26 Nov The 2023 Holiday Gift Guide for Pets
The holidays are right around the corner, which means it’s time to pick out the perfect present for your furry friend. Whether it’s a cozy bed, a new interactive toy, or some delicious treats, finding that ideal gift will make their tails wag with joy. After all, our pets are part of the family, and seeing them happy is one of the best parts of the season.
Entertaining your pet during the holidays can be just as fun for you as it is for them, especially when you find the perfect toy. However, there are certain toys and treats that you should stay away from or keep a close eye on to ensure your pet’s safety. To help you out, we’ve curated a 2023 holiday gift guide that’s full of pet-safe present ideas your dog or cat will love.
What to Get Your Cat for Christmas
Part of being a cat parent is falling in love with everything and anything cat-related! But cats can be tricky, so finding the perfect gift isn’t always easy.
Toys are a great way to:
- Stimulate their mind
- Express their instinctive skills
- Encourage exercise
- Prevent boredom and separation anxiety
You can also use toys to bond with your cat or introduce them to somebody new!
If you’re hunting for the perfect Christmas present for your cat, here are a few of our favorites.
Catnip contains a chemical that is non-addictive and completely safe, and it can reduce stress and anxiety in your kitty. It also targets feline “happy” receptors in the brain, causing your kitty to get into a playful mood. These toys are truly perfect for cats from all walks of life. Even your senior cat may play like a kitten again!
Chase and Pounce Toys
These smart toys are a great option if you are trying to draw out your cat’s inner predatory instincts. One of our favorite chase and pounce toys is the robotic mouse. It is perfect for capturing your cat’s attention and keeping it.
Cats love to drink from moving water sources that mimic running streams, which is why some cats hate to drink from a still water dish. If you have trouble getting your cat to drink water, there are a plethora of adorable water fountains to choose from. Water is the most important nutrient for your cat, so this is a great gift to prioritize their health.
Perfect for cats of all ages, the toy tower is great for your kitty’s playtime entertainment. It comes with three track levels with moving balls inside, leading to hours spent batting, swatting, and pouncing at the balls.
Interactive Laser Toy
We all know how much cats love to chase a laser, but we also know that they can chase it for hours on end, which is exhausting for cat parents. Make your life easier with an interactive laser that has its own timer and a rotating tower head.
Cats love curling up in the smallest and darkest places they can find. Made from wool, these cat caves provide your kitty with a warm and cozy bed. This will quickly become your cat’s favorite hideaway!
Cats need an outlet for their urge to scratch. It keeps their claws sharp and exercises the muscles in their forelimbs and spine. Scratching posts provide your cat with an appropriate place to scratch, stretch, paw, and climb with total support. Your furniture will thank you later!
What NOT to Gift Your Cat
There are a myriad of toys available to keep your cat entertained, no matter their preference. However, some of these toys pose risks to your cat’s health. It’s important that you are aware of these dangers and supervise your cat’s playtime.
Do not gift your cat:
- Paper clips
- Rubber bands
- Plastic bags
- Small or tiny toys
Small, string-like toys can easily be swallowed, causing life-threatening damage to their intestines, strangulation, suffocation, choking, or intestinal blockage. Toys with sharp or pointed edges can cause lacerations in the mouth, throat, and GI tract if ingested. Because of this, avoid gifting your cat small or dangerous toys and keep these objects out of reach when you’re unable to supervise your cat.
What to Get Your Dog for Christmas
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all of your options when shopping for your pup. There are so many cool dog toys available that help with exercise and mental stimulation! Toys can also help prevent your dog from developing behavior problems and fight separation anxiety.
Before purchasing your dog’s Christmas gifts this year, always do your own research on the dog treats and toys you are interested in to make sure you set them up for success. Explore a few of our favorite gift ideas to make your life easier and your dog’s life more exciting!
BarkBox is a monthly subscription box full of themed toys, treats, and chews for your pup. Since it is a subscription, this gift will keep on giving long after the holiday season is over! It’s a great option for new puppy parents who don’t have many toys in their collection yet.
Kong is a brand of chew toys that satisfy a dog’s natural desire to work for their food. Stuffing your dog’s Kong with treats or peanut butter before you leave will keep them busy and content for long periods of time. Most importantly, it keeps them out of trouble! You can find a Kong toy in almost every pet store and easily online.
Pet Wand Shower Attachment
We have all experienced the back pain that coincides with bathing your dog. This handy shower wand provides maximum cleaning coverage and the power you need for effective rinsing. It can attach to your shower or garden hose, making bath time easier, faster, and pain-free for you!
