Thursday, December 6, 2012

Twelve Dog Days of Christmas

As you hang the jingle bells and strategically place the mistletoe, deck the halls, trim the tree and shop for gifts in all the holiday hubbub, don’t forget your pooch.  Man’s best friend, your loyal companion, the one who forever promises you unconditional love should also earn a place on your holiday gift list.  Having trouble deciding what to buy your canine kid this year?  Check out these gift ideas:

The Halti harness by Gentle Leader - the folks at HOTLR cannot get enough of this wonderful harness.  It is the best harness around for your large dog.  The Halti harness is unique in that it attaches to the leash in the front of the chest rather than at the back as traditional harnesses do.  This puts pressure on the dog’s chest if they pull or lunge as opposed to the back and neck which has the potential to cause injury.  Also, for super strong pullers, the attachment in the front allows you to attach the leash to both collar and harness giving you a little extra support.  These harnesses are the best!!!  Get it here: Halti Harness

How fun would it be to design a collar and leash set for your own dog? If you are interested in handmade collars and leashes that are of the highest quality, handmade and flashy too, then check out this website where Shannon Barry of Lucky Fiona will make your pet the most envied pooch on the block.  You can even join the calendar of the month club and get a new collar each month for your pet.  Collars for kitty are available too.  Cost for collars is around $16. Check out the Lucky Fiona offerings here:

Are you on the look-out for some healthy dog cookies that are Labrador sized? Rather than risking your fingers and feeding handfuls of treats to your dogs, check out these great treats from Innova.  Innova was the first company to begin making holistic food for your pets.  These dog treats are made with turkey and chicken protein and then apples, blueberries, carrots, green beans and pumpkin are added to round out their nutrition.  Innova Baked Heath Bars come in large and small sizes with the large size being the perfect size for your Lab.  Think about stuffing your pet’s stocking with these little bits of yum!!!

ChuckIt - The all time best toy for the fetching phenom in your life.  If you don’t know what a ChuckIt is, then both you and your pup are missing out.  This product allows you to launch a ball in such a way that you’ll wonder if your pup will ever come back.  Plus it has a built in ball “picker upper” to keep your hands clean and dry during the playtime process.  We also love the rubber ChuckIt balls that are sold separately.  These rubber balls are nearly indestructible and float in the water as well.  Traditional tennis balls can be hard on your dogs teeth as the outside covering acts as sandpaper and can cause damage to your pet’s teeth over time.  With the ChuckIT rubber ball, this worry is put to rest.  The balls also come in different sizes to accommodate your pet’s mouth.  The launcher - Chuck It Classic Launcher and the ChuckIt rubber balls - ChuckIt Medium Ultra Balls

If you are familiar with Labs and senior pets, you’ll know that arthritis is inevitable. Especially in these active large dogs.  Make sure your pet stays protected throughout the his/her life by beginning supplements early.  JointMax Triple Strength Joint products are a great way to get your “big dog” the supplements needed to protect those important joints.  Speak to your veterinarian about his or her recommendation for joint protection as well.  There are many products on the market to choose from and it can be confusing.  Check out more information on JointMax products here:

Eco Nap Dog Bed - Do you crate your dog when you are gone?  Or do you need an easy travel pet bed for family vacations and overnights?  Then check out this pet bed you can feel good about buying.  Made right here in Montana, USA the West Paw products are some of our favorites.  They have a variety of pet beds to choose from.  This particular style makes a great crate liner or travel bed and is made with both functionality and sustainability in mind.  Don’t be afraid to toss this guy in the washer either....the pet bed is easily maintained and built to last:

Costco Pet Beds - If a more economical pet bed is more your style, then you can’t beat the pet beds at Costco.  Large enough for the biggest Lab in your family, the Costco pet beds come in stylish designs and colors.  The cushion is stuffed with cedar and batting to keep your pet comfortable and smelling fresh while also detracting bugs.  Removable covers are easy to wash, but should be line dried.  Costco pet beds typically run less than $20.  Check out your local Costco store for the most current selection. Check out this link for a Costco near you: Costco Store Locator

Here’s yet another product we love from West Paw Designs. This is a great hard rubber ball that is virtually indestructible even from the most aggressive chewer.  This product is recyclable and BPA free.  The ball floats in the water and will provide hours of entertainment for the water dog in your house.  If you buy this ball you’ll never buy another, unless your pup manages to lose it.  It’s one tough ball!!

Dura-Chew Nylabone Galileo bone - Here’s great chew toy for your large dog.  Nylabone’s Galileo bone is made for the big dog in the house. Made of extremely durable nylon, the Nylabone provides hours of chewing entertainment for your dog.  As your dog chews, the tiniest pieces shred from the bone guaranteeing that no large pieces will break off and hurt your dog. Think your dog won’t like the taste of nylon?  Boil the bone in a little chicken broth for a few minutes.  I bet your dog won’t be able to resist....

One of the best things about owning pets is that they can guilt you into exercise.  If you’re a runner, hiker or walker, a skateboarder or roller blader, then this hand-free waist leash is for you.  Attached to the leash is a little bag made of stretchy material that can hold your key, cell phone and pooh bag.  This is a must have for every exercise savvy pet owner....Check out this model from REI: Handsfree Leash

Texas is that funny fickle state where owning a lighted collar for your pet is a necessity.  Thanks to the hot summer weather, you may be restricted to walking your pet at dawn or after dark to escape the brutal heat of a summer’s day.  Then, once it cools down to a respectable temperature, the time change during the winter months has us all struggling to get a good walk in after work, but before dark.  That’s why a collar that lights is another essential item for your and your pet.  There are various models available.  Check 'em out: Lighted Dog Collar

Finally, one of the greatest gifts we can give our pets is that of a nutritious high quality food.  Avoid the pitfalls and health hazards of feeding table scraps to your dog and give them their own holiday healthy dinner by buying a few cans of high quality canned food.  Talk to your veterinarian about the pet food he/she likes best.  The quality of food we feed our pets can definitely make a difference in their quality of life.  We see it every day as HOTLR volunteers.  It is not difficult to tell the rescues who’ve had poor quality diets.  They shed more, their haircoats are dull, and they may be itchy.  If they look like this on the outside, imagine how little support their vital organs are receiving.  In the long run, you may pay a little more for a high quality diet, but your pet will be healthier (less trips to the vet) and will experience a better quality of life.  And that makes us all happy.  Check out these canned food offerings from Wellness Pet Foods: Canned Diets or for everyday, check out Wellness Super5Mix for Large Breed Dogs - Wellness Super 5 Mix - Large Breed Adult

We actually wrap our dog's Christmas presents.  We use scraps of paper that would otherwise be thrown away.   It makes it fun for all on Christmas morning.  So, remember all the joy and giggles your pet gives to you throughout the year, and get 'em a little something special this year for Christmas.