2017 Holiday Gift Ideas for Cats, Dogs, and Their People

It is the holidays, and once again it is time for us to find that special gift for our favorite feline, our delightful dog, and maybe even for our family members, friends, and co-workers who have pets. Green Acres Kennel Shop has come up with a list of gift ideas. To make it easy for you, we have categorized our recommendations by cats, dogs, cats and dogs, and people, Happy gift giving!

Especially for Cats

The Kong Company is well known for their dog toys, and they are stepping up the game with cat toys.

Kong Refillables are soft, snuggly, and plush. However, best of all, each one has a re-closable pouch to securely hold fresh catnip. The toys include a generous amount of KONG’s premium North American catnip in a re-closable vial.

When the catnip scent starts to fade, just add more fresh catnip for another round of fun! Catnip can be stored in the freezer to help keep it fresh. The toy is machine washable with the catnip removed.

Watch your cat attack, wrestle and snuggle with its KONG Kickeroo. This unique cat toy appeals to a cat’s instinctive desire to stalk and capture prey. The Kickeroo’s size, shape, and material were specially chosen to promote wrestling and hind paw kicking.

The fluffy tail provides movement for extra excitement, not to mention there is a generous amount of KONG’s potent North American catnip inside to further encourage play. Don’t be surprised if the Kickeroo becomes your cat’s favorite toy.

 

The KONG Snake Teaser is perfect for fun, interactive play and a great way to strengthen the bond between you and your cat. Irresistible feathers and unpredictable movement will stimulate your feline friend’s natural hunting instincts and provide beneficial exercise. The Snake Teaser is sure to bring out the playful tiger in any cat. Durable and safe, this item is for supervised play only.

 

 

Vital Essential Cat Treats – Cats appreciate treats just like our dogs do, but so many of the cat treats on the market are filled with unhealthy ingredients. Why not give your cat a treat that they will love and that is good for them. Vital Essentials cat treats come in a wide variety of formulas, and all are 100% freeze-dried meat. You can choose from Wild Alaskan Salmon, Chicken Breast, Chicken Giblets, Minnows, Duck Liver, Rabbit, and Ahi Tuna. Treat your cat like the friend you know they are!

Beco Cat Bowls – If you have not noticed, our cats are sensitive to their environment, including the types of dishes we use to feed them. The Beco Bowl for cats has a much lower rim so that our feline friend’s sensitive whiskers do not brush up against the sides making dinner time that much easier. Many sophisticated cats may refuse to eat out of a metal or plastic bowl, but because Beco’s bamboo plastic is toxin-free, they will happily eat out of the Beco Bowl. We have been using the Beco bowls in the cattery at Green Acres for a year now, and the cats love them

Especially for Dogs

Benebone Chews – Dogs love to chew, so one of the gifts you can give them that you will both appreciate is a chew toy. Our favorite new chew toys come from a company called Benebone; a small, family owned company that makes these fantastic treats right here in the USA. Benebone products are chew toys made of super-strong nylon and food-grade bacon, peanuts, and chicken. They use no chemicals or artificial flavors. The Wishbone comes in three sizes and three flavors while the Dental Chew comes in three flavors and two sizes. Our dogs love their Benebone’s and believe your dog would love one in their stocking.

 

Beco Environmentally Friendly Toys – Although your dog has probably not told you they are an eco-warrior, the fact is degradations in our environment are even more harmful to our pets than they are to us. That is why we love Beco Pets, a company that makes eco-friendly, long lasting and fun products for pets.

The Beco Hoop on a Rope is made from 100% natural rice husk rubber and is attached to natural cotton rope.  It is designed to be as stretchy and flexible as possible. It is the perfect toy for older dogs with fragile teeth, and the smaller version offers a great teether for any puppy, as it is soft and lightweight, while really durable.

Each Beco Soft Toy has an irresistible squeaker inside, and its covers are double cross stitched making them especially durable! These toys are made from recycled plastic bottles and are named after employees at Beco.