Dog DNA Test
If you’ve ever wondered about your dog’s pedigree, DNA tests can help you figure out their heritage! DNA tests can also tell you important health information about your dog. Identifying your dog’s breed or combination of breeds can “spur the need to be aware of disease conditions known to affect a particular breed,” says Dr. Patrick Mahaney, a certified veterinary journalist.
Furbo Dog Camera
This gift is perfect for both you and your pet. If you’re feeling anxious about a certain toy that you left out, or are wondering if your dog is still barking at neighbors, this HD dog camera is the perfect present. It allows you to check in, talk to your pet, and even dispense dog treats!
You can also set it up to receive a notification when the sensor detects barking, dog movements, and a person coming into view. Furbo will even send you photos when your dog happens to be facing the camera.
Embroidered Pet Collar
You can purchase nylon dog collars that come personalized with your dog’s name and phone number permanently stitched into the collar with no fading. This ensures long-lasting identification in a way that is also comfortable and secure. There are many options available online. This one from Chewy comes in a variety of colors and is reflective!
If your dog loves to play fetch, then we guarantee you both will love this toy. A ball launcher allows you to throw three times as far, and prevents you from ever having to touch a slobbery ball again. You’ll wear out your dog in no time!
Bully sticks are hygienic and durable treats, providing your dog with a safe way to chew. They are single-ingredient products that are 100% natural and come in a wide variety of sizes. Thankfully, these treats are easy to find. Most pet stores carry them, and they are also available online.
All of these recommendations will keep your pup entertained and out of trouble for hours! However, there are a handful of toys and treats that you should watch out for to ensure your dog’s playtime is as healthy and constructive as possible.
What NOT to Gift Your Dog
It’s crucial that you are aware of the dangers that specific dog toys and treats may pose to your pet. Certain toys can cause injuries to your dog’s tongue, teeth, and gastrointestinal tract.
We know how tempting it is to buy those Christmas-themed rawhide chews from the store, but these treats can be very dangerous to your pet. They commonly contain chemicals that could cause serious health issues. Furthermore, many dogs don’t simply chew on the rawhide bone but prefer to bite large pieces off and swallow. These bones absorb water and can swell in the stomach, rendering them unable to pass through the intestines.
The vast majority of rawhide treats are made from cattle or horse hides that are soaked in a toxic sodium to remove hair and fat. More chemicals are used to split the hide, which is then washed with a solution of hydrogen peroxide to give the white look of these treats. Avoid these chemicals and stick to safe, natural dog treats!
Marrow bones are a popular and inexpensive dog toy. However, they also come with risks. If your dog is sensitive, the fatty marrow found in the center of the bone can cause pancreatitis.
As a rule of thumb, only buy marrow bones that are longer than your dog’s snout. Shorter-cut marrow bones have been known to get stuck behind the teeth of the lower jaw, which often requires surgery to remove.
Dogs love to play with things that aren’t theirs. Socks, blankets, cat toys, and just about anything else they can find. However, it is incredibly important that all small toys are out of their reach.
Toys that are small enough to be swallowed are very dangerous for your dog. These toys are often small enough to swallow but too large to make it through the intestines.
You should also keep an eye on your pup’s own toys. If they are breaking off small pieces of their toys, make sure to discard the toy and those pieces right away. Swallowing them can result in an intestinal blockage.
Human Toys and Stuffed Animals
Many toys that pose a choking hazard for your children can also pose a threat to your dog. Furthermore, dogs are much tougher on their toys than children, and the seams on higher-quality plush dog toys are usually reinforced to withstand rough play. Because children don’t usually rip and chew on their toys, dogs have quicker access to whatever the toy is stuffed with. Look for toys that are listed as nontoxic, and if possible, free of BPA-and-phthalate.
Only give your pet a gift that is meant for their size and chewing habits. Always make sure to supervise your pet when they are playing to ensure their health and safety. If you have any questions about treats or toys, your local PetWellClinic veterinarian would be happy to make recommendations.
PetWellClinic is dedicated to being here for pet owners. Our hours of operation extend into the evenings and weekends, and our clinic environment is built with your pet’s comfort in mind. Ask your PetWellClinic veterinarian what Christmas gifts they recommend for your furry friend this year.
PetWellClinic provides convenient, affordable veterinary care for pet owners. PetWellClinic has locations and services built with convenience in mind. Stop by with your pet any time! No appointment necessary.
Editor’s Note: This blog has been updated since its original publication in 2021 for comprehensiveness.