The holidays are just around the corner and that means the shopping season is upon us! Many of us may be looking for both economical and practical gifts to give (and to put on our own wish list). Chances are if you are reading this article you or someone you know has a pet. Giving a pet related gift is a wonderful way to show someone that you really put some thought into selecting a gift for them. Your pet owning family member or friend will really appreciate the personal touch. Celebrate the holiday season with these holiday gifts for pet lovers:
- Celebrate a brand new pet. Maybe you know that a family member who will be receiving a puppy, kitten or exotic pet for the holidays. Create a basket that contains items needed for that new pet, like a litter box (the litter box can be the basket), cat toys, treats, food samples, cute feeding bowls, bedding, soft carrier, collar/harness, leash (yes you can train a kitten to be on a leash—I would recommend a harness to attach the leash to) and/or a veterinary exam gift certificate for a new kitten. An exotic pet basket could include play tubes, special bedding (just imagine giving rocks or dirt as a gift and the receiver saying “thanks!”), heat rocks or reptile heating pads, dietary supplies,, pet store gift certificate and care books are a few ideas.
- Celebrate a mature pet. Basic pet care items, treats, food samples, pet clothing, and grooming items are always useful and appreciated. Check with the pet’s owner to see if their pet requires a special diet or specific over the counter supplements. If you know where the pet goes for veterinary care, contact that office to see if you can purchase flea, tick or heartworm preventive for that specific patient. The clinic will need to have the items cleared and recorded on the patient’s record.
- Celebrate a specific breed. If someone on your list loves a certain breed, consider filling a basket with all things just for that breed or that has that breed’s image. Some ideas are handbags, T-shirts, photo frames, pillows, coffee mugs, bumper stickers and notepads.
- Celebrate pet loving with a T-shirt. Pet Tee’s for both owner and pet (yes, they can be matching!) are a fun and unique gift. A good website for funny pet saying on pet shirts and human shirts is www.ruffruffandmeow.com or search ‘pet T-shirts’. You can also find customized collars, matching wristbands and bandannas.
- Celebrate a healthy pet. You might consider a veterinary care gift certificate especially for the puppy or kitten as that is the time for multiple vaccination boosters, deworming’s and spaying or neutering. Of course, check with your recipient to see if they are an established patient at a particular veterinary hospital and then contact that office.
That leads me to the educational part of this article and I’ll make it short because I know your creative juices are flowing and you are ready to go shopping. As we move into the beginning of the new year, there’s another type of “season” that happens. During the spring months, dogs and cats will go into “heat”, meaning they can become pregnant if mated with an intact male. Unfortunately, that means there will be many unintentional litters born which contribute to the number of animals in our shelters and rescues. Please, please spay and neuter your pets. Additionally, spaying and neutering is healthier for your pet. Spaying and neutering is recommended for pets even if they are indoors and don’t normally come into contact with other animals.
For females spaying—removal of both ovaries and the uterus—will prevent cancer of both these organs, mammary cancer (dogs) if done before the first heat cycle and, most is common in middle age small breed dog that are not spayed. It is VERY dangerous because it is an internal infection and can go unnoticed by the owner until the pet is very sick. Treatment is hospitalization with intravenous fluids and strong antibiotics for several days and surgery to remove the ovaries and the infected uterus. It is much safer for the pet to prevent this problem. Cats can also get this condition as can any breed (purebred or mixed) of dog if they are not spayed.
Neutering—removal of the testicles—can prevent testicular tumors, perianal (around the bottom) tumors and hernias, and prostatic enlargement (benign prostatic hypertrophy) in our K-9 pals. For cats the main purpose of neutering an indoor-only cat is the prevention of urine marking in the house.
Another concern I hear from many pet owners is that their pet will get fat. The lack of estrogen in our spayed female pet does seem to slow down metabolism in some individuals. If your pet seems to be the type that easily gains weight, switch to a low fat or light diet. For males, the reduction of testosterone does not lead to weight gain directly. For both genders of our cats or dogs (as for us), weight gain occurs when calories in are greater than calories out.
Ok – now go shopping!