The Beco Jungle Triple Knot is the perfect rope toy for long distance throwing and fetch. The Beco Rope toys are made from 98% Hemp and 2% recycled cotton. Hemp is a very eco-friendly material as it grows very quickly and no pesticides or fertilizers are used in the growing process. Most importantly though it is better for your dog as unlike cotton and synthetic ropes, it has very short fibers which are more easily digestible. The short fibers mean that hemp is tougher than cotton or synthetic ropes, as it is harder for the dog to pull apart. Beco Hemp rope toys are better for you dog and better for the environment.

Ruffwear Toys & Coats – Ruffwear makes great clothing and toys for dogs.

The Ruffwear Huckama™ Rubber Throw Toy moves like a critter and is fun to chase. This durable, interactive toy keeps dogs engaged with its erratic bounce and roll. The hollow design accepts food for treat rewards and whistles when hurled through the air. Made from sustainable, natural latex rubber, a renewable resource.

The Ruffwear Gourdo™ Rubber Throw Toy rubber toy is designed for interactive play, from tugging to throwing, this durable rubber toy does it all. The kernmantle [really, strong and flexible] rope lanyard makes it easy to throw and pick up, while avoiding the slobbery rubber end.

Please note:  All Ruffwear toys are interactive and intended for supervised play. They are not designed to be chew toys. Once the interactive play has finished, place the Ruffwear toy out of your dog’s reach and replace with a designated chew toy.

The Ruffwear Front Range™ Harness is an everyday harness that is easy to put on and comfortable for dogs to wear. The harness features two leash attachment points: an aluminum V-ring centered on the dog’s back for everyday walks, and reinforced webbing at the dog’s chest for training or additional control. The ID pocket keeps dog tags quiet and easily accessible.

We live in Maine and let’s admit it; sometimes even our dogs are happier in a coat. The Ruffwear Overcoat™ is a classic cold-weather utility jacket. This vest-style jacket is built with sturdy, durable materials to keep up with the most active dog. Wind- and water-resistant outer fabric protects against harsh elements, while interior recycled polyester fleece lining keeps body heat in. Side-release buckles on both sides provide easy on/off, and a leash portal allows the Overcoat to be worn over our Front Range™ Harness.

Another favorite dog toy at Green Acres is made right here in Maine. The Floating Rope Fetch Toy by Downeast Nautical is a favorite, especially for dogs that love the water! My dog Muppy is a certified landlubber but still loves retrieving her rope toy when I toss it from the living room to the far end of the kitchen.

This fall we brought in a new line of soft toys from Tall Tails. The Tall Tails Plush Squirrel is inspired by the outdoors and is designed for endless interactive play. The squeaker is sewn into a separate pouch and stitched into the seam for extra protection against choking, while the plush exterior makes for a soft and friendly companion. While I was writing this post, my dog Muppy found this toy on the floor where I had inadvertently dropped it. I heard the noise, knew she was having fun, and realized that due to my inattention I had just bought her a new toy. Muppy gives the Tall Tails Plush Squirrel 5 Paws. She is sure that your dog would also like the Chipmunk, Duck, Goose, Fish and other toys in the Tall Tails family.

Vital Essentials Treats and Snacks – A favorite line of training treats are the Freeze Dried Meat Treats from Vital Essentials. They are small,  high value, come in a variety of flavors, and are a very healthy option. Please note, that while labeled dog treats, cats love these treats as well.

Training treats are great for training and giving our dog a small reward; however, like most of us, I occasionally like to give Muppy a special snack. That is when I go to the Vital Essentials Raw Bar for the tasty and healthy snacks she loves. Muppy’s personal favorites are the freeze-dried chicken necks and duck necks. They are the perfect size for her. Other dogs love the cod skins, salmon skins, turkey necks, turkey wings, and bully sticks. If you are looking for a high value and healthy snack, check-out the selection at the Vital Essentials Raw Bar.

Earth Animal No-Hide Chews are a healthier and more digestible alternative to Rawhide. No-Hide Chews gives new meaning to dog snack. They are more durable and digestible than any other chew on the market and dogs love them.

