Santa Claus is Coming… For Pets Too!

He’s on his way, he’s almost here. Santa will be bringing toys and treats to all the boys and girls and possibly to some dogs and cats very soon. Just like with children, Santa needs to know what treats and toys are appropriate for dogs and cats because there are so many to choose from.

Cats, especially kittens love to chase things. Small rubber balls, toy catnip-filled mice, crumpled up tin foil balls are all toys which make chasing fun. Santa should remember to stay away from elastics, balls or toys smaller than 2 cm and string because these things as well as being chased can be eaten. Some cats like to eat what they hunt and small things can get stuck causing big problems. Food snacks are always a favorite with cats. These too can be used to play the chase game and throwing snacks down the hallway encourages activity which helps to keep cats lean. Chasing after treats gives a tasty reward at the end of the chase. Scratching posts, dangling toys on a string and small covered boxes or kitty condos would all be appreciated by our feline family friends.

Santa should not forget the dogs in the family as long as they have been good dogs. Like cats, dogs enjoy playing so balls, rubber bones and sturdy stuffed toys are all appropriate toys for our dogs. Dogs love to chew and will often tear apart the toys they are given. They do this not because they don’t like the toy but just the opposite, they get great joy tearing things apart. Messy, but fun. Santa may be tempted to bring bones or hard toys which cannot be chewed up. This is fine as long as Santa remembers the ‘thumbnail’ rule. If a toy is too hard to push a thumbnail into, it’s too hard for dogs to chew on. Even though they will love the chewing, toys that are too hard have the risk of breaking teeth and causing pain.

Just like us with socks, dogs are not that keen on coats or boots but, if Santa brings fashionable fleeces our pooches will be warm when walking. And stylish.

Christmas season is a time of sharing and Santa’s in all their forms make lives better for everyone. Our dogs and cats have been good and deserve some Christmas treats and since they give us love all year round, it’s nice for us to be able to give back to them.

Written by Dr. David Kerr, DVM