Sunday, December 12, 2010

Safe Pet Toys and Christmas Joys

One of my favorite times during the whole year is playing with the pups and kitty on Christmas morning.

We wake up and, after taking care of the usual bathroom trip outside in the frosty wonderland, go to the tree, wondering what Santa Paws has brought for them. Since dogs are naturally curious, I put their favorite chew inside their stockings and let them dig and bury their noses inside- enjoying the "chase," until they "catch" their treasure and settle down to chew in front of the Christmas tree. This way, they're included in the tradition and are quietly engaged in holiday merriment.

Of course, their favorite dog biscuits are included. I buy them anyway but somehow, being in their stockings makes it more fun for them. It's so easy to do simple things that will ease their stress and help them feel part of it all. Remembering dogs are very social and are pack animals, they need to feel part of the group- in this case, your family equals their pack.

Many pet guardians will buy new toys for Fido and Fluffy this holiday season. A word of advice goes a long way, so here goes... if you wouldn't put something in your mouth or your child's mouth, don't give it to your pet to put in theirs. Be careful with dyes and fake furs and toys that have small parts on them. Animals are just as sensitive to toxins as we are. I'm even careful with the laundry detergent and fabric sheets I use because chemicals never fully rinse out! Animals can have allergic reactions that can be very painful or even life-threatening- not fun and too expensive!

If you do get some new toys for them, try to get them something that will keep their curiosity, get them one to carry like trophies (Dovi gets ALL the toys and takes them to his den under the bed...cute). Both cats and dogs like to carry and dogs specifically like to shake things. Cats like to wrestle, though they're pretty creative so toilet paper rolls are always great.

If you can go organic, that's always best.

Whatever you do, always remember it's up to you to keep your pets safe. They're counting on you.

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