Spoil your pets this Christmas- and keep chocolate out of their stocking!

///Spoil your pets this Christmas- and keep chocolate out of their stocking!

Spoil your pets this Christmas- and keep chocolate out of their stocking!

‘Tis the season to celebrate- and your pets are part of the family too. No matter which special holiday you celebrate this festive season, make sure your furry and feathered friends get a treat or too as well. Here’s Ou Kaapse Vet’s suggestions for the perfect gift for every pet who owns a special part of your heart.

Something scrumptious

We don’t know a pet alive who doesn’t love a special spoiling! Why not opt for some special pet-friendly treats to celebrate the season, or cook them their very own special marinade-and-sauce free snack to join in with the family? Safe raw bones will keep a curious pooch entertained for hours, and a blast of catnip or catnip spray can bring out the kitten in your cat again. Birds will often enjoy a safe popcorn string to peck at while you’re busy with gifts, or a seed bell to test their wits.

If you want to spoil a pet-loving friend or family member, treats are always a great choice as they don’t impinge on [or need great knowledge of] decor or lifestyle choices- and we’re sure the special pup or kitty in question will be fishing their special spoil out of your pockets before you get in the door. Hey, even if the rest of the family are stressing you out, it’s always a good idea to get the dog on your side!

Something practical

Is Fido’s bed looking dingy? Have they chewed up their blanket one time too many? Does Miss Kitty need a shiny new collar, or has Mr Bones outgrown his leash? Now’s the perfect time to swap out the old and get them something fun for you both. With the proliferation of sales around this time of year, you’re sure to find pocket-friendly gifts for the furry people in your life. If you’ve been holding out on a major purchase like a drinking fountain, grooming set or car seat belt, now could be the perfect time to splurge responsibly

Something fun

It’s always playtime with a dog in the house! Now’s your perfect chance to buy some sweet new toys for your special four-legged family. A new mirror or block toy for your bird, a Kong and some interactive games for the dog, and a feather ‘teaser’ or laser light to keep the kitties entertained are the perfect festive spoils you’ve been looking for. Bonus: you’ll get to spoil them with an evening of fun and celebration, too- after all, you have to test them out, right?

Festive No-Nos

While your animals are sure to love the season as much as you do, there’s a few places to be wary when celebrating with animals in the family. The proliferation of alcohol, good food, chocolates and nuts may be dangerous for your waistline, but it can be downright life threatening for your animals. Keep table scraps to a minimum- not only are they an easy way to pile on the pounds, but some common human holiday ‘treats’ like chocolate, meat bones, alcohol, caffeine, some candies, rich sauces, garlic and onions, many nuts, nutmeg and other spices, raisins and grapes can be anything from upsetting to lethal for your pets. Likewise, keep an eye on poinsettia plants, discarded packaging/candy foil wraps/gift wrap and easy-to-chew decorations like candles, baubles and tinsel. The last thing you want is trying to find an emergency vet open on Christmas day! Cautious pet owners will know to place all decorations and gifts out-of-reach of curious noses so everyone can enjoy without damage or worry. You may see a Christmas tree, but kitty sees a new challenge!

And while we are sad to mention this, it’s too important to skip- a pet is for life, not a gift, and animals need to fit carefully and with commitment into your world. Never buy an animal as a spontaneous gift for anyone, not even your children or yourself, unless you are fully willing to assume the burden of care through its entire lifetime. Come New Year’s, the shelters will be packed with ‘christmas puppies and kittens’ who are no longer cute or wanted by irresponsible pet owners who made rash decisions.
While there’s nothing wrong with bringing home your new baby [or better yet, golden oldie] while you have leave days to acclimate them if this is a careful decision you’ve made earlier in the year, rather skip the spontaneous purchase or ‘gift’. Unethical breeders will play on your emotions at this time, but stay strong and choose your pets with care, careful thought and love, always. And if there’s an empty space in your home at the moment- have a thought to helping a reputable rescue with one of those ‘christmas kittens and puppies’ and abandoned holiday pets in the New Year rather than making a quick decision now.

The Ou Kaapse Vet team wishes you and your loved ones the very best festive season possible, and we look forward to providing you and your furry family with the very best veterinary care throughout the next year too.