Christmas gifts for dogs, whatever next, you may be asking. However most dog owners include their beloved pet as part of the family and as so such are happy to also include them in the season of goodwill. Buying a dog a gift or two for Christmas also has benefits. Christmas is a time of excitement and is mainly about children. A pet dog can feel excluded and snubbed at this time of year whereas a small gift can help the animal join in. Silly? No, trust me it is not. Shop wisely also and the gift may help keep the dog occupied whilst you all enjoy your festive celebrations.
There are many treats that you can buy for a dog. Try to check the protein content on the label though. If it is over 30% this treat could make your dog hyperactive and a pain in the bottom. This is not the desired effect. Rawhide chews are good, as most dogs will happily chew away on these for hours on end.
It is possible to buy a Christmas stocking for your dog but this will include both good and bad treats. Why not assemble your own dog's Christmas stocking? You could use something such as an old long sock or roll and stitch an old tea towel into a sock shape. This can then be filled with your dog's favourite treats and those that you know are healthy. This will probably also be the cheapest option.
Remember to make sure that your dog does not consume chocolate made for human consumption, grapes or raisins over the Christmas period. These are harmful to pets. In extreme cases, they can be lethal.
Resist the temptation to give your dog treats from your Christmas table of food. These days so many products have huge amounts of added salt, sugar and fats that even adding some of your gravy to a dog's food could be harmful.
There are masses of toys for dogs. However, some of those that are Christmas themed may be lucky to last till after Christmas lunch. Consider the safety aspects of any toys before purchasing. Some dogs will easily rip soft toys apart. The additional downside is that your dog may appear nice and quiet, but it may be chewing and swallowing this soft plastic.
Avoid toys that have squeakers and bells unless you know, for certain, that your dog will not be able to access these and swallow them. Apart from the harm such items could cause your dog, a hasty visit to the vets on Christmas day will be expensive.
Buy toys that will suit your dog. If you get it right, the dog could be happily occupied for hours on end.
Especially if your dog is getting on in years, a few home comforts are good. There is a vast choice of dog bed products these days. These range from fairly cheap to very expensive. Of course, it does depend where your dog sleeps. If it is tucked up on the end of your bed then the dog is no doubt fine.
However, it is much healthier and better for a dog to have its own space. When the Christmas visitors become noisy, the dog can take itself off to its quiet corner and snuggle down for some peace and quiet.
Apart from beds, there are beanbags and small foam mattresses, which are made for dogs.
This can help your finances. If something such as a lead needs replacing Christmas is a good time to kill two birds with one stone. Check out the latest choke chains and extendable leads. Walking the Christmas lunch off will be the perfect time to try out this purchase.
There are also dog collars called K Lites, which include a battery and offer light in the dark. This is very useful if you let your dog off its lead when exercising in the park, for example.
If the climate is cold and damp, where you live a small dog coat or wrap may offer some welcome warmth. Similarly, there are waterproof covers, which will act like a raincoat to your pet.
A brand new personalised dog tag or feeding bowl for your pet might be a good gift. Such gifts are practical as well as fun to buy.
Be careful if you buy clothing for your dog. Cute Santa outfits may amuse you, but they could be embarrasing, harmful or uncomfortable for your dog.
OK, so I have not convinced you to buy your pooch a Christmas gift.
Well more than ever this year Animal Charities and Rescue Centres are struggling to survive. They will soon be inundated with unwanted pets and yet charitable donations will be thin on the ground. How about offering a Christmas donation to your favourite animal charity?
Most of these charities also sell gifts and Christmas cards so perhaps you could just make sure that you buy at least something from them.
Most loving dog owners include their pet in the festivities. Unfortunately, those who are not so kind may simply put their dog on the streets. If you encounter a dog on the streets that seems to fit this category, please do not turn your back on it.
Contact your local rescue centre to ensure that this animal does not come to further harm.
I hope you all have a Happy Christmas, and that includes your pets.