Healthy Holiday Gifts for Pets

Thinking about including your pets on your holiday shopping list? You don’t have to indulge in fancy collars, gourmet treats or other pricey items. There are less expensive and much more practical things you can do to make sure your pet has a happy holiday.

These gifts can help ensure your pets live long, healthy lives and will be around to celebrate the holidays for many years to come:

Regular veterinary care: Sure, a trip to the doctor might not seem like anyone’s idea of a gift; but that routine checkup could spot potential health problems before they become serious. Working with your veterinarian to keep your pet healthy also helps keep your pet happy, which is a wonderful gift.

Pet insurance: More and more owners are opting to get insurance for their pets to help defray the potential costs of serious medical procedures, such as surgery or cancer treatment. As an alternative to insurance, pet owners can prepare for these scenarios by setting a little money aside each month in a savings account. Either way, being prepared for a health emergency is a great gift for you and your pet.

Nutritious food: Special treats are a common holiday gift for pets, often accompanied by table scraps shared from holiday meals. But these gifts may actually make pets sick or lead to excess pounds. If you want to give food treats to your pet, make or buy treats formulated just for them; your veterinarian can advise you regarding what's best for your pet. Don't forget to ask whether you're feeding your pet a healthy daily diet as well. Talk to your veterinarian about your pet’s nutrition so that you can make the best dietary choices for your pet year-round.

A life free of parasites: Are your pets up-to-date on their heartworm medication and flea and tick preventives? If unchecked, these parasites can make your pet very sick, and can even be fatal. Parasite prevention is a great gift for pets! Talk to your veterinarian about the right course of treatment for your pet.

Exercise: Instead of buying a new toy, how about an extended play session with an old favorite? Or a longer walk around the neighborhood? By keeping your pet at a healthy weight and engaging in exercise together, you’ll be giving the gift of better health to both your pet and yourself.

A microchip: If your pet isn’t already microchipped, this would make a great gift for the holidays. Having your pets microchipped is a quick, inexpensive way to help ensure that you are reunited if they ever get lost. If your pets are already microchipped, make sure your contact information is up to date.

A disaster preparedness plan: We might not like to think about it (especially during the holidays), but disasters can happen at any time of the year. And while we may be unable to prevent them, we can prepare for them. Make sure you have a disaster preparedness plan that includes your pets.

Love–lots of love: Ultimately, the best gift we can give our pets is the same gift they give to us every day: unconditional love. Showering your pet with affection and attention will make them much happier than any gift you can wrap up with a bow.

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