Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice: Healthy Homemade Treats for Pets
Pets love pumpkin, too! Treat your pets to a healthy and tasty snack they'll love while keeping their health in check with these recipes.
Whether you are shopping for your dog, cat, or someone else’s pet, it can be helpful to have a gift guide for pets. Should you select toys based on the pet’s size and age? Should you research top pet products? What would be a fun gift idea for a fellow pet parent?
Our feline friends deserve to be spoiled from time to time. Whether it’s Christmas, their birthday, or a random day that you feel like treating your cat to a new toy, there can be dozens of ways to show your mutual admiration.
Cats are typically considered seniors when they reach the golden age of 11. At this point, though it can vary from one cat to the next, you may notice that your feline friend is slowing down a bit. They may have less energy or don’t want to play as often.
However, that’s not to say that they will want to stop playing altogether. Consider what toys your cat has always liked and see how you can adapt those to them becoming older. For instance, if they have always been a fan of toys that require hunting instincts, try finding ones with softer fabrics and not swishing them around as quickly.
It's possible that your senior cat mastered their hunting skills years ago and is no longer as interested in these kinds of toys. Instead, an older cat may find more enjoyment in one that stimulates their senses.
For fun sound stimulation, there are many options that make soft chirping sounds anytime they are thrown or batted around. With their aging teeth, which may be a bit more brittle, consider purchasing soft toys made with more forgiving material so as not to hurt your cat’s mouth.
Some of these soft, cloth toys can also be available with catnip inside of them. Though not all cats react to catnip, if yours has always been a fan, then they may enjoy a new plaything. While some may be in the shape of a mouse, which could encourage your cat to play solo or carry it around, others may have a small string, allowing you to dangle the toy and play alongside them.
Another fantastic choice for older cats is a cat ball tower, sometimes also called a track tower. Often made of plastic and consisting of multiple levels, each tier has a ball that can be pushed around but is made so that it cannot leave the track. Some of these towers may also have additional elements on the top, like an attachment to bat around. This type of interactive toy is ideal for providing your cat with enrichment while giving them a chance to sit or lay down while playing. For older cats, this allows their mobility not to affect their ability to play, and they can still have fun.
Since older cats sleep more and play less throughout the day, a new, plush bed is another gift idea. Older cats could become stiffer and appreciate comfier places to curl up and rest. Not to mention, if you live in a multi-story home, it could be helpful to have a bed for your cat on each floor, so they don’t have to climb the steps as often.
Another great gift idea for your cat, or someone else’s senior feline, is new treats. Soft, chewy delicacies could be the perfect choice for an older cat’s teeth—and taste buds. If you will be celebrating your cat’s birthday, you could even get them a cat-safe birthday cake.
Having a kitten in your home can be an incredibly exciting time. That said, kittens can be energetic and mischievous, and get into all kinds of sticky situations. A wonderful way to channel some of this energy and encourage them to embrace their instincts is to set aside time every day and play with them.
There’s a plethora you can choose from, but don’t forget to rotate which toys are out in the house and which ones are kept away. If your kitten only ever has the same few toys to choose from, they may become bored.
When shopping, keep a keen eye out for anything with super long strings or feathers, glued-on fabric, or small, removable parts. These could all pose a potential choking hazard.
In addition to toys, there are many other fun gifts for a new kitten, including a scratching post or climbing tower. Be sure to shop around and look at the wide variety available. You can select something small to be tucked in a corner or a towering one that lets your cat peer out the windows. Some have built-in cubbies, and others can be ordered in crazy colors or designs. Who knew that your cat’s tower could become a statement piece?
Like older cats, kittens will also appreciate receiving some new treats. Whether in the form of cat nip, soft chews, or crunchy biscuits, kittens can quickly learn that the sound of a crinkling bag means something delicious.
What dog parent doesn’t love the opportunity to shower their pup with lots of love and presents? Whether you are shopping for your new puppy or your senior dog, there is plenty to purchase that they are sure to adore.
Older dogs can make for the perfect companion. To show your best bud some appreciation, there are many gift options from which you can choose.
One that all dogs could love, no matter their breed or size, is a new bed. If their current one is very thin and worn out, or they only have one in the house, a new one could be perfect. When shopping for one, consider if your dog has any preferences like sides on the bed or fabric and how big they’ll want the bed. Giving your dog a more cushioned place to rest could be easier on their joints, and with more than one bed in the house, they may feel more comfortable relaxing wherever the rest of the family is.
