Keep Holidays Jolly with Safe Gift Choices for Pets

Nov 13, 2012, 03:00 ET from Petco

SAN DIEGO, Nov. 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- A trip to the vet is the last thing a pet parent wants to be faced with during the busy holiday season. Instead, keep the holidays jolly by ensuring pets receive the proper gift under the tree or when lighting the menorah. Petco™ and America's Veterinarian, Dr. Marty Becker, have teamed up to put together their top choices for safe holiday gifts for four-legged family members.


Get the Right Size: One size does not fit all! A Chihuahua and a Great Dane have different needs when it comes to toys. Make sure pets have a gleeful holiday by giving them toys that are the correct size. Dr. Becker says, "Balls should be small enough to carry, but not so small they can be swallowed or lodged in a dog's or cat's throat." On the contrary, a toy should not be too big. "Pets should be able to easily handle a toy with their mouth or paws," continues Dr. Becker. If they are struggling, the toy is too large. Instead, opt for Petco's "Lump of Coal" dog toy this holiday. This plush toy comes in two sizes, "bad dog" and "super bad dog" so it's perfect for any sized lovable "troublemaker" in the house.

Ensure a Proper Fit: Oh what fun it is to dress in holiday garb in December. However, "children's clothing should never be put on pets," warns Dr. Becker. "Clothes that don't fit properly could potentially choke a pet or get caught on something, trapping a pet." Instead, Petco offers numerous items of celebratory holiday clothing. From Santa and Mrs. Claus costumes for cats to holiday sweaters for dogs, to simple jingle bell collars or Hanukah bows, there's something for every pet. 

Age Appropriate: Dogs and cats of all ages need love, especially during the holidays, but puppies, kittens, and senior pets have different needs. Many companies make age specific nutrition formulas that cater specifically to a pet's life stage. "A great example is Nylabone's Nutri Dent Good Puppy Edible Dental Chews," says Dr. Becker. "They not only clean teeth and freshen breath, but are specially sized for puppies three months and older for easy chewing." On the opposite end of the spectrum, older pets may require toys that are softer to chew, treats that help joint health or brushes that are gentler on skin.  "As a rule of thumb, pets are considered older when they've reached half of their life expectancy," says Dr. Becker. For the senior pet, Petco carries a variety of products like Silver Tails Vet-Tech Senior Pet Dental Care System, which gently and effectively cleans a senior pet's teeth and gums. 

Going Green: Eighty percent of pet parents plan to buy pets a special something for the holidays. With all the pet toys, beds, collars and leads being placed under the Christmas tree or Hanukkah bush this holiday, it's time to help pets do their part by thinking green this season. "There are so many amazingly stylish and eco-conscious products out there for your pet, it makes it easy to go green," says Dr. Becker. Planet Petco is an entire line of beds, collars, toys and leads that are both fashionable and planet-friendly. "I love the new brightly colored collars and the Natural Wood Dog Crate. Both make great presents for pets who want to do their part to help the environment." In addition, Dr. Becker suggests reaching for a toy that is stuffing-free, like Skineeez toys. For added fun, get Petco's new Squeaker Bottle Buddies that instantly turns any old water bottle into a squeaker!

Comfortable Bedding: There are so many reasons to give dogs and cats a new bed for the holidays. First of all, it gives them a feeling of safety, especially with multiple guests coming through the house. It can also fix physical challenges as they age. "I highly recommend the Petco Memory Foam Mat for pets of any age," suggests Dr. Becker. The interior is made from memory foam for a custom fit and softness making it the perfect bed to pamper any pooch.

Proper Nutrition: Various studies suggest that people gain between one and ten pounds during the holidays. "Here's the skinny," says Dr. Becker, "People food is for people and although it's tempting to sneak a bite to your pet during the festivities this could be harmful to their health." Even seemingly harmless foods can do more harm than good. "Grapes and raisins can cause irreversible damage to the kidneys and ingesting even as few as four to five grapes or raisins can be poisonous to a 20 pound dog," explains Dr. Becker. Instead, opt for a beautifully festive splurge, such as Merrick's Holiday Sausage Gift Box. These all-natural treats are attractively packaged and look just like human food – without the negative side effects!

Training: The hustle and bustle of the holidays can be stressful for anyone, but don't forget that dogs and cats can feel stress too. Dr. Becker says, "When pets are stressed, it's often good to provide a refresher course on their training to ensure their health and well-being." The perfect solution? Petco offers gift cards that can be used for dog training classes, which is the perfect gift for both pet and pet parent during the holidays. A short refresher course can do wonders for pets during the busy season.

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About Petco

Petco is a leading pet specialty retailer that provides the products, services and advice that make it easier for our customers to be great pet parents. Everything we do is guided by our vision for Healthier Pets. Happier People. Better World. We operate more than 1,150 stores nationwide, including more than 50 Unleashed by Petco locations, a smaller format neighborhood shop, and The Petco Foundation, an independent nonprofit organization, has raised more than $100 million since it was created in 1999 to help promote and improve the welfare of companion animals. In conjunction with the Foundation, we work with and support approximately 8,000 local animal welfare groups across the country to help find homes for more than 250,000 animals through in-store adoption events every year.

Mia West