Perfect Pet Presents

Whether you have pets yourself or friends and family have pets, the holiday season is a great time to remember to shower your furry buddies with gifts. As you contemplate the right options for the kitten or puppy in your life, here are some ideas and safety factors to consider.

Toys: If you want to give something such as a stuffed toy, stick to those made for animals. That little Santa at a discount store may be tempting, but the fabric, stuffing or trim may not be pet-friendly. You would also miss out on that all-important squeaky factor, disappointing some dogs that actively look for the squeaker when given a new toy.

Treats: A nice box or stocking filled with treats is almost always a welcome gift. Be sure to check with the owner to avoid food allergy issues. If you’re feeling adventurous, how about making homemade dog biscuits or cat crackers? There are numerous recipes available on the Internet, and people and pets appreciate something you bake yourself.

Unlike cookies for people, dogs and cats are not fussy about how their treats look. If they smell like peanut butter, bacon, or tuna and salmon for a cat, they will be thrilled with your gift.

Wrapping for pet gifts is also casual. Most pets don’t care about ribbon or tags, with the possible exception of kittens that see them as a fun extension of the gift. The best option is plain tissue paper with a minimum of tape. This enables even the least adventurous to open their own presents.

One last tip: Don’t put pet presents under the tree until just before it’s time to unwrap. Animals are not at all good about waiting and may dive into the celebration a bit early.

Holidays and your Pets

Most of us want our pets to be part of the upcoming holidays, but it’s important to treat them appropriately so that they have fun, too. Here are some suggestions to make everyone’s holiday brighter.

Don’t give a puppy or kitten as a holiday gift. While it seems like a great present, this is not the best time to introduce a new pet to your household. It can be particularly traumatic for a baby animal to be placed in a box, or even badly wrapped like in this case. It’s clear that this poor new pet is concerned about what kind of household he has come into. Instead, give a stuffed pet with the promise of a real one in the next few weeks. That way you can ensure that your new family member has a quieter and more successful transition to your home.

Holiday costumes are a matter of personal pet preference. As you can see in the photo to the right, the Pekinese is pleased with her holiday jacket while the miniature boxer is embarrassed and unhappy. He seems particularly horrified that someone took a picture of him dressed this way. Remember that pets have their dignity. Also, keep any costumes safe and simple. Your pet may chew and swallow elements of the costume that are particularly disturbing, such as buttons, so keep an eye out for unsafe behavior.

Finally, never put your dog in the position of the poor pooch to the left. Not only is he forced to wear a very mortifying headdress, the cat is totally free of embarrassing holiday garb, leaving her free to laugh at the dog. Even if you are a cat lover, you have to know that this isn’t right.

So with just a little consideration, both your family and your pets can have a safe and happy holiday.