As every pet-lover knows, the Christmas shopping list isn’t complete until the pets are included. Even if your pet was more naughty than nice, chances are they still gave you plenty of laughter, which earns them a place on Santa’s good list.
The newest trend: brain games.
“You’re seeing a lot more games and puzzle toys that work with the intellect of the dog,” said Jerry Barlow, general manager at Petco, motioning toward a display of brightly colored toys that dispense treats.
PetSmart also carries a variety of mentally stimulating toys.
“It’s good for families who work or go to school during the day. It gives the dog something to do while their family is gone,” said Kari Cheever, PetSmart manager.
Even for dogs, life isn’t just about having brains. Fashion is also a high-priority, although most likely for the pet owner rather than the pet itself.
Pugz is a line of boots, jackets, harnesses and beds made to look like the popular Ugg boots. Sold at Petco, the Pugz product line is soft and cozy but also durable enough for Iowa winters.
In addition, Petsmart carries a popular Martha Stewart clothing line with everything from colorful hooded winter coats to T-shirts for your furry, fashionable friend.
Most pet stores offer a large variety of Christmas-themed toys, costumes and rawhide. However, there are also specialty toys, such as PetSmart’s Toys “R” Us line and Petco’s “Star Wars” selection, that will excite your kids as well as your pets.
If you worry about getting your dog a squeaky toy because of the inevitable midnight squeak session, try a Kong squeaker toy.
“These are very popular, especially with the pet parents,” said Cheever, holding the Kong toy. “It comes with a switch to turn off the squeaker so your dog can chew it all night if it wants.”
Cats are typically more selective than dogs. To combat this, cat gift boxes come with a variety of plush, crinkle, and rolling toys inside. If you’re concerned about spending money on a cat toy that might be discarded for a crumpled up piece of paper, stick to the safer route: something to climb on.
The classic cat tree is a popular choice for felines, but they take up a lot of space. Instead, try platforms that attach to the wall at varying heights.
There is more to the pet world than just cats and dogs, however. It wouldn’t be right to forget about the small animals on your list. Petco carries a selection of clothes and costumes (Santa included) made just for guinea pigs, rabbits, and ferrets. PetSmart has a hamster wheel especially for Christmas- it plays “Jingle Bells” as the small pet runs.
And what do you get for the pet-loving person who wants a pet but might not have the space or energy for a higher-maintenance dog or cat?
“If you’re new to getting a pet, the self-cleaning betta tank is the way to go,” said Barlow.
With Aquafarm’s self-cleaning betta tank, biology takes care of the cleaning. The three-gallon aquarium has a small herb garden on top that is maintained by the fish’s waste. Simply feed the betta and the rest takes care of itself.