Cat under Christmas treeChristmas is a time to look forward to every year and it’s nearly here again! We of course look forward to spending the festive season with members of our family and our pets too. We want to involve them and of course indulge them. The supermarkets and pet stores are full of merchandise to tempt us, but what would really be on our pet’s Christmas wish list if they could talk? The best presents are ones that will be beneficial to our pet’s health and welfare, and of course they need to be safe.

One of the best gifts you can give your pet, is a membership to the Healthy Pet Club. This way you will provide all year round preventative healthcare for your dog, cat or rabbit, AND you could save over £200 a year*!

You can also pop into your local veterinary practice and pick up a Christmas present for your pet – don’t forget, Healthy Pet Club members benefit from 10% off all products and services in practice!

When choosing presents for pets, try not to think that dogs and cats have the same needs as small children. Whatever you buy, make sure it is of good quality and cannot be destroyed or swallowed. This is particularly important if dogs and cats live together.

Great present ideas include

  • Treat balls and other fun puzzle dispensers for dogs. These deliver kibble or treats and will keep your dog entertained, active and using their brain. A lot more engaging than just eating out of a bowl!
  • Robust soft toys with or without a squeak. If your dog loves retrieving, then these make great fun presents and encourage play and activity. Beware of cheap, easy to destroy toys.
  • There is an amazing variety of scratching apparatus these days for your cat. Remember if buying a post, cats prefer it if they can really stretch up high, so get a tall one!
  • Cat nip products are always a favourite with cats.
  • Interactive cat toys where they chase a toy mouse or ball around a specially designed track keep them occupied for ages, and are also fun for us to watch!
  • If your pet is getting older, and spends less time playing and more sleeping, a new bed with a memory foam mattress would make an ideal gift.
  • Silicone grooming brushes are easy to use and deliver more of a massage than a brush. Again, a nice idea for an older pet who enjoys a bit of pampering!
  • There are even Christmas stockings for rabbits and guinea pigs in stores. Rather than introducing any new food over Christmas (which could disturb their digestion) our advice would be to stick to familiar treats only.

Gifts to avoid

  • Unnecessary clothing – Dogs already have a coat and most of the clothing that is designed for them isn’t necessary and almost certainly would not be on their Christmas wish list. Very old or thin coated dogs may benefit from a simple coat but no hats please!
  • Unfamiliar chews and treats – Although it is fun to give stockings full of treats, and chews in the shape and colour of Santa, they may cause vomiting and diarrhoea, causing your pet to be poorly, just when you don’t need it!

Give your pet a stress free Christmas

Christmas is great fun but also stressful for our pets. If you have a lot of family and friends visiting this Christmas, take a moment to think about how your pet may feel about it all. Dogs are sociable animals and usually enjoy the company of visitors but cats will often make themselves scarce until all the hubbub has passed and their normal routine is back. Here are some tips for a fun, festive and stress free holiday.

  • Have pheromone diffusers plugged in from now.
  • Ask your friends and family not to bring their pets with them when visiting.
  • Make sure your cats have a place to go to get away from the activities, provide food, water and a litter tray.
  • Make sure to give your dog a good walk before the festivities begin. If he seems stressed or excited, allow him to go and relax in another room, away from the festive fun for a while.
  • Never leave your dog unsupervised with young children visiting, however trustworthy they normally are.
  • Do not alter the diet of your pet, or give them a Christmas dinner.
  • Beware of any children’s toys that may be left lying around, as these could be swallowed by your pets.
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