Buoying a $60 million industry, it’s not all that surprising that, according to an American Pet Products Association survey, just over half of all dog owners and more than a third of cat owners buy at least one gift for their pet for Christmas or Hanukkah.
Here are a few keen choices for this festive season:
“Star Wars” is not only a big thing at the movies, but at pet stores, too. Petco locations have an array of “Star Wars” toys for pets, there are Yoda and Chewbacca plush dog toys, an R2-D2 tug toy for dogs, even C3-PO and R2-D2 mice toys for cats; $4.99 to $12.99.
If “Star Wars” isn’t your thing, there’s the mean Martha Stewart pet toy, a bone-shaped push toy named “Naughty,” or for her kinder side, a similar toy called “Nice.” Each is $2.79 at PetSmart stores.
So far, no prescription is required for Dr. Meowsky’s Medical Grade Catnip. It’s an organic, gluten-free product, and likely approved by Cheech and Chong and grown in the USA. It’s nearly guaranteed to make any cat yowl for more cat cannabis, from barkerandmeowsky.com; $9.95 per jar.
While no toy is indestructible, Fluff and Tuff toys are meant to hold up for as long as possible for determined chewers. The toys are double-seamed and feature the durable and thick Tuffweb liner.
There’s also the Teddy and Winny Bear toys, and the Charity Ball, about the size of a softball, in a classic red and green print. Proceeds from sales of the Charity Ball go to the Fluff and Tuff Foundation. New to the Fluff and Tuff lineup is Tank the Shark; the idea will make your dog rich with fun. These toys are $9.95 to $19.95.
A yarmulke wearing-dog? ($11.50, or $23 with a tallit). Oy vey! A singing plush dreidel toy sings the dreidel song when your dog squeezes it, $12.95. An entire assortment of Hanukkah pet gifts are available at barkerandmewosky.com.
Of course, one problem with the “howlidays” is all those big meals, and with just over half of all dogs overweight or obese, it’s not just a seasonal issue. Experts suggest that one key to losing weight, as well as improving health is movement. Hence, the popularity of products, such as telephone apps and watches, that count steps for people. The Hachito Smart Dog sensor is a version for dogs. The device attaches easily to a dog’s collar, and comes in several colors. Also, if you’re not so sure about your dog walker, the device tells you (by using a smartphone) how often the dog went out for a walk. The Hachiko Smart Dog Sensor also lets you set daily goals for your dog; $39.99 from hachiko.me.
The Bouncy Bone from Pet Safe is a durable bone-shaped chew toy that dental chew treats fit into – lots to chew on and to play with; $6.99. The Busy Buddy Ulta Sub is geared for ardent chewers. Two nylon “buns” are sandwiched over two ultra-thick rawhide treat rings. The rings spin on their posts, making it more challenging to dogs to grasp and chew; $9.99. All of the various Pet Safe Busy Buddy toys are meant to occupy dogs, sort of canine occupational therapy. Available at many pet stores and petsafe.net.
The PetSafe Cheese is an exciting peekaboo toy for cats. Fun mice pop out of either side of the cheese-shaped toy to keep cats moving and engaged in play. The unit automatically turns off after 10 to 15 minutes, while the Play While You Are Away mode allows cats to play even when you’re not there, $29.99 at many pet stores and petsafe.com.
Along those lines is the Buster dog activity mat. The idea, according to the creator is that “there are no stupid dogs, only impatient owners.” Open that mat and your dog has self-rewarding activities to participate. An example, opening a Velcro sealed “envelope” to receive a reward inside; $69.99 at amazon.com.
For dogs with a liking for sports, there are licensed jerseys and even toys and food bowls with team logos at fanatics.com and doggienation.com.