Every holiday season for the past several years, I have amalgamated a list of interesting gift ideas with pets and their families in mind. Given the Animal Medical Center’s focus on pet health, this list always has a decidedly health-related slant. Most of the gifts help address healthcare issues AMC veterinarians see on a daily basis. And a big thanks to my friend and petrendologist Charlotte Reed for alerting me to some of these products.
Environmental enrichment is the buzzword for cats these days. Too often indoor cats have nothing to do; they become bored, destructive and overweight. Here are four gift ideas to entertain and exercise your favorite feline.
Using a feeding toy exploits your cat’s predatory desires. Slowing the rate of dinner consumption promotes early satiety and decreases your cat’s begging behaviors, assisting in your efforts to slim down your tubby tabby. The TRIXIE Fun Board Strategy Game is the ultimate feeding toy with five different modules to entertain your cat, and it is dishwasher safe!
Although this paper cat tunnel is low tech, your cat will love it. The Dezi & Roo Hide and Sneak Tunnel gives your cat a hiding place and promotes exercise by giving her a race track for the nighttime cat crazies.
The Jackson Galaxy Space Station for cats looks a like a whole bowl full of fun for your favorite feline. The space station provides a hiding place that will send your cat over the moon. The space station floor features a replaceable scratching mat and a ball in a track for hours of intergalactic games!
KATRIS Lynks creates modular components from which you create a custom cat play area that meets your cat’s needs and your sense of style. Because the components are produced from paper, they also satisfy your cat’s primal urge to scratch and mark her territory.
Safely transporting your cat to the veterinarian’s office or to grandma’s for the weekend requires a study cat carrier, but getting your cat into the dark crevices of her cat carrier can be a challenge. The U-pet line of cat and small dog carriers will meet this need while allowing your cat to see the world go by through the half dome shaped window, which can be swapped out for mesh screen on a hot day. A pleasant experience in their carrier will help to decrease the stress cats experience during travel.
Veterinarians frequently recommend increasing your cat’s water intake as part of the treatment of urinary and bladder disorders. But, getting your cat to drink more water can be challenging. One trick is to provide your cat with a source of cool water, using the Magisso ceramic cat bowl. By running the bowl under the cold water tap for 60 seconds before filling it with fresh water, it keeps the water cool for hours, encouraging your cat to follow doctor’s orders and drink more.
Magisso products appear in both the cat and dog gift lists, but for different reasons. The stylish slow feed bowl looks great in your kitchen, but for dogs who gulp their food down, causing gastrointestinal distress, this bowl is a must have. Many veterinarians recommend a slow feed bowl to promote satiety as part of a weight loss plan or in dogs with a history of bloat.
When I felt the comfy foam used in Wellness PetMats, I wanted to lay down and take a nap myself. These 1 inch thick, recyclable mats resist odors and come in multiple sizes and colors. They would be great for an older, arthritic dog in need of a soft resting surface to prevent elbow hygromas and pressure sores.
If you and your dog are the outdoor, sporty type, the Insect Shield line of products makes great holiday gifts. Impregnated with an insecticide that repels fleas, ticks, mosquitos and flies, Insect Shield vests, blankets and exercise pens provide an added barrier against the agents that transmit Lyme disease, heartworm disease, and cause annoyance from other biting insects.
Recovering from a surgical procedure is tough, but what may really make your dog feel bad is your veterinarian’s prescription for an Elizabethan collar. Wearing an E-collar may cause your dog to refuse his daily walk or favorite treat. When wearing the collar, many dogs crash into walls and nick your furniture with the sharp edges of the collar. Enter the Comfurt Collar, a pillow-like collar which, for many surgical procedures, will protect the incision more comfortably than a traditional hard plastic Elizabethan collar. These collars come in fashionable designs to match your pet’s personality.
Need some gift ideas for animal lovers who may or may not have a pet?
For the bird enthusiast, enroll them in a better birding course at the online birding academy at Cornell University’s renowned Laboratory of Ornithology.
Give a pet lover exactly what they want – a pet crate or harness for the car certified by the Center for Pet Safety using dog crash test dummies. Who wouldn’t delight in a gift meant to protect their favorite fur baby.
One of my personal favorites on this year’s list is the Surefit pet sofa cover. The cover is sturdy, comfy, and comes in multiple colors. The cover is easy to wash and when it is dry, you just flip is back on the sofa where it protects your upholstery from muddy paws.
Everyone loves a clean, fluffy dog, but no one likes the mess and fur clogging their bathtub drain. Check and see if there is an Evolution Do-It-Yourself Dog Wash in the neighborhood and give dog wash gift cards to all your dog-owning friends.
If you rent an apartment, installing a pet door to the yard, terrace or porch may not be allowable. But with the Balcony Pets Apartment Pet Door, your pet can go in and out easily when you install this portable, no tools required pet door into your existing sliding glass door. Better and more frequent access to an outdoor space increases your pet’s exercise, helping to keep them in an ideal body condition.