As your dog ages, you may notice they are having more difficulty getting on and off furniture or in and out of the car. With small breeds, you can easily pick them up to help them get where they want to go, but that may not be a possibility if you have a large (or extra-large) breed. A gift that you and your dog will appreciate is a canine ramp. Whether for the car, couch, or bed, this could provide your dog with more independent mobility while also saving you the hassle of lifting your heavy pup.
If your dog is a big fan of the culinary arts, then going the food route may be a better-suited gift. With older dogs, you can switch out their hard, crunchy biscuits for softer, chewier treats. You can also talk with your veterinarian about vitamins and supplements. Though your dog may think it’s just another treat, some of these medicines can help with an array of issues, from their joints and appetite to their coat and memory.
Even though older dogs may not play as much as they used to, that doesn’t mean they still don’t get excited over receiving new toys. A fantastic option to consider is a puzzle toy. There are dozens on the market, and they can involve anything from your dog having to nose around in fabric to find a treat to them having to move levers or flip items over. These interactive toys can promote mental exercise and are a terrific source of enrichment. Plus, these challenges can encourage your dog to get up and be active, even if it’s at a slower pace. Though your dog may not be as mischievous as they were when they were younger, it’s still best practice to supervise them with their new toys, particularly if it has removable pieces.
Bringing home a new puppy is a major life event, and most pet parents will want to begin spoiling their pup right from day one.
Between a puppy’s endless amount of energy and their teething phase, it’s vital that you have plenty of sturdy-made toys at the ready. Be sure you are checking the packaging before you purchase them, ensuring they are safe for your puppy’s age. It’s also a good idea to ebb on the safe side and monitor your puppy when they are playing with anything new. Those sharp puppy teeth can quickly rip through material, and pups have been known to swallow things they shouldn’t. As you watch your puppy grow, you’ll get a better understanding of the type of chewer they are—are they destructive or gentle? Keep this in mind as you decide what to purchase next. Some pet toy companies, like Jolly Pets, organize their products by how hard of a chewer your pet is or the type of toy you are wanting.
Some fun gift ideas to get a puppy are dog-gear items. If you are an active swimmer or frequently go boating, things such as a puppy life vest or floatable toys could be a great purchase. If you’re an avid hiker, you may want to treat your puppy to a comfortable harness, a reflective dog leash, a collapsible water bowl and bottle, and possibly even some dog booties. When purchasing items for your puppy, pay special attention to what they will wear. Puppies can grow quickly, and if their new fashion pieces aren’t adjustable, they may outgrow them in just a few months.
Although puppies may not think it’s fun at the beginning, it can be an outstanding idea to get puppies their own grooming supplies, such as a dog-safe toothbrush and toothpaste, brush and comb, nail trimmers, ear cleaner, and shampoo. By showing them at a young age how their grooming routine is nothing to fear, some puppies could grow up learning to love getting groomed.
There’s no doubt about it—pet parents love their pets. If there’s one thing that most dog and cat parents have in common, it’s that they also love getting gifts with their pet’s name or adorable face on them.
Personalized gifts for pets, such as leashes, collars, bandanas, and blankets, can all be customized with your pet’s name or picture, or they could include your favorite sports team or movie franchise. Though these items may technically be for your pet, there’s no doubt you’ll find enjoyment in them as well.
If you are scratching your head on what to buy a pet parent that isn’t something for their pet, check out shops that make custom orders. There are many places that can stitch or embroider a cat or dog’s name onto a sweatshirt, engrave a pet’s photo onto a piece of jewelry, or print an image of their best pal onto a mug. The pickings are nearly endless. You can even get more creative with custom paintings, puzzles, or coasters—all of which are excellent choices, especially if the person you are shopping for has multiple pets.
Besides the fun and cute gifts, pet parents also appreciate receiving practical items. A gift card to their local pet store could be beneficial, or a subscription to a pet supply box could be a gift that keeps on giving. If you are shopping for someone welcoming a new kitten or puppy into their home, they may need household items like baby gates or carpet cleaners.
Whether you are shopping for your pet’s birthday present or searching for a Christmas gift for a fellow pet parent, the sky’s the limit on fun, affordable, and practical ideas.
An ASPCA Pet Health Insurance plan can help you with eligible costs for covered conditions like surgery expenses for accidents and help provide peace of mind that your pet can receive the care they need. Check out our online resources to learn more about your insurance options and get a free quote today.
The information presented in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute or substitute for the advice of your veterinarian.
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title: Pet Gift Guide
author: Emily W.