Holiday Gift Guide: Pet EditionBy Susan Scheide
The following story appears in the Canton Citizen’s 2015 Holiday Guide, a special section in the November 25 edition. Order a subscription today.
I am not a huge believer in buying and wrapping gifts for pets. Over the years, I have received many gifts from friends and strangers alike for my pets, but rarely do I buy my own critters presents. For well-loved companion animals like mine, every possible need is already met, after all, and our holidays mean nothing to them. No dog ever had trouble sleeping thinking of Christmas morning and wondering what Santa might bring.
With that said, there are loads of nice things that make great gifts for the pet lover in your life. I am going to stick with cat and dog lover gifts because they’re the most popular pets in the area as far as I can tell.
For the dog lover in your life, consider a beautifully hand-made leather leash. I buy my leashes from Bold Lead Designs. Katrina, the owner of the company, can make almost any leash you can imagine. What sets a good leather leash apart from an ordinary one? Three things: 1) quality leather; 2) solid brass clip; 3) no stitching. The ends of a top-quality leash will be woven together rather than sewn. Leather, if properly cared for, will outlast many dogs, but leather that is stitched will tend to fall apart at its weakest point — the thread.
There are very few reasons a leash needs to be longer than six feet, but Bold Lead Designs can make you a longer leash if you really want it. They also make specialty leashes, couplers (for walking multiple dogs), and service dog equipment.
Have a dog who needs to be walked with a harness? I highly recommend the no-pull harness available at 2Hounds Design. 2Hounds also makes spectacular collars, and I own at least 15 of them!
Last year I discovered a pair of boots that I would have loved to get as a gift, Bogs classic winter boots. Totally waterproof, warm, lightweight, and easy care! Zappos.com carries a large assortment of shaft heights and colors. My feet weren’t cold once, even with our record-breaking snowfall amounts. Bogs also makes short boots perfect for all-season wet weather.
In last month’s column, I mentioned two parkas. The Baxter State parka with Gore-Tex from L.L. Bean is made for men and women and will keep you warm and dry through almost any storm. A truly luxurious gift is a Canada Goose brand expedition parka. These ultra-warm parkas are built to withstand the coldest weather and make fantastic dog-walking parkas. Beware of counterfeits. If the price doesn’t astonish you, it’s probably a fake! These parkas can be purchased directly from Canada Goose, or use the store finder feature on their website.
Now, for the cat lover in your life. Every cat owner needs a really good, sturdy scratching post or “cat tree.” The best way to keep a cat from scratching your furniture, curtains, or carpet is to provide a better alternative, but don’t waste your money on a little, lightweight post because if it’s not stable, your cat won’t use it. Amarkat makes a huge variety of reasonably priced cat trees. Overstock.com or Amazon.com are two places I have purchased excellent trees.
Cats love to be warm. They also like to hide inside things. An excellent gift is a cat bed that the cat can climb inside. Some of them even have body heat reflecting materials hidden under their fleece layers.
Every cat owner needs a mini laser toy. You can entertain even the laziest cat with the dancing point of light emitted by a laser toy. You can find a huge variety of interactive cat toys at most pet stores or online.
Something I don’t have that I would love to get as a gift is a litter box disguised as a piece of furniture. Designed to look like an end table, these are available in a variety of styles and finishes. You open them up, put the litter box inside, and viola! No more ugly litter box.
A self-cleaning litter box is also on my personal wish list. I cannot recommend one brand over another as I have never used one, but they are available in a number of sizes and types.
For the cat owner who is permitted to have them, bird feeders are a neat dual-purpose gift. Feed the birds through the cold, snowy winter and entertain your indoor cat with what amounts to cat TV! Even my chubby old cat gets excited when a bird lands on my balcony.
Finally, if you have friends or family who let their cat outside, a safety collar and ID tag is the perfect gift.
Please remember that the holiday season can be stressful for your pets. They can also be fraught with perils — everything from doors held open too long, resulting in escaped dogs or cats, to ribbons and ornament holders ingested by your four-legged friends. A little taste of your holiday feast is a nice treat, but stick with things like turkey or beef, and avoid too much rich food. No one wants to wake up to a sick pet on Christmas morning.
Best wishes to all this holiday season from me, Susan, Buck the greyhound, and Ming the Siamese cat.
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