According to a newspaper article, British pet owners spent a whopping £47 million on Christmas presents for their pets in 2014. So if you are going to splash out on gifts for your pet read on to find out which presents are most suitable for your canine companion.
For the Canine Athlete
If your dog loves chasing and retrieving tennis balls to the point of obsession and you are fed up with having to pick up saliva soaked balls again and again and again, then put a tennis ball launcher under the Christmas tree this year. They will love you forever, and you will never need to pick up a wet, chewed tennis ball again.
Remember though to make sure that you stock up with ‘tennis’ balls designed specifically for dogs. Real tennis balls are actually surprisingly abrasive, and obsessive chewers can end up damaging their teeth. So always choose dog-friendly tennis balls. The Kong company makes Airdog, durable, non-abrasive tennis balls just for dogs. They even squeak!
What about the Couch Potato?
Obesity is now a big issue in dogs, because, like us, our pets are a lot less active than they used to be. So interactive toys are great for motivating complacent canines to get more mental stimulation and exercise.
Interactive toys are designed to release treats slowly as your dog plays with them. Your dog will quickly learn that more play equals more treats. However, make sure you use healthy treats such as small cubes of carrot or apple, or, if your pet eats dry food, put part of their daily ration in the toy.
For the Chewer
Those of you with an ardent canine chewer at home will probably be familiar with the endless search to find a suitable ‘chew toy’ that your pet loves but that does not damage teeth, and helps to clean them.
Antlers and bones cause broken teeth with disturbing frequency, and if your dog swallows a piece, they can become lodged in the intestines. So what chews should you choose?
Many chews purport to help clean the teeth, but few actually do. The Veterinary Oral Health Council (www.vohc.org) independently tests products, and subsequently recommends those that actually reduce periodontal (gum) disease. Veggiedent Chews are one such product, and dogs seem to love the taste, and love chewing on them.
And the Toy Destroyer?
Most dogs will play with squeaky toys. However, some dogs have mastered the art of the 90 second squeaker extraction. And once the squeaker has gone that is the end of the fascination!
What’s more, the squeakers are often swallowed and can necessitate surgery to have them removed.
However, there is help out there; a line of squeaky dog toys that are virtually indestructible. So if your squeaky toys never last until Boxing Day it may be best to get one of these.
What about Small Breed Dogs?
Dogs that have long bodies and short legs, like Dachshunds, Shih Tzus and Basset Hounds are prone to developing serious back problems. Many of these back problems seem to be triggered by repeated jumping on and off furniture.
So if your diminutive canine companion is already totally at home curled up on the sofa 23 hours a day then it may be worth investing in a set of stairs or a ramp, so that your dog can easily climb onto and off furniture.
And finally the Portly Pooch
Obesity is a huge problem in companion animals. Almost half of UK dogs and cats are overweight. While it’s likely that one part of the problem is that dogs are too sedentary, it’s also quite likely that most of them are being fed too much.
The PETKIT FRESH Smart Feeding Bowl makes it simple to feed your dog the exact amount he should be getting, and no more. The bowl features a built-in digital scale that displays the exact weight of food the bowl contains, so over-feeding is a thing of the past. The app that pairs with the device helps you determine the appropriate feeding amount. You can even pair it with an activity tracker to monitor calories burned based on exercise and consumption.
The Final Word
If you are in any doubt about the most suitable Christmas present for your dog then speak to your Veterinary Practice for advice. There are many great dog toys out there but also a lot of poor quality, dangerous ones so choose wisely!