At least half of all U.S. pet owners will purchase their pet a gift this holiday season—did your pet make the list? Before you wrap another fleece bone or catnip-infused toy for the third year in a row, check out UrgentVet’s pet holiday gift list for some fresh and practical ideas your pet will truly appreciate.
For the thinker—pet enrichment toys
Interactive dog and cat toys are designed to stimulate your pet’s hunting or prey-related behavior, and to encourage critical thinking by using their nose or manipulating various toy components with their paw, mouth, or nose to access food or small toys hidden inside. By allowing your pet to express their natural behaviors in a safe and controlled way, they are more satisfied and less likely to exhibit inappropriate chewing, barking, or digging. These toys also force pets to eat more slowly—improving satisfaction, reducing bloat risk, and aiding with weight loss and management.
Popular options include:
- Snuffle mats — With these mats, your pet must use their nose to hunt for food or treats.
- Treat balls — Treat balls encourage motion and chase.
- IQ puzzles — Your pet will learn to problem solve with puzzle toys. Start with beginner level challenges to avoid frustration.
- DIY ideas — Stimulating gifts don’t need to stimulate the economy—check out these easy upcycled options from the ASPCA.
For the H₂0 connoisseur—pet drinking fountain
If your cat enjoys hanging around the tap, they may be hinting for a pet drinking fountain. Like their wild ancestors, cats are designed to get their water from their food, but modern, dry diets contain only 10 percent water and can leave cats mildly dehydrated, no matter how much they drink from the bowl. Chronic dehydration impairs proper filtration and toxin removal from the kidneys and contributes to urinary tract disorders.
Cats are attracted to circulating water’s motion and improved taste. Pet fountains continually draw their water through a charcoal filter that removes impurities and odors. Moving water naturally deters bacterial growth, which may also improve your pet’s oral health.
For the foodie—homemade pet treats
If you’re already in the kitchen baking holiday traditions, why not start a new one for your pet? Homemade pet treats with no preservatives, artificial colors, or excessive calories are an effective and healthy way to say “I love you.”
Check with your veterinarian first if your pet has special dietary requirements or allergies, to ensure your chosen recipes will satisfy your pet without unwanted side effects.
For the outdoorsy feline—catio outdoor enclosures
For that cat who dreams of the outdoors, consider a “catio.” These secure outdoor “cat-patio” enclosures allow your feline to enjoy fresh air and fun without risking their safety. Catio plans range from a budget-friendly basic to a palatial paradise. Being outside is incredibly enriching for cats and may improve indoor behavior. Catios not only protect your cat from running away, being hit by a car, or becoming prey to a larger predator, but also protect birds and wildlife from your cat—making the catio a generous gift for many.
For the gracefully aging—clothing and beds to keep senior pets warm
While you may not live in a snowy climate, your aging pet can still feel a chill. Senior pets lose body heat more readily and may struggle to stay warm, burning calories that are better served providing energy for physical activity and internal processes. Arthritic pets will experience more stiffness and painful mobility when their joints are cold.
Dogs will enjoy lightweight clothing, such as jackets or coats, that should cover the chest and extend to the tail to cover the hips. Ensure your pet can move comfortably in the clothing before removing any tags. Cats are not as likely to be thrilled with a new wardrobe, but will love cuddling up in a heated or self-warming bed.
For the overachiever—pet training classes
If your pet prefers an experience to a tangible item, they may enjoy a fun training class. Modern pet training goes far beyond “Sit” and “Stay,” and includes offerings such as basic manners, obedience, rally obedience, agility, scent work, and trick training.
Virtual training classes are available for dogs, puppies, and cats—yes, cats! Teaching your pet new skills can improve their mental and physical wellbeing, promote self-confidence, and build a trusting pet-owner relationship.
For everyone—intentional time with your pet
Pets can be unintentionally overlooked during busy times—especially the holiday season. While their basic needs are met, they may long for social interaction and attention. The greatest gift for your pet this season is simply spending dedicated, intentional time together. This can be as simple or as involved as you wish—no event planning or special arrangements required. Easy ways to give your pet focused attention include:
- Sharing some plain popcorn during a movie night
- Hiking a new trail
- Letting your dog sniff as long as they want on a walk
- Massaging or brushing your pet
- Baking treats together
- Teaching your pet a new trick using positive reinforcement
A practical and appropriate gift that suits your pet’s personality and needs benefits the giver, too. Watching your dog or cat enjoy their gift can be deeply rewarding—and entertaining—and create new holiday memories and traditions.
Should your pet’s holiday take an unfortunate turn, and they require after-hours care for an emergency, or a non-life threatening illness, your nearby UrgentVet team can help.