Nutrition and your pet

Christmas treat ideas for dogs

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Wondering what to do for your pet this Christmas? Confused about which treats are safe and healthy? Perhaps worried about organic dog food? Or pondering whether your cat should be vegan? Or just desperate to know how to avoid emergency vet trips on Christmas day? Read on!

Treats for dogs at Christmas?

Lets get this out of the way. Diet changes frequently cause gastric upsets in dogs and cats. Pancreatitis, diarrhoea, vomiting – the whole works. And it is the last thing you want to see at Christmas.

Often pancreatitis (a life threatening sore tummy) is caused by too much rich food. We know you love to spoil your pet, but perhaps at Christmas, when your regular vet isn’t open, stick to treats you already know they love. The ones that wont upset their tummy. And keep it in moderation!

What to avoid:

Try to avoid the following

  • Bones -especially ham bones. Often fatty, ham is high in salt. Frequently cause pancreatitis. Not to mention obstructions from sharp bones, cracked teeth, etc. Bones can be really high risk treats. Avoid.
  • The fat from the ham – Most common cause of dogs in hospital at Christmas. High in salt, the fat is too rich and causes an inflammatory pancreatitis. AVOID
  • Sausages from the BBQ – what dog doesn’t love the left overs? The fat, the sausages themselves, the off cuts of the steak? All of these are high risk treats known to trigger pancreatitis. AVOID
  • Seafood – and seafood off-cuts. While lower in fat, seafood (particularly left overs) has a higher chance of dangerous levels of food poisoning contamination. Not to mention the shells of both prawns, bugs, and shellfish can cut your pets stomach and intestines! AVOID

So what can you give your pets for Christmas?

Beach orientated gifts:

Living on the beach like we do, doggy sunglasses and zinc are good stocking stuffers for your pet at Christmas. White haired or sparsely haired dogs in particular are prone to sun cancer – in a similar way to people. You could also consider a towel or beach mat specifically for your pet at the beach, or a beach shelter for them to rest in, consider a portable water bowel with water bottle attached.

Special Outings:

 Your dog will love attention more than anything. Plan to include them in the family outing. Take them too the beach, or the local creek. Give them a car ride, or an extra special pat. make a ceremony or a game out of meal time. Using the same meal you can play hide and seek!

IQ Toys

There are a great array of puzzle type toys for dogs available these days, to keep them occupied and their brain engaged. There are feeding cubes and IQ mats, where your dog has to work to get their food out. These activities keep them thinking. They can also be helpful in weight loss as they slow down the speed your pet eats at. There are treat balls that occasionally give a treat if your pet rolls them in the right way.

Dental Treats:

Dental treats are a great idea at Christmas. This way you can kill two birds with one stone – give them something tasty AND something that is good for them. There are chewy treats, treats with chlorophyll in them which can help reduce the bacterial load in their mouth, and sticks that are shaped to clean your dogs teeth as they eat.

Toys:

Some dogs enjoy toys too. Be careful with toys. Soem dogs have the ability to destroy any toy. Try to avoid rope toys, or toys with long pieces of elastic attached. Most good quality toys are fine unless your dog is one of those dogs that destroys everything. If your dog is one of those, you probably already know to be extremely careful. Toys that are able to be chewed on without breakign into pieces are the best option.

Treats:

Small amounts of their regular treats are probably the best thing you can do in terms of food at Christmas, but even the most food orientated dog will appreciate attention and being made to feel special! There are plenty of places now that sell things like doggy ice-cream and handmade treats. If you are only giving small amounts of these things, these are not an issue, but as with treats for all people, give them in moderation.

Grooming gifts

Does your pet enjoy being groomed? You can purchase them a new brush, pair of nail clippers, some doggy cologne, some leave in conditioner, or a pet pamper session from one of the local groomers.

Swimming Gifts

If your pet enjoys swimming or is involved in kayaking, surfing or boating with you, it is worth purchasing a life jacket for them. Although most dogs are great swimmers, it is easy for them to become too fatigued, particularly if there is a long swim in open water. A little life life jackets in people, most of the time, lifejackets are there as a just in case insurance policy.

Clothing gifts

Another gift idea for your pet is a fresh new collar or lead. Perhaps you could consider personalising them with their name embroidered. Or you can prepare for winter early with a new doggy coat. You could even order them a new name tag.

CAT IDEAS

So far, all of the ideas have been particularly focused on dogs. But our cats need spoiling too! Consider scratching posts, mats, or climbing posts for cats . There are some great tasting cat treats out there as well.
Cats may also enjoy a new bed, or even a self cleaning litter tray, or hooded litter tray. Some cats can get quite particular about their bowls, so you could consider getting them a fancy bowl for their dinners. A drinking fountain is also a great idea for cats – they love fresh water! (This is why you will often notice them drinking from the toilet or shower instead of their drinking bowl.) Cats also enjoy grooming gifts life brushes etc

There are a lot of other ideas out there for Christmas Treats that can be good for your pet- rather than letting them get into the Christmas ham. You just need to be a bit creative!