December 2016 – Dr. Frost’s Observer Today Article

Don’t forget a gift for companions at holidays

By Dr. Rebekah Frost - OBSERVER Columnist

The holidays are upon us and it is that time of year to give the perfect gift to your loved ones. In our family, this includes our many pets and family members that are pet lovers like me.

Every year at this time, I purchase a stocking of toys for our four dogs. As we unwrap our gifts on Christmas day, our dogs get to open their stocking of toys. Every toy gets destroyed and the squeakers removed in a matter of minutes, but they have so much fun doing it! We then pick up the pieces to avoid any accidental ingestion. What kind of gifts can you purchase for your pet this time of year or for the pet lover that you may know? Here is a list of some good ideas from our clinic:

1. Interactive feeders. Interactive feeders often contain a maze, or a puzzle for your pet to figure out how to get their food. Some of these games may just use a treat or two, but one advantage of using these feeders is that you get your pet to slow down while eating. When some animals eat too quickly, they can regurgitate or vomit their food back up immediately.

2. Brain games. These are similar to interactive feeders, with the end result being a treat for your pet. These games include problem solving games for the smart dog in your family.

3. Water fountains. Most cat owners know that their cat prefers water from a running faucet. There are many types of water fountains available that provide a continuous flow of fresh clean water through a filter for your pet. This encourages drinking, especially in pets that may have urinary or kidney issues.

4. Fetch machines. I have seen these advertised and am very tempted to purchase on of these for my very obsessive border collie. Jake could play fetch all day, and this takes away you the owner in the game of fetch, giving your arm a break! These machines toss the ball for the pet, and have a basket or some kind of bucket that the dog drops the ball back into.

5. Pet seat belts. These are new in the past few years and they include anything from safety harnesses and tethers, to safety booster seats for smaller dogs. Most include some kind of strap to attach to the anchors beneath your passenger seats. They keep your pet safe and can prevent unwanted injuries.

6. GPS pet tracker. These are also a newer invention and include a collar GPS tracker for your pet along with an app on your phone to monitor your pet’s whereabouts.

These are mostly used in sporting breed dogs that may be hunting or tracking dogs, but can be very beneficial especially if your pet gets lost.

7. Interactive pet video cameras. These are a great idea and include an app on your phone that allows you to see and talk to your pet and interact with them when you are not home. They even include a laser pointer that you can use to play with your pet right through your phone.

8. Pet travel accessories. There are many interesting items available on the internet from pet carriers to water bowls and collapsible feeding bowls that are convenient and easy to bring with you when traveling with your pets.

9. Outdoor enclosures/pet containment systems. Underground fencing, radio signal fencing, outdoor cat enclosures, and more. These are all great ideas to purchase for your pet or someone you know with pets as it not only keeps the pets contained, but protects the pets from dangers they may face when left to roam.

10. Pet hair vacuum. We have owned our pet hair vacuum for 12 years now. I couldn’t live without one. There are many great brands available that can handle all that pet hair on a daily basis!

11. Homemade treats or a recipe book for homemade treats. As long as your pet does not have food allergies, and is not already overweight, there are many great recipes you can make without added sugar that are healthy for your pets!

12. Pet odor candles/sprays. We sell these in our clinic, and are specially formulated to help neutralize those pet odors. We have many seasonal scents available.
13. Personalized gifts. there are many websites available that can make a variety of gifts with pictures of your pet. These might include mugs, keychains, clothing, and calendars.

14. Grooming/ boarding/veterinary gift certificates. What better gift to give the pet lover in your family. Many pets are groomed on a regular basis and also go to their veterinarian on a regular basis. Another great idea is to help start an emergency fund account for your pets or a loved ones pets. A pet owner never knows when they might face an emergency. We have gift certificates available at our clinic, stop by and pick one up today.

15. A donation to a local shelter or animal fund in honor of your pets or a loved ones pets. This is one of the greatest gifts you can give to help those pets in need! At the Dunkirk Animal Clinic we have a fund called the Big Foot Fund in honor of one of our clinic cats. This fund helps stray and injured pets get the care they need. We also sell homemade cat nip toys that benefit this fund. Stop down and donate today!

Finally, we hope you all have a wonderful holiday season. Merry Christmas from the staff at the Dunkirk Animal Clinic!

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