pet safetyWhat chew-happy dog doesn’t enjoy a rawhide bone? What curious kitty doesn’t love a ball of yarn? Unfortunately, we forget to consider our pet’s safety when choosing a gift and some of the playthings we associate with our pets aren’t safe or appropriate.

Shopping for a much loved family pet can be a great source of fun – after all, their delight over a new toy or tasty treat is contagious. However, before you make your pet gift list this season, be sure to know which gifts are safe for a pet and which are definite no-no’s.

Harmful Toys

While there’s no one set of criteria that makes a toy safe for every pet, there are ways to gauge safety and rule out those that pose risks.

Choking hazards are of particular concern for dogs, as they often chew their way through toys containing a “squeaker” and can easily demolish a plush toy in a matter of minutes.

Other items may contain lead, noxious chemicals, or plastic bits (e.g., tennis balls). Pets can also suffer from gastrointestinal upset or dangerous GI obstructions if they eat string-like items (think curling ribbon).

Leave these dangerous items off your pet gift list:

  • Anything containing string or ribbon
  • Items containing hazardous substances
  • Small toys that can be swallowed
  • Bone, antler, or rawhide items that can splinter
  • Plush toys containing plastic centers

Food Item Follies

Along with non edible items, there’s also a good reason to limit food-based gifts for your pet. Not only is obesity a real concern for over half the pet population, there’s also the matter of quality ingredients.

Rather than load your pet up on a lot of store-bought products, consider making some homemade and healthful snacks using quality ingredients and no artificial flavors or additives. Here are some tasty recipes:

Choosing Gifts That are Safe for a Pet

Fortunately, there are many options for safe and enjoyable pet toys. Even better, many of them require owner participation, which pets will appreciate even more. Here are some great items to keep on your list:

  • Kong-type toy (durable and long-lasting)
  • Nylabone or other faux bone chew toys
  • Appropriately sized catnip mice
  • Laser toy (dogs love it, too!)
  • Backyard agility course
  • Cat perch and tree
  • Plush toys that do not contain dangerous filling, plastic, or small parts
  • Heavy duty rope toys
  • Treat dispensing game or puzzle

Another possible idea is a doggie daycare membership for a socialized, playful canine pal. Lastly, consider setting aside additional time each day to help exercise and interact with your pet. After all, the best gift is your time and attention – something your pet will truly cherish!

As always, please call us for assistance when making your pet’s holiday wish list. We’re glad to help. Happy shopping!