It’s hard to believe another year is almost over and we’re into the holiday season again. If you’re like most owners, gifts for your pets are on your holiday shopping list and often include a bag of treats and a new toy. To help you out this holiday season, I decided to go over a few healthy gift ideas to enrich your pet’s life and reduce behaviour problems caused by boredom.
- Food Games – these are food dishes and come in a variety of mazes and puzzles that they have to solve a puzzle to get their food. Most common types give your pet a challenge such as having to push their food around a maze or by hiding the kibble under different items. They make great gifts for your pet by slowing how quickly they eat and preventing boredom. It also helps prevent obesity because they are not eating large amounts quickly and then begging for more when they are bored.
- Treat Puzzles – Like food mazes, treat puzzles help prevent obesity and give your pet more mental stimulation than simply giving them a treat or a plain toy.
- Healthy Treats – Many pet owners like to give their pets treats as gifts but there are some treats that are better than others. For example, pre-ground rawhide chews are much safer than sheets of rawhide. If your pet swallows a piece of sheet rawhide, the rawhide can swell as it absorbs moisture in their intestinal tract, creating a blockage. Pre-ground rawhides avoid this because they crumble into small pieces as they are chewed.
Other things to think about when buying a treat is its fat content. Obesity is a common problems in pets, leading to lameness, heart disease and diabetes as well as other diseases. In many cases, overfeeding treats is a large part of the problem. To avoid this, if your pet likes lower fat treats such as vegetables, these make great gifts for their health. If your pet is very active or slowing down with arthritis, there are many treats available with Glucosamine and Chondroitin and omega 3 oils to aid in their joint health.
Before you purchase treats, you should ask your veterinarian what are safe, healthy options as occasionally some treats are under surveillance or being recalled and your veterinarian is updated on these issues by their veterinary association.
- Chew Toys: There are many toys available for our dogs and cats, but some are safer than others. Here are some common toys to avoid.
- Tennis balls and coarse tug ropes for dogs are very abrasive and can wear down their teeth prematurely if they chew on them often.
- Toys should be large enough and not break in to smaller pieces that could become a choking hazard.
- Avoid cat toys with strings that could be swallowed. If string is swallowed, it can become stuck in the intestine and require surgery to remove it.
I hope you all have a wonderful December with your friends and loved ones!