With Thanksgiving approaching, people start in earnest to acquire holiday gifts, including things for their pets and those belonging to their loved ones.
Last year it is estimated that Americans spent $66 billion dollars on pet food, treats and supplies; it’s rather mind boggling! Our spending increased about 12 percent from 2019 which is probably indicative of a very significant number of new pets that were acquired during the worst of the pandemic shutdown.
So, if we’re going to spend all those billions of dollars, we should at least make careful purchases that are safe and that are best suited to individual pets. Let’s start with some tips to help make healthy choices when choosing edible treats.
This time of year one of the first things you’ll see when you walk into the pet section of many stores is a display with bags of red, green and white rawhide chews…keep right on walking. Those products are cheap and full of dyes and chemicals.
It’ll cost you more, but for the sake of the precious pup you’re buying for, move down the aisle to the section with all natural, non-rawhide, highly digestible chews. Bully sticks, yak chews and antlers are also great natural chews that most dogs love to get a hold of.
Similar precautions apply to purchasing treats for your cat. There are several brands of cat treats available in small bags at most pet supply retailers, but beware of the ingredients. In reading the labels of one lower quality bag of hard cat treats, I found 42 ingredients as compared to a higher end natural brand which had 12. Most of those additional ingredients in the cheaper brand were fillers, preservatives and dyes.
As far as toys are concerned, consider things that help entertain your pet and give them mental stimulation and rewards. There are all sorts of interactive toys available for our cats now, some of them you can even activate with your cell phone when you’re not at home. Most cats love wand toys which are great for giving you a little quality interaction, so maybe put one of those on your shopping list as well.
There are toys made of thick material with heavy stitching that may be a better choice. Soft toys that are wrapped around rope toys instead of stuffing are also a great option.
For a safer bet, choose a harder toy that will allow your dog to satiate his need to chew. There are good alternatives such as Nylabones, Kongs and chews made of bamboo that are safe and readily available. If your dog tends to eat pieces of any type of toy, soft or rubbery, avoid them completely. Obstructed digestive systems can result which may require surgery and can be deadly if not treated.
Finally, if you’re buying a pet gift for family or friends, consider getting a gift card from a pet supplier. The money may be better put to use in providing healthy food, rather than things their pet may not be interested in.
Shelter needs: Canned, pate style dog and cat food, soft dog treats, large Kongs, peanut butter, cheese sticks, liquid hand soap, paper towels, and gift cards for pet supply and grocery outlets.