Our beloved pets give us so much love, companionship, loyalty, and more throughout their lives, and this holiday season is the purr–fect time to gift them with something special! If you are still on the lookout for last-minute gift ideas for your pet — or simply looking for something to keep them entertained while spending more time indoors — check out these awesome ideas your pet is sure to love!
- Yummy treats and fun foods! For many pets, especially dogs, treats take the cake when it comes to the perfect gift. After all, who doesn’t love getting to enjoy their favorite foods? With seemingly endless options available for both dogs and cats, you’re sure to find a treat that will bring happiness to your pet! If you are looking for DIY options this season, the ASPCA has a list of easy treat recipes that double as enrichment activities for your dog. These recipes can be made right at home with ingredients you might already have in your kitchen. For your feline friend, check out their list of simple cat treat recipes. Most pets would agree treats are great, but the fun doesn’t have to end there. Turning your dog or cat’s regular mealtime into playtime adds mental and physical stimulation to their day and can make eating more fun for finicky eaters. Feeding enrichment activities can also help slow down fast eaters, preventing vomiting and bloat after mealtimes. Puzzle feeders, Kongs, snuffle mats, and other food-dispensing toys engage your pet’s brain and allow them to work for their food similar to how they would naturally. Even hiding food around the house in everyday objects like boxes or paper towel rolls can give your dog or cat needed mental stimulation during mealtimes. Mealtime doesn’t have to be boring, and you don’t have to feed from a regular bowl. Don’t be afraid to get creative with feeding activities that allow your dog or cat to engage in natural behaviors like foraging, sniffing, and “hunting” for their food. Just be sure to keep any items that could potentially be dangerous or toxic out of your pet’s reach at all times.
- Fun new toys! There is something about a new toy that brings along so much excitement, fun, and even learning! It might be a surprise to some pet parents, but for most dogs and cats, toys are a necessity. Toys not only give your pet something that they can play with, but they also serve as a positive outlet for natural behaviors like chewing. Without toys of their own, many pets might turn to your belongings to play with or destroy. Toys help keep your pet occupied and prevent boredom, especially when spending more time indoors. If you are noticing your pet doesn’t seem interested in toys or they only like new toys, try engaging in play with them using the toy and limit which toys they have access to. If they always have access to all of their toys, they usually do get bored as the newness and excitement wears off. By only allowing access to several toys at a time and rotating them out on a weekly basis, you won’t have to buy new toys as often to give your pet that new toy feeling. For dogs in particular, chewing is one of the best indoor activities to teach them how to be more relaxed in the home. Dogs have an innate urge to chew, so it is important to teach them proper chewing habits by providing them with toys or long-lasting chews. Chewing stimulates their brains, improves dental health, reduces stress and anxiety, reduces boredom, and keeps them occupied. With any toy you select for your dog or cat, be sure to supervise use to prevent them from ingesting pieces of the toy. For safety tips and help choosing the right chew for your pet, check out these 10 chew commandments for dogs and cats by Outward Hound.
- Something you can do together! It should come as no surprise that most pets love spending time with their people, so setting aside a little extra time to spend with them might just be all they want for Christmas! Whether it’s a drive through town to get out of the house or cuddling up on the couch together, any time spent with your pet is time well-spent in their eyes. A few activities you might try with your pet include:
- Practicing obedience skills and learning new tricks
- Hiding toys and treats for your pet to find
- Grooming your pet
- Play indoor-friendly games like tug-of-war, popping bubbles, or flirt poles
- Creating obstacle courses in the house
- Taking your pet to a pet friendly store or restaurant
If all else fails, don’t be afraid to put some booties and a jacket on your pup and go for a walk!
We hope you and your pet will find these ideas useful and have the happiest of holidays!