No-Hide Chews are available in Chicken, Beef, and their new Pork flavor.

Especially for Both Cats and Dogs

Raw Rewards Treats from Northwest Naturals are the latest addition to our treat selection at the Green Acres Kennel Shop. One of the things we like about these treats is that they are equally yummy to dogs and cats. However, we also love that they are manufactured in a quality controlled USDA human food inspected facility from meat sourced in the USA and New Zealand. These freeze-dried treats have only a single ingredient, making them ideal for pets with food-related sensitivities. Raw Rewards Beef Liver, Bison Liver, Chicken Liver, Lamb Liver, Pork Liver and Salmon treats are highly palatable and easy to feed.

Especially for People with Pets

At the top of my gift recommendations for dog owners, this year is the new book A Kids’ Comprehensive Guide to Speaking Dog! by Niki Tudge –If your family includes children and a dog, if you have children that spend time with friends and family members that have a dog, or if you have a dog that spends any time around children, you, your children, and your dog will benefit from your reading A Kids’ Comprehensive Guide to Speaking Dog!.

The goal of this new book from author Niki Tudge and Doggone Safe is to provide a resource that anyone can use to teach children how to be safe around dogs by teaching them how to “speak dog.” As a dog training instructor that teaches both adults and children how to train their dogs, we make teaching canine body language part of our classes. What I have learned over the past 22 years is that before taking a dog training class, even most adults are not aware of most aspects of “speaking dog,” which is why I believe this book will be of value to both children and adults.

A Kids’ Comprehensive Guide to Speaking Dog! is written to be used as an interactive resource and uses cartoons and photographs to illustrate body language dogs use to signal when they are happy, afraid, and angry. By teaching children, and adults, how to read and respond to these signs the book helps keep people and dogs safe. The world is full of children and dogs, and it is essential that we teach them how to interact safely. A Kids’ Comprehensive Guide to Speaking Dog! combined with a parent or teacher does just that.  I give this book five paws!

If you have a pet, you have pet hair in places where you would rather not have pet hair. The easiest and most effective way to remove that pet hair is with the Fur-Zoff. This simple tool does the job far better than anything else we have found. Bangor’s own amazing automobile detailer Jesse Bell of Adept Auto Detailing swears by his Fur-Zoff.

 

 

A Green Acres Kennel Shop Gift Card – If you just cannot decide or are unsure what to get, you cannot go wrong with a Green Acres Kennel Shop Gift Card. Available in the denominations of $5 and up, they can be used for any product or services at Green Acres Kennel Shop.

©5DEC17, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
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Seasonal Issues – Cold Weather and Holiday Tips for Pets

<A version of this article was published in The Maine Edge on November 18, 2015>

Updated 9NOV17

<To listen to a podcast from The Woof Meow Show on this topic, click here>

WINTER IS COMING-Dulcie-Winter 07-080-51 edited-square 800x800Like or not, winter is here, and we need to consider how this change in seasons affects our pets.

Dealing with the Cold, Snow and Ice

  • Once the temperature drops below 20 degrees, it’s time to bring your pet indoors. When they are out, make sure they are not exposed to the cold for extended periods of time. Be aware that the wind chill affects your pet just like it affects you.
  • Shorter haired dogs or dog’s acclimated to warmer climates may need a coat to stay comfortable when it gets cold outside.
  • When your dog is outdoors, make sure they have access to adequate shelter at all times. Dog houses should be positioned or designed such that the wind does not blow through the door into the house.
  • If your pet is outdoors, make sure they always have access to fresh water. If the temperature drops below freezing, you will need a heater for their water bowl. Snow is not an acceptable substitute!
  • When your pet is indoors, make sure they have a warm, dry spot that is away from drafts. Tile floors and uncarpeted areas may become cold and uncomfortable.
  • If you have a long-haired pet, make sure you keep them groomed and free of mats and tangles. While long hair will act as an insulator, it loses its insulating properties when it becomes matted.
  • If your pet has long hair on its feet or in between their pads, you may want to have your groomer cut that hair short, so it does not accumulate snow when your pet is outdoors.
  • If your pet is out in the cold a great deal, you may want to increase the amount you feed them, as they will be expending additional calories to stay warm.
  • If your pet gets wet in the rain or snow, dry them off with a towel when they come back inside.
  • If your pet has been walking on areas that have been treated with salt or any deicer, wipe their feet and pads with a damp cloth. You may want to consider using one of the pet safe products for melting ice.
  • Leaving your pet in a car can be just as problematic in the winter time as it is in the summer. If you leave the motor running, always leave a window partially open in case you have an exhaust leak.
  • Be careful if your pet has access to frozen ponds or streams. They can slip and[ File # csp15483120, License # 3214320 ] Licensed through http://www.canstockphoto.com in accordance with the End User License Agreement (http://www.canstockphoto.com/legal.php) (c) Can Stock Photo Inc. / stefan11fall in, or the ice can break and they can fall in.
  • Crusty snow and ice can have sharp edges that can cut the skin and pads of some of the thinner skinned breeds.

Other Seasonal Hazards

  • Antifreeze, which often collects on driveways and roadways, is highly poisonous. Although it smells and tastes good to your pet, it can be lethal.
  • Be very careful of supplemental heating sources, especially those with a flame. Fireplaces and portable heaters can severely burn your pet. Make sure all fireplaces have screens and keep portable heaters out of reach.
  • Make sure your wood is stacked securely so that your pet cannot cause it to fall over.
  • Be aware that cats often will crawl into an engine compartment of a vehicle to keep warm. Slap your hood before starting your car in the morning.
  • Like people, pets seem to be more susceptible to illnesses in the winter. Do take your pet to a veterinarian if you see any suspicious symptoms.
  • Don’t use over-the-counter medications on your dog without first consulting with your veterinarian.

Dealing with the Holidays

puppy chewing ornamentNovember and December are filled with wonderful opportunities for us to gather with family and friends. These gatherings can be a hectic, intimidating time for our pets. Dogs and cats do not always enjoy meeting new people or the frenetic activity that often comes with any holiday gathering.

  • While many of us enjoy the holidays, they can also be very stressful. Your pets can feel this stress as well, especially if they are not used to the frantic activity and houseful of guests that often accompany the holidays. Make sure your pet has a quiet, comfortable hideaway if they choose to abstain from holiday festivities. Sometimes boarding your pet can make the holiday more enjoyable for them, you and your guests.
  • Pets do not make good holiday gifts, especially if the person receiving the gift is not aware of it. If you want to get a pet related gift for someone get them a book on selecting a pet, or a leash or toy for the pet to come.
  • Many holiday plants such as holly, mistletoe and poinsettias are poisonous to pets. Make sure they are someplace where your pet cannot get to them.
  • Be cautious about where you leave holiday gifts, especially those with food inside. A misplaced box of chocolates can kill a dog.
  • Candy and other holiday treats sweetened with Xylitol can also be fatal when pets ingest them.
  • Keep lights and fragile ornaments off the lower branches of your holiday tree where your pet can get to them.
  • Make sure all electrical cords for holiday lights and decorations are located Kitten w-ornamentwhere your pet will not become entangled in them or attempt to chew on them.
  • Avoid using edible ornaments on your tree.
  • Tinsel can be very attractive to dogs and cats and can also be fatal if ingested.

 

 

______________________________________________________________________________
Don Hanson is the co-owner of the Green Acres Kennel Shop (greenacreskennel.com) in Bangor. He is a Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioner (BFRAP), Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC), Associate Certified Cat Behavior Consultant (ACCBC) and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). He produces and co- hosts a weekly radio show and podcast, The Woof Meow Show heard on The Pulse AM620 WZON and streamed at http://www.wzonradio.com/ every Saturday at 9 AM. A list of upcoming shows and podcasts of past shows can be found at www.woofmeowshow.com. Don also writes about pets at his blog: www.words-woofs-meows.com.

©2015, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved <Click for Copyright and Use Policy>