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December is Safe Pet Toys and Gifts Month

When it comes to dogs and cats, toys are a necessity and not a luxury. Species-appropriate toys provide your pet with exercise, mental stimulation, comfort, distraction, and entertainment – all for just a few dollars. Although winter gets long, having a fresh supply of toys inside helps your dog or cat release pent-up energy instead of chewing up your personal items or acting up in other ways due to boredom.

Selecting Safe and Appropriate Toys for Your Dog
Your dog’s size and breed are some of the most important considerations when choosing a new toy. A small poodle and a Greyhound would require very different toys because of their mouth size and energy levels. Chaska Valley Veterinary Clinic also encourages you to pay attention to small parts that could present a choking hazard such as polystyrene beads, nutshells, buttons, strings, and plastic eyes.

It’s in a dog’s DNA to want to chew. Safe toys that help meet this instinct include hard rubber balls, tennis balls, and a small toy rope with a knot at each end. Dogs also love treats, so consider buying yours a Kong or busy box that allows you to hide a treat inside. This keeps your dog motivated to keep playing, which provides important mental and physical stimulation.

Holiday Gift Options for Your Cat
Cats love to stalk, chase, and capture their toys, which goes back to the days of their undomesticated ancestors catching their prey. However, you don’t have to give your cat live mice to cater to this built-in instinct. Cats are often just as interested in a tie from a bread bag or another very simple object they can chase and bat around the house.

Popular toys for cats include laser pointers, string, small balls with bells inside, and toy mice. You can even consider sprinkling a toy with catnip to really capture your cat’s attention. Having a wide variety of toys is especially important for cats who don’t go outside.

Don’t Forget the Gift of Time

No matter what you give your dog or cat as a holiday gift, she will love it because it came from you. As the days get busier, be sure to set aside at least 15 minutes each day to talk to, play with, and pet your dog or cat. Not only will this deepen your bond, but your pet will be less likely to act out to get your attention while you’re busy during the holiday season.

Photo Credit: Absolutimages / Getty Images