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Casper Critters

Christmas Gift Ideas for Pets and Pet Lovers

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12/01/2016 - By Gayle M. Irwin

For many people, pets are family, and when the holiday season rolls around, they purchase Christmas gifts for their furry companions. For others, giving gifts to pets is a foreign concept, yet they know people who do. So, what gifts can you give pets or the pet-lovers you know? Here are some ideas:

For Pets:

1. Toys – from rubber balls and other toy items to catnip mice and hamster wheels, there are a variety of toys for pets and the various species of animals that reside in homes.

2. Clothing – many pet parents purchase clothing items for their furry family members, such as sweaters, coats, boots, dresses, and bowties. Smaller dogs can get chilled easily during inclement weather, therefore coats and sweaters are not a stretch, and boots protect animals' feet from ice and poisons such as antifreeze.

3. Treats – cats and dogs, rabbits and birds, all enjoy a tasty treat now and then, just like people. Ask your veterinarian or the local pet supply store manager for ideas if the task appears overwhelming (and there is truly a plethora of treat options!) or if your animal has food allergies or is elderly.

4. Beds and Blankets – a soft, cushy bed helps a pet stay warm during the cold, winter months. Beds also help animals who suffer from arthritis, and a soft blanket on the couch keeps both pet and pet parent warm and snuggly together.

For Pet Owners:

1. Toys to Engage the Furry One – toys that pet parents can play with their furry friends, such as Frisbees, balls, tug-toys, and feather fishing poles, help solidify the bond between the animal and its human companion.

2. Books and Magazines – from novels and children's stories to how-to-train and "know-your-breed" books, animal-related publications, including magazines with relevant and interesting articles, provide education and entertainment for pet lovers.

3. Pay an Adoption Fee/Donate to a Rescue – although giving pets as gifts is not recommended by many animal welfare organizations, paying the adoption fee for someone to pick out their own new furry friend is a loving gift. Or, donating to a person's favorite rescue organization is also a very special present. There are many groups in our area from which a person can adopt a new friend or someone can donate to in a pet-lover's name.

4. Gift card – when just not sure what to get the special pet-lover in your life, a gift card to a local or online store that sells pet items is a good option.

"Stockings hung by the chimney with care…" Treats, toys, collars, and other items can be slipped into a stocking for Fido and Fluffy just like candy is given to human children. Even wrapped gifts, like sweaters, beds, books, or large rawhide bones, can be found under Christmas trees with the pet's (or human's) name on the gift tag. I recall a dog I had more than 20 years ago tearing into his Christmas present under the tree – it was fun to watch him "open" his gift!

Whether you're a pet person who gives gifts to your animals or you know someone who loves their pets like family, there are many Christmas gift ideas and options. From big box stores like Target and PetCo as well as small businesses in communities to online-companies like Amazon and PetSmart, you can find just the right gift for pets and pet parents, even if that present is a gift card given in a lovely, thoughtful Christmas card.

Merry Christmas to you and your family, including your furry ones!

Gayle M. Irwin writes inspirational pet stories for children and adults. Her latest works are a children's story called BobCat Goes to School, a humorous, heartwarming tale of a cat that gets trapped in a school building, and Tail Tales, a short story collection about the pets who touched her heart and impacted her life. Gayle will conduct booksignings at various locations in December, including the downtown Winter Maker's Market on December 10. Learn more at www.gaylemirwin.com.

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