all treats are made alike. Chicken jerky? If it’s made in China, it’s a no-no. Nothing against China, mind you, but some treats manufactured over there have been identified as making pets sick- or even causing death! And some pets have special dietary needs, like our dog DeDe. So unless you know what are the favorites of that particular dog or cat, ask the human caregiver first.
For cats, nothing with string, or yarn, or sparkly streamers unless used with human supervision. Some cats will eat these items, and it can cause serious illness if they do.
For dogs, stay away from the stuffed squeaky toys. Most dogs love squeaky toys, but those cloth ones are usually destroyed in seconds, and sometimes the contents swallowed, including the squeaker. If such gifts are given, the animal receiving the gift should be supervised during play.
Giving the gift of food dishes? Then stay away from plastic. Aside from the fact that some animals develop allergies to plastic, the plastic can trap odors that make food or water taste funny. Cats and dogs are all about the smell, and so water that smells like bleach or last week’s tuna casserole isn’t going to be appetizing for that cat or dog.
I know what you’re thinking, “If this stuff is so dangerous or unappealing, why is so much of it sold?” I can’t give you an answer, but I can tell you that just because you see it on the shelves of a Big Box department or pet store, don’t automatically assume it’s safe.
So what IS safe?
-Gift certificates to a pet store, preferably one that does not sell pets.
-Fresh baked treats from local pet stores (yes, most moderate sized cities and towns now have dog bakeries).
-Sturdy plastic squeaky toys.
-Scratching posts for cats.
Oh, and one other thing. Please don’t EVER give the gift of a live animal unless you’re absolutely sure the person you’re gifting it to will be a responsible caregiver. If it’s an adult, ask first. If it’s a child, be certain the parents are on board. Animal cruelty is a crime, and your actions could lead to the arrest and prosecution of a loved one who doesn’t properly care for that animal.
What about it, faithful readers? Do you have other gift ideas for those that don’t typically buy gifts for companion animals? If so, leave your ideas in the comments below.