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Paws-itive pet gift suggestions from K-State veterinarian 

Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022



MANHATTAN — New holiday toys aren't just for kids; dogs and cats love them, too. A Kansas State University veterinarian shares pet gift ideas and reminders on how to keep our furry loved ones safe this holiday season. 

"Giving gifts to pets can be fun, but remember to keep food items hidden until the last minute," said Susan Nelson, clinical professor at the university's Veterinary Health Center. "Also, keep food items that are gifts for your family out of reach so pets don't tear open packages. Your pet's exceptional sense of smell makes these items irresistible."

Nelson and current students at K-State's Pet Health and Nutrition Center offer their top five pet gift ideas for this season:

• Interactive feeding mats can provide mental and physical enrichment for your pets. Nelson said they can slow down fast eaters, encourage them to use their sense of smell and give them yummy treats.

• Fountain-style water bowls help both cats and dogs drink more water and maintain hydration.

• Booties and jackets help furry friends stay warm this winter.

• Microchip feeders ensure your pet gets the right food in the proper amount.

Nelson cautioned against giving pets deer antlers, hard nylon chew toys and rawhide bones. 

"These long-lasting chew toys could pose serious hazards for your pets," Nelson said. "Broken teeth, splintered or broken bones and even a choking risk are all possibilities with these common toys. If you cannot dent the toy with your fingernail, then it is too hard for your pet."

Nelson advises pet owners to keep people food away from animals.

"While a tasty treat for us, many holiday snacks are hazardous for pets," Nelson said. "Chocolate is toxic to dogs and cats. It is best to consider all forms of chocolate off-limits to pets."

Additional food threats are:

• The skin and dark meat from turkey and any parts of ham. Nelson cautioned that even in small amounts, these products could cause a life-threatening illness in pets called pancreatitis. White meat without the skin from turkey can be fed to pets in small quantities.

• Table scraps, including onions, raisins and grapes.

• Yeast bread dough.

• Alcoholic beverages.