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During tough times, families bond closer together and now, more and more pets are included in the family festivities. 

Tom Dock of Noah’s Animal Hospitals joined us today, as pet experts and veterinarians are instrumental in helping people make good gift choices for their pets. Here’s more from him:

About 77% of pet owners will give their four-legged friends a holiday gift this season. That means more people are sharing gifts with their dogs and cats than with their co-workers!

Many pets simply enjoy “unwrapping” their gifts, regardless of what is inside. Of course, the extra attention from their owners is not bad either!

Pet owners and those looking to give gifts to pets or owners could consider actual physical gifts, gifts that benefit other animals, or a gift that might benefit the pet in the future.

One great gift for canines is a Snuffle Mat. These mats help alleviate boredom as small treats or even toys can be hidden in the folds of the mat and let your pooch have fun exploring for hidden treasures.

We all know dogs love to chew, but bones and some other traditional chew toys can be dangerous to our pets because of obstruction, perforations or even damage to the dog’s teeth.  Consider a durable toy like any of the Kong toys or even a cotton rope toy.

Don’t just feed your pet, allow them to have some interactive fun with a treat-dispensing toy like the Starmark Treat Dispensing Bob-a-Lot Toy.  This wobbly device will drop treats as your pup knocks it around trying to get those tasty morsels.

Don’t forget your feline friends, just like our dogs, our kitty cats need mental and physical stimulation  Consider a PetSafe SlimCat Interactive Food Dispenser that can help encourage physical activity.

Overall, beyond the fun toys or fancy clothes for your pets, veterinarians recommend that you consider some less common, but definitely helpful gifts.

Millions of pets wander off each year, unable to find their way back home. A microchip, along with proper registration can ensure your pet’s safe return in case he becomes lost.  Don’t forget to update YOUR information!

Local shelters and rescues do so much great work to help homeless pets and those with special needs. Why not give a monetary gift (in your pet’s name, of course) to your favorite LOCAL animal group?

If money is tight…ask your local shelter what kind of supplies would be helpful. You might have some old blankets, towels or even pet items that could get a second use at the shelter and help the staff care for pets.

An even greater number of pets are given up to shelters because of behavior issues. Providing the right sort of training can help you prevent many of these frustrating problems.  Sites like and can help you find the right tools for any behavior issue.

Being prepared for any emergency may not be a flashy gift, but it could save your pet’s life. Consider pet insurance as one way to help protect your pet from serious illness or injury

You can review many different pet insurance plans and companies at a wide variety of consumer advocate sites.

Other options for being prepared might include a medical line of credit, like CareCredit. They offer 6-month cash financing options for unexpected veterinary expenses.

Many veterinarians now offer gift certificates for preventive healthcare. This would make a great stocking stuffer for the animal lover in your life!

Most of all, how about giving your pets “the gift of time”? It’s really what matters to them the most.” Make it a point to spend a little more time with your pets each day. You will both benefit!

Our pets give us so much and ask so little in return. Ask your veterinarian about ideas to help keep your four-legged friend healthy and happy.’

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