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Pet Gift Hazards to Avoid

Think about play styles and possible risks before giving gifts to your pet.

Cat Gift Watch List

Dogs can have trouble if they eat linear or stringy objects, but cats are famous for it. These long items “have a higher potential to do damage," Rozanski says.

Miller agrees and cautions feline gift-givers to limit strings, ribbons, or nesting material used in wrappings or gift baskets - or cat products themselves.

Cats enjoy toys with dangly parts, but Miller says, “It should be an interactive-type game, not a self-play type of game.”

Kids Toys vs. Pet Toys

People sometimes offer dogs and cats children’s toys. On the surface, it might seem safe, but the two kinds of toys serve different purposes.

“Kids’ toys are often not suitable for pets because pets put toys under different stresses and actions than kids do,” Miller says. “So even though kids’ toys are tested for safety standards, they are meant for child-sized bodies and child strength and physical capabilities, not for predators. Dogs and cats are strong. They have sharp teeth. They can be persistent.”

Food Gifts for Pets

Barring any food allergies or intolerances, food items like pet treats make good gifts. If homemade treats are more your style, review pet poison resources, like those from ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center, to ensure you skip common ingredients dangerous to pets.

Miller also suggests food-delivery toys for dogs and cats. These toys, which require work to get food out, provide much-needed mental stimulation to pets.

With each refill, the toy garners renewed interest. They also keep pets busy and away from other possible hazards. Miller says, “The toys smell like food, and it’s easier for a young pet, like a puppy, to learn it’s OK to chew on items that smell like food and not chew on items that don’t smell like food.”

Reviewed on October 03, 2011

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