We’ve no doubt that pets will be getting fully involved in the Christmas festivities this year, and it’s heart-warming to think of all those four-pawed friends being treated to presents. Obvious gift options for cats and dogs are scrummy titbits, treats and table scraps, and after all, a little bit of what you fancy does you no harm, right? True. The trouble starts when it becomes excessive.
Fat-filled treats in large quantities can cause acute problems such as the painful condition pancreatitis, as well as longer term issues like obesity. With the Royal Veterinary College reporting 1 in 14 dogs to be overweight earlier this year, it is clear that obesity among pets is a significant problem, and it’s one which we are passionate about correcting. With that in mind, we got to thinking; what alternative Christmas presents are there for pets? Here are some of our thoughts…
Pets can partake in the Christmas feast, enjoying many of the same tasty delights which we do. Vegetables such as carrots, sprouts and broccoli, as well as lean meats, are far healthier options than skin-on meats and fatty gravy. There are even recipes out there for pet-safe mince pies for anyone looking to go the extra mile for their furry friends.
If your dog’s recall could do with a bit of polishing, or you’ve always fancied teaching your dog some dance moves, why not put their Christmas budget towards some training sessions? Discipline, exercise, and mental stimulation can all be benefits of attending training classes, not to mention the social element for both fur-friends and humans.
Why not take it up a notch for the particularly energetic pooches out there, with a game of flyball or agility classes? Exercise your dog, work their brain, meet like-minded people and have a blast at these classes, knowing that your pet is benefiting in both mind and body.
We are big advocates of playtime with pets; it’s amazing what a squeaky toy or a cat tickler can do for fitness levels. Not least, a play session with your cat or dog can really strengthen the bond between you, doing wonders for everyone’s mental wellbeing.
Brain training toys
Activity toys can be particularly helpful for the older pet who is unable to partake in energetic shenanigans. Overdoing the fatty treats for these guys can be detrimental when it comes to loading old, sore joints up with extra weight too. So, a great way to show them love is to provide mental stimulation and fun through brain training toys. Also great for those who are young and full of beans, working their minds can be equally as exhausting as physical exercise and could help prevent behavioural issues caused by boredom.
How about a professional dog groom for skin and coat health? Or a ‘pedicure’ for nail and paw health? Cats can be treated to an at-home version too, and may enjoy the massaging effect of a good groom. Anything that increases blood flow around the body can deliver a real sense of wellness.
Owners can now even attend pet massaging courses, learning how to safely deliver health-giving massages to their pet, a wonderfully relaxing thing to do, as everyone settles down in front of the television for the evening.
Give the gift of good health to the pets you love by subscribing them to a Pet Health Plan. Is there a better way to show your appreciation than by providing life-preserving vaccinations, year-round flea, tick and worm prevention and regular health examinations? Pet health plans ensure your pet receives everything they need in preventative health to give them the best chance of living a long and healthy life. Even better, there is a self-gifting element to this one, as owners benefit from discounts, and an easy to manage, pay-monthly approach to financing their pet’s routine health care. See here for more information on our Pet Health Plans.
A note on pets as presents:
While we’re on the subject of giving, it’s worth a reminder that giving pets as presents is rarely a good idea. Rescue centres are full of unwanted animals given as gifts by well-meaning people who can never really know if someone else is truly in a position to provide a life-long home.
Whatever you choose to give your pets for Christmas this year, we’re sure that what they will cherish the most is quality time with their favourite people, and we wish you all a very merry time.