Puppy wrapped up in Christmas lightsPets adore gifts just as much as us (even if your cat ends up loving the box the gift came in much more), but not all gifts are appropriate for pets. In fact, some may present hidden dangers for a chow hound or a curious kitty.

If finding the perfect present (or ten!) for your best fur friend is on your shopping list this holiday season, be sure to prioritize safety as well. To help you decide if a gift is safe for your pet, Oak Forest Veterinary Hospital has compiled a few important tips.

Hidden Dangers Among Pet Gifts

One of the primary risks associated with pet gifts has to do with your pet’s fondness for exploring the world through taste (especially dogs). Unfortunately, this proclivity to dine on pretty much anything can set your pet up for a veterinary emergency. This is particularly true if the gift in question is made with toxic chemicals or contains small bits and parts.

To avoid a potential emergency, avoid the following perilous pet presents:

  • Toys with eyes, buttons, or other small parts that can be chewed off
  • Anything string related, whether it’s yarn, ribbon, gift wrapping, or toys that contain stringy material
  • Bones, antlers, and rawhide chews which can splinter or cause choking
  • Items containing toxic chemicals or fillers, including tennis balls containing lead and plastic toys made with bisphenol A (BPA)
  • Too-small toys for your pet’s size, breed, and type, which could pose a choking hazard
  • Any items that break apart easily or become sharp
  • Plush toys containing plastic “squeaky” centers

The best way to avoid possible problems is to focus on the specifics of your pet and what may be most enticing (in a risky way) to him or her. If he or she is prone to eat or destroy everything, you’ll want to explore some very durable toy options.

This Gift is Safe for Your Pet!

Now that you’ve considered the possible problems some toys may present, let’s take a look at all the awesome gifts that are available. The following are some recommendations for toys that are safe for your pet.

For dogs:

  • Nylabone or other safe dental chew endorsed by the Veterinary Oral Health Council
  • Very sturdy rope toys
  • Kong-type rubber toys that can be used with or without filler
  • Canine agility course for the backyard (for high energy, healthy breeds)
  • Size-appropriate stuffed toys that do not contain small pieces or plastic inserts
  • Frisbee or fetch toys appropriately sized for your dog
  • Food puzzles or games

For cats:

  • Catnip or catnip-filled mice (without beads, feathers, or other attachments)
  • Cat Dancer
  • Laser toy
  • Perches and trees
  • Interactive food puzzles
  • Scratching post
  • Crinkly plush bag or pet cube

With cats, you can also just save some of your leftover cardboard boxes for hours of fun.

Lastly, don’t forget that simply spending time with your pet can be the best gift of all. Commit to spending at least 30 minutes each day interacting with your furry pal. The time will be well-spent for both of you and will encourage better health and well-being.

Please don’t hesitate to call the Oak Forest team with any questions or concerns about toys that are safe for your pet.