As you search for those last minute gifts, don’t forget about the ones who will love you unconditionally: your pets.
An Associated Press survey found that half of Americans surveyed plan to buy a holiday gift for their pet this year, and dogs and cats score more gifts than any other types of pets. But why buy presents for a pet? Because they’re part of the family too.
“They don’t know the difference between Christmas and any other day, but I think it’s important that we get to spoil them,” said Naperville resident Sarah Weithers.
“There’s no pressure because you know the dogs are going to love anything you’re going to give them,” said AdreAnne Tesene, Co-Owner of Two Bostons.
“It’s like one of the kids.,” said Greg Gordon, Owner of Dog Patch Pet & Feed. “They’re usually one of the last ones to get a present, but they always do.”
So just what do you get an animal for Christmas? Pet store owners say interactive toys are always a best seller.
“Things that keep the dogs busy with little rewards along the way,” said Gordon. “Toys that actually feed the dog, but they have to figure out how to get the treat out. That type of toy keeps them busy while you’re away or during the holidays.”
“Durable toys are always a big one,” added Tesene. “So we have different toys like the Huggle Hounds toys, or the Go Dogs toys that have extra fabric in them. So it makes them extra durable. Of course, not indestructible.”
Sometimes even the most durable toy doesn’t stand a chance against a dog that likes to chew, so Gordon says to try chews like elk antlers.
“It doesn’t splinter, it doesn’t stink when it’s wet,” said Gordon. “It keeps the dog coming back. This will last months, not weeks. You use a bully stick or a rawhide, that’s a few hours, but this will last weeks.”
And what dog doesn’t love treats? While a dog is never going to turn down a good premade treat, Two Bostons has a bakery for specially made dog cookies.
“We have different treats in the bakery case,” said Tesene. “A lot of them are peanut butter, but a lot of them are cheese, chicken, the whole nine yards with that. We also have the treats that are boxed up for a really quick gift.”
If you need a feline-friendly find there are also great gifts for cats this year, like toys that move, and of course catnip.
“The most popular toy hands down is the catnip candy cane,” said Tesene. “It’s made with organic catnip, the cat will go crazy. We also have a Christmas tree that crinkles as well as the catnip.”
While the idea of surprising someone with the gift of a puppy or kitten may be tempting, pet store owners say beware, pets don’t make the best gifts.
“It’s sort an emotional decision, and during the holidays people sometimes make the wrong decision when it comes to choosing a pet. It’s just not good for the animal,” said Gordon.
So pet experts say stick to gifts for your current pet, and put off the more emotional pet search until after the holidays.
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