As we keep hearing in the media, many people have adopted “pandemic pets” over the past several months. With the holidays approaching, new pet owners may be looking for ideas to spoil their new pet! But instead of just spoiling your pet with food treats, consider some gifts that will stimulate your pet’s curiosity, get him on the right track with obedience training, or entertain him when you’re not home. Here are a few ideas to help you get started!
Long-line or long leash. A long-line is simply a long leash 15 to 30 feet (5-10 meters) in length used specifically in training. This is not to be mistaken for an extending or retractable leash. A long-line is useful when practicing recalls with your dog, to give you more control while your dog is free-running, or for gundog training. Learning the recall command is an important skill to teach your dog if you plan to allow your dog off leash.
Dog training. While it may seem like a gift of dog training isn’t really for your pet, dog training is the best gift you can give your new pet! A misbehaving reactive dog, or one that pulls you all over the trail is no fun to walk. Check with your veterinarian for dog trainer recommendations in your community.
Puzzle feeders. Ideal for both cats and dogs, puzzle feeders are a great gift to stimulate pet. Make mealtimes game time! Maze or puzzle feeders mentally challenge your pet, reduces boredom, encourage your pet to eat slowly, help with weight control, and even help with separation anxiety.
Lures or wand toys. Wand toys are an excellent enrichment toy for your cat (or dog!). Some wand toys come with interchangeable lures, so you keep the game interesting for your pet. These types of toys encourage instinctual behavior and keep your cat mentally stimulated, alert, and healthy—those short bursts of pouncing activity use many different muscles providing exercise your cat.
Bird toys. Toys provide birds with mental stimulation and alleviate boredom. Be sure to only select toys that are manufactured for birds and check that the materials are non-toxic. Choose toys that species appropriate. It is important to note that some kinds of wood are not safe for birds. If you are unsure, check with your veterinarian.
Healthy treats. What holiday would be complete without some treats for your furry or feathered friend! Keep it healthy by remembering that moderation is key. Use treats as rewards while training or use them as reinforcement for positive behaviors. For cats, freeze-dried fish is often a hit and you’ll know exactly what your cat is getting without a long and complicated ingredient list! For dogs, single-ingredient treats include dehydrated liver, fish, or sweet potato. Be sure to keep dietary restrictions in mind when purchasing treats for your pet. If in doubt, check with your veterinary healthcare team.
Have a safe and happy holiday season spoiling your pet!