The stress of tax time is finally over. Your return has been filed, and maybe—hopefully!—you’re getting a refund. If so, why not take some of that refund and buy something for that special little someone who gives you so much unconditional love and joy all year long? Your dog or cat deserves a little something extra, and now…with that refund burning a hole in your pocket…is the perfect time to get them something. To make it easier for you, I’ve put together a list of 10 great gift ideas that will help your pet thrive. With ideas for both dogs and cats, there’s a good chance you’ll find an idea for the perfect present for your 4-legged friend here.
Our little Portugues Podengo Pequeño, Motley, is one of those dogs that seems larger than life. He has a zest for life that’s matched only by his curiosity and determination to do everything on his own terms. While this is one of the things I love most about him, it’s also a trait that seems to constantly land him in scrapes. Whether it’s a sting from a bee or a cut on his nose, Motley gets into mischief. If you have a Motley in your life, the Animal Scents Ointment is really handy to have on hand. It’s designed specifically for animals, and it uses essential oils and other safe, gentle ingredients to provide a soothing and protective salve for the inevitable cuts and scrapes that dogs like Motley get. Now, we certainly don’t use it on every little thing, but it’s handy for those cuts that might need a little extra something. It’s reasonably priced, too, which is a big plus. So, if you have a dog that sounds just like Motley, you might consider using part of your refund to get them some Animal Scents Ointment. You know—just in case. Check it out here.
If you’re looking for a safe, gentle, effective way to get your dog clean, Young Living’s Animal Scents Shampoo is a great option. I don’t