You’ve got presents for the children, partner, great aunt, little cousins – your gift list is almost complete and you’re settling back with a satisfied glow until you realise: you’ve missed off someone rather important.
Now, we know not everyone chooses to buy presents for their pets, let’s face it they’re expensive enough as it is but every now and again a little treat seems appropriate for the animal that has brought you and your family so much joy and love.
Whether you have a cat to curl up with, a dog who would do anything for a game of fetch or even a tortoise who can get around surprisingly quickly, our pets form significant relationships in our lives and we simply love having them in our homes and in our hearts.
With that in mind we look at some of the top treats you could be handing over to your pets, guaranteed to put a wag in their tail and a spring in their step.
You might be looking at a hat for your cat, or mittens for your kittens or you might just be looking for a toy that plays to their natural hunter instincts and keeps them physically and mentally stimulated.
Toys might just look fun but for some animals they are more than just a run around. Bored pets are destructive pets, even cats, so providing some entertainment for them is the perfect way to save your upholstery from a frenzied claw sharpening session and a game of chase up your curtains.
There are lots of options for cats and kittens and many come with the cat equivalent of opium: catnip. This plant from the mint family simply drives cats crazy and provides a stimulus to play and chase any toy laced in oil from this plant.
Currently popular on the market are catnip filled toy mice and the like, often inside wooden balls that will provide your feline with hours of entertainment as they chase them across the floor.
For a bit more of a mental challenge you could splash out on a cat tunnel, also featuring hanging toys that will have your cat chasing its tail as it darts in and out of the entrances. Cat tunnels also make good hiding places for your shyer feline friends.
Convinced your cat could join the pet equivalent of MENSA? How about testing his wit with a food puzzle challenge. Simply hide treats behind the moveable parts of the puzzle and watch as he works out how to slide the pieces out of the way.
Your best friend deserves the very best and there are lots of dog toys out there for your faithful companion.
Choose ones that stimulate his mind as well as ones he can put some serious physical effort into catching.
Like the cat puzzle, use hidden compartments in the specially crafted dog toy to hide treats and allow your dog to sniff and snuffle his way to finding them out.
Test his obedience and strength with a classic rope tug-of-war toy that helps cement that bond between pet and owner and allows you to teach your dog a thing or two about patience along the way.
Appeal to your pet’s natural hunting instinct with realistic looking (but fake) animal skins such as a fox that your little hunter will enjoy thrashing around with and making squeak.
Traditional but still chase toys include dog Frisbees and squeaky durable tennis balls guaranteed to wear him out after a walk in the park.
Treats can also be a great way of keeping your dog’s teeth and gums clean and healthy so consider vet-approved chews and bones to help him maintain his winning smile.
Grooming kits too will keep him looking his tip-top best and help to maintain and keep his coat in good order, essential for style but also to get rid of any nasty bugs that might have set up home in his fur.
Light Up Your Lizard’s Life
Pets come in all shapes and sizes and you only have to look at family blogs to see the huge variety of animals gracing our homes.
Admittedly when it comes to amphibians and reptiles, they’re slightly less cuddly than their mammalian counterparts but they can be easier to buy for than that fussy in-law, so here are some ideas.
It’s really all about the food. It’s not cheap to keep lizards and other reptiles so any self-respecting gecko is going to be pleased with a new batch of live insects to munch down on. The same goes for your tortoise companion who will be delighted with fresh new plants to keep him fully fuelled.
For these pet owners any new additions to a vivarium such as a change of lighting or a re-arranging of the environment is sure to make pet and owner very happy indeed. With a huge variety of plants, specially sourced bedding and sand, your reptilian friend will be able to show off his exotic nature in a home fit for a king.
Owners too can benefit from a huge range of reptile keyrings and gadgets, everything to remind them of their favourite lizardy companion.
Don’t Forget The Small Ones
And finally there are the hundreds of hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits and rats that make fabulous pets and provide hours of fun and entertainment. From tasty treats to clear balls to run around in, there’s a gift for even the smallest of family companions. No hamster is going to turn down the chance to nibble on a delicious carrot stick or run around a new wheel for his cage.
Everyone in the family deserves a little treat now and again and gift giving doesn’t need to be expensive. Get the children involved with choosing and wrapping or consider making a donation to an animal charity that provides food and shelter for lost or abandoned animals.
Shop around and give your best friend a toy he can really get his teeth and paws into.
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