Veterinarian offers top 10 Christmas gifts for pets

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — As you shop for Christmas gifts for your pets or for pet owners, keep the pet’s health in mind, says Lorraine Corriveau, a wellness veterinarian at Purdue University’s School of Veterinary Medicine.

Here are her top 10 holiday gift ideas for pets:

dog chewing up wrapping paper1. Chew toys. Chew toys prevent pets from chewing (and possibly swallowing) ribbons and wrapping paper while people open gifts.

2. Healthy pet treats. Give your pets treats and snacks made for animals to avoid the temptation of feeding them “people food”.

3. A new collar and leash, or a gift certificate for training. Remind owners to exercise their pets. Don’t forget to find out what works best for the type of dog and get an appropriate-sized collar.

4. A grooming kit or a grooming gift certificate. Grooming gives owners a chance to take a close look at and feel their pet’s coat and notice outward symptoms of certain health problems.

5. A dental gift certificate or a dental cleaning kit. Eighty percent of dogs and cats need dental care, and “bad breath” is almost always a sign of periodontal disease.

6. A new bed or a kennel. Even pets need alone time once in awhile, especially during stressful events like crowded holiday parties. A new bed or kennel will give your pets a warm place to curl up and relax — away from family activities.

7. Cages and crates for new or growing dogs. A collapsible cage is particularly appropriate for those who travel with their pets.

8. Microchip pets for permanent identification. Making a one-time investment with a small registration fee, owners have their names and addresses on file in case their pet is lost or is involved in an accident.

9. A thinner new year. Once the holiday season is over, introduce your pet to low-calorie food if the animal is overweight. Chubby dogs and cats may look cute, but extra weight is unhealthy and will ultimately shorten the animal’s lifespan.

10. Give the gift of health. Don’t give pets as presents, but give a certificate for pet health-care package. If someone has a new puppy or kitten, buy the first-year health-care package. Ask the clinic if it can package the first-year vaccinations, deworming, neutering and microchipping in one bundle.

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