This year, why not stuff a stocking for Fido and Fluffy? Here are some great ideas to get you started!
• This time of year, you can buy stockings just about anywhere; at some outlets, you have the option of getting them personalized with your animal’s name. If you’re creative with a needle and yarn, you could also use a large wool work sock with the animal’s name stitched on it.
• Treats probably top the list of stocking stuffers for dogs and cats. Be sure to choose premium products made from ingredients that are as natural as possible. Avoid the semi-moist commercial treats and low-end dog biscuits often found in pre-packaged pet store stockings – they have very little nutritional value and are loaded with artificial additives. Read ingredient labels. Around holiday time, some manufacturers of high quality treats offer special gift packages that are ideal for stockings, and are good for your companion too.
• Toys are another favorite for stockings. Be sure to buy sturdy products made from safe, non-toxic materials. For dogs, a Kong is a perfect choice (and will fit nicely into the toe of the stocking!). Natural rubber bones and balls are other alternatives. For cats, organic catnip mice or pillows are ideal – if buying toy mice, make sure they don’t have parts (like bead eyes) that could be ingested if chewed or pulled off.
• Collars, leashes or even harnesses for cats or small dogs can also fit nicely into a stocking, and come in all kinds of trendy styles and colors. Look for quality as well as appearance – they should be made from strong, durable materials. Collars and harnesses should be comfortable for the animal to wear, and leashes need to be easy for you to hold onto. Hemp collars are a favorite nowadays.
• If your animal already has a good collar and leash, why not dress it up with some animal jewelry? Personalized sterling silver charms or healing crystal collar tags make wonderful gift items for a stocking.
• If you have a small dog, you might be able to tuck in a cozy doggie coat or set of boots to protect his feet from ice, mud or road salt. Shop for high quality fabrics that are warm and waterproof, and make sure you measure your dog before buying a product.
• To keep your companion occupied during the post-holiday winter months, how about adding a CD of relaxation music composed especially for animals? Or a DVD filmed just for canine or feline entertainment? Dog DVDs often feature puppies or other dogs running and playing, while felines enjoy watching and “stalking” birds on TV. Both may find sounds and images from nature soothing and diverting.
• Consider topping off the stocking with a couple of bottles of flower essences or nutritional supplements. Flower essences are great stress-busters and a simple, non-toxic way to deal with other emotional issues. Talk to a holistic or integrative vet before starting your animal on any new nutritional supplements so you’ll be sure to get the right product and dosage for your dog or cat.