The holidays are here. When it comes to gifts this season, don’t forget your pets! To assist you on your holiday quest, we thought you might need dog and cat gift ideas. Listed here are some suggestions for your furry friends.

• Interactive Feeder Bowls (Slow Feed Bowls) – Slow feed bowls are especially great for pets who gobble their food very quickly. With these bowls, the pet must maneuver the kibble through a maze in order to obtain the morsel. This is mentally challenging and makes your pet use problem solving. By slowing the pet’s eating, the risk of bloating or vomiting is also greatly reduced. Common brands include Outward Hound, Northmate, Krause and Catit.

• GPS Tracker Tags/Collars – Regardless of whether you have a pet that stays by your side or will bolt at the first opportunity, GPS trackers are a great way to prevent your pet from getting lost. They are available as full collars or as tags that attach to a pet’s existing collar. Many of these devices include applications for your phone or computer where you can locate your pet should he or she go outside their intended area. Some options also include activity tracking. These are available for dogs or cats. Common brands are Link AKC collars, Gibi Pet Locator and The Whistle.

• Cat Perches – Although these have been available for years, new models now include heated pads, and some even come with scratch pads. Whether attached to the windowsill or attached directly to the window, perches provide an excellent space for your kitty to relax, watch birds, or if you are a cat at my house, sleep 23.5 hours per day. Common brands include K&H Pet products and Oster.

• Automatic Ball Launchers – Ball launchers are perfect for the active pet that enjoys running and fetching. These toys hold a reservoir of balls that are automatically launched 10 to 30 feet. When the pet fetches the ball, he or she drops the ball back in the reservoir for it to be launched again. Most can be adjusted for distance, so the launcher can be used inside or outside. Common brands include iFetch, SmartPult, GoDogGo and iDogmate.

• Treat-Dispensing Cameras – With a camera and a mobile phone app, you can interact with your cat or dog when you are not at home. In addition to watching your pet through the camera, you can also speak to them and even dispense treats. Common brands are Petzi, Furbo and PetCube.

• Good Old- Fashioned Balls for Fido – I am in love with the Planet Dog ball made by Orbee. In addition to being a replica of the earth, the balls come in three different sizes and color schemes. My dogs have played with the same Planet Dog ball for several years without damaging it yet. For dogs known for destroying things, I highly suggest The Virtually Indestructible Ball. These balls come in 6 inch, 10 inch and 14 inch sizes.

Regardless of what we choose to give our pets, it is always critical to consider safety. Removable parts can be chewed or swallowed and can be hazardous or toxic. Check labels and be aware of where treats are made and what the ingredients used. I wish you a safe and happy holiday season filled with lots of love from our furry friends.

Dr. Kari Hyatt is a veterinarian with LakeCross Veterinary in Huntersville. The vets in the big yellow house have been treating pets like family for 20 years. For more information, call 704-948-6300.

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