catholiday-300x195The Christmas holiday is just around the corner. If you are a pet owner, chances are that you consider your pet a member of the family.  It’s understandable that you’d want to give your furry family members a gift for Christmas but, choosing the right gift can be difficult. There are chew toys and treats that can actually be harmful to your pet. Use care in choosing an appropriate toy that your pet will love.

Here are some ideas for fun, safe and healthy gift ideas for your pets.


Cats love to play and pounce. They have a natural instinct to hunt and by providing toys and activities that mimic natural behavior in cats you can encourage exercise and intellectual stimulation. Use care when choosing treats for cats. Giving too many treats can cause stomach upset, making them feel ill.

  • Feather toys – Several different brands of feather toys attached to a string are available for cats. Cats love these toys because you can move them around quickly so cats can “hunt” them and pounce. They provide great exercise and amusement for both you and your cat. Just be sure to hide the toy out of your cat’s reach when you aren’t playing with them.
  • Catnip – Catnip toys contain the dried leaves of the catnip plant, which is a member of the mint family. About half of cats are sensitive to the effects of catnip. Initially, the smell of catnip causes receptors in the brain to be stimulated, making cats purr, roll and rub on things. The effect typically wears off in about 10 minutes. Some catnip toys, like Yeowww brand, contain “super” strength catnip that cats cannot resist.
  • Treats – Treats should be given sparingly since cats can easily get an upset stomach with vomiting and diarrhea. If you are going to give treats, try to choose ones that have a health benefit for dental health or hairball prevention. CET chews are great treats for cats. The treats brush their teeth as they chew and the enzymes in the treats help with tartar. For cats prone to hairballs, Furball Plus treats can help prevent hairballs and vomiting.


Dogs  are naturally “pack” animals and they value companionship. Some of their favorite activities are chewing, chasing and spending time with their family members. Providing chew toys can be entertaining and good for your dog’s teeth and health if you choose a safe toy.

  • Chew toys – There are lots of chew toys available but many of them are too hard to chew properly resulting in broken teeth or a stomach obstruction. The safest rawhide available for dogs is a CET Hextra chew. The chew is a flat rawhide coated in teeth cleaning enzymes.
  • Treats – Most dogs love treats as rewards. Be sure to choose a low calorie treat and limit the number of treats per day. Lean Treats are soft, chewy treats and Pupcorn is a dog friendly version of popcorn. Both are very low in calories and won’t cause stomach upset if given in moderation.
  • Fresh Breath – Dogs really want to please their owners and a major reason that people stop interacting and playing with their dog is bad breath. Take a look in your dog’s mouth to see if they have bacterial plaque on their teeth or redness of the gums. Dental disease is the cause of “doggy breath” and scheduling a dental cleaning can improve the bond that you have with your dog and help them live longer.
  • Time to play – One of the best, and least expensive gifts you can give your dog is time. Take time each day to walk your dog and play with them. You will be rewarded with tail wags and puppy kisses!

Gifts to Avoid

  • Stuffed toys – Stuffed toys can be chewed apart and the stuffing and squeakers inside the toys can cause stomach obstructions in both dogs and cats.
  • Real bones – Real bones are too hard for dogs to chew properly. The bones are harder than their teeth which can cause broken and painful teeth.
  • Rubber bones – Dogs like to chew off pieces of the rubber bones that can get lodged in the stomach or intestines which could mean an emergency surgery to remove it.
  • Toys with strings – Strings can also get stuck in the stomach and intestines. Cats are especially prone to string ingestion, so it’s important to keep all string out of your cat’s reach.
  • Large rawhide chews – Large rawhide chews can cause diarrhea and stomach upset. The round or tube shaped rawhides are especially prone to causing a stomach obstruction.

We have several pet safe gift ideas wrapped and ready to be put under the tree. We have Dog Friendly Packages stuffed with edible packing materials designed for your dog to open easily. For your feline family members we have Yeowww catnip toys that they will enjoy unwrapping.

For additional gift ideas, please contact Northwest Animal Hospital at 763-475-2448, check out the gift ideas on our Facebook page, or stop in to see the other gift options we have available for your pet lover friends, family members, teachers, etc……