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What Pets Really Want for Christmas

What Pets Really Want for Christmas

Iíve started my holiday shopping, and as is often the case, I seem to have better plans for my animals in comparison to my human family members.

My best idea this year is to turn Apolloís skuzzy old leash into a toy. He is obsessed with shaking it to death every time we go on a walk. I know I should discourage this behavior, and I do when it crosses the line from cute to annoying (which only creates confusion for the poor guy, Iím sure). Sometimes, however, itís just easier to go with the flow. So my plan is to cut the leash into two or three pieces, add a few knots, and voilŗ ó a cheap prey item that Iím sure heíll love more than any toy I could buy for him at a store.
I will also be getting Apollo a new leash (and perhaps some Bitter Apple or something similar to discourage him from displacing his behavior onto the new leash), but frankly this gift is more for me than for him.

What makes a good present for a pet? I think it is something that improves the quality of the animalís life. Too often we buy things that make our lives easier or more fun and call them presents for our pets. Did your cat really like those antler ears you bought last year? And the joy of shopping for animals is that that they honestly couldnít care less how much you spend on them, which is why I feel perfectly justified in repurposing Apolloís old leash and calling it a present.

I think the best presents are boredom-relievers. Research has shown that boredom and stress play huge roles in the development of behavioral and other health problems in both dogs and cats.

For cats, how about a comfy fleece pad (or even an old sweatshirt) placed on a chair or perch in front of a sunny, south-facing window? If you are feeling flush, buy a birdfeeder and mount it within site of the window. If your cat could benefit from some exercise, tie a string on a cheap “mouse” and make it scurry across the floor, but keep the string away from your cats when you are not supervising play since the last thing you want is to have one of them swallow it.

For dogs and cats, how about a puzzle feeder? Simply put a portion of your petís regular food ration inside and make him work for it. Zoos use these kinds of things all the time to provide mental stimulation for their animals.

An active dog would love anything that gives him more opportunities to be outside and/or play. Toys donít have to be elaborate; itís more about finding time. Perhaps you could give your dog some “coupons” he can redeem for trips to the dog park, or walks on especially beautiful days, or a discount package at a doggy daycare provider that emphasizes play.

Happy Shopping!

Should I Give a Pet as a Gift?
Pets & Animals Holiday Gift Guide
Stress-Free Holidays for Pets

Presents for Pets: What They Really Want originally appeared on

Read more: Animal Rights, Behavior & Communication, Cats, Christmas, Dogs, Holidays, Holidays & Gifts, Humor & Inspiration, Life, Pet Health, Pets, Safety

By Dr. Jennifer Coates, PetMD

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Nicolas, selected from petMD

petMD is a leading online resource focused solely on the health and well-being of pets. The site maintains the world's largest pet health library, written and approved by a network of trusted veterinarians. petMD was founded to inspire pet owners to provide an ever-increasing quality of life for their pets and to connect pet owners with pet experts and other animal lovers. For more information, visit


+ add your own
5:31AM PST on Jan 11, 2013

All my dog wanted for Christmas was some turkey and gravy in his dinner! Hahaha

11:19AM PST on Jan 6, 2013

noted- thanks

7:54AM PST on Jan 5, 2013

thanks for sharing :)

6:27AM PST on Jan 2, 2013

Noted. Thank you.

10:56AM PST on Dec 31, 2012

Cat & dog toys can be made of many things we all have around the house.

11:04PM PST on Dec 30, 2012


2:43PM PST on Dec 29, 2012

0 items from china, my aunts dog just was hospitalized from beggin chicken strips, with high levels of toxins. the only thing they could pin point and the vet said do not buy anything unless from USA

7:12PM PST on Dec 27, 2012

My cats and dogs would rather play with the simplest things like bags, boxes or my stuff. lol I have yet to find a puzzle feeder that my dogs won't chew up.

5:26PM PST on Dec 26, 2012

love, attention, and busy toys.... toys that stimulate them to exercise and think...

2:30PM PST on Dec 26, 2012


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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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