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Be the best Santa Paws for your pet this holiday season

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Make the holidays as paw-some as paw-sible for your pets!

The holiday shopping season is in full swing, which means you're on the clock to buy everything on your loved ones' lists. Some of the most fun shopping experiences are in the pet store because you can bring your pet along with you to check out all the cool stuff they might get this year.

While your furry friend will probably love just about everything they see and smell, here are some ideas that will make you look like the best "paw-rent" of the year.

Work-from-home essentials

If you've been working from home since the pandemic began, you've certainly realized how much extra attention your pets crave while you're in the home with them. Don't neglect your daily walks because exercise is important for the long-term health of your pets. There are, however, plenty of gifts that will bridge the gap between those walks so you don't have to take your pet outside every time they beg for it.

  • Chew toys: Dogs love to chew. It helps them when they're teething, maintains dental health, and keeps their minds busy. Not all chew toys are created equally, though. Avoid toys that have small parts, materials that are easily destroyed, or plastic that might develop sharp edges after it's been gnawed too much. Your dog could choke or cut their mouth if they are given the wrong type of chew toy.
  • Bones: While they're technically not a toy, bones give your dog something to bite and can sometimes keep them busy for hours. Do your research on the type of bone or "edible" chew you give your dog, though. Some of them, like rawhide chews, can cause choking or block their digestive tract.
  • Scratch pads: Cats are natural scratchers. This behavior sharpens their claws and helps them mark their territory. Scratching mats and trees are safe toys that will give your cat something to do without damaging your furniture or curtains. The scratching trees will also keep your cat active, which will help prevent them from becoming obese.
  • Mental stimulation: Besides scratching trees, there are puzzle toys you can buy for your pet that will challenge their minds and reward them for success. Regular mental stimulation keeps your pet's brain active and healthy as they age.
  • Automatic food dispensers: These are especially useful for people who are on the go or are susceptible to getting caught up in meetings while working from home. You can feed your pet on a schedule, which will teach them patience and keep them fed at the proper times.

Treats

It's always a good time for a treat in your pet's mind. If you've found a treat or brand your pet loves, stick with that because you know they'll eat it and digest it. You might also branch out and try special holiday flavors that will make your pet feel like they're eating the same things as you are with your family. For the creative owners out there, certain cookbooks have recipes for unique pet treats you can make at home.

Cold weather outfits

Some animals love to be dressed up and feel cozy. A new sweater or jacket will keep them warm during the winter, and it'll look adorable in your holiday pictures. Complete the ensemble with some booties that will protect their paws from the cold, if they let you put them on, that is.

A new bed

Your pet would be delighted to find a snuggly new bed under the tree. If they're not prone to making messes in the home, there are lots of plush options that your pet will appreciate after a long day of playing with their other new toys.

Treat-dispensing camera

Leaving your pet alone for too long can lead to separation anxiety, but they do need to learn how to function independently. You can buy cameras that connect to your phone and allow you to watch your pet while they're home alone. Some of these cameras even dispense treats and have a microphone that lets you talk to your pet. Whether you're training your pet to be alone for a few minutes or you're comfortable leaving them at home while you're at work, these cameras are useful additions to your home.

After you've bought all your presents, the hard part is hiding them. Animals somehow know which gifts are for them, and sometimes they will tear into things too early. Try to keep your pet's presents somewhere they can't reach them or smell them. Then surprise them on the big day! They might even learn to associate the holidays with positive things and get excited with you at this time of year.

Have a question about pet health? Want to become the best possible pet parent? Find helpful tips, reminders, and insight to giving your furry friend the best possible care with For Pet's Sake! Learn more at drdevonsmith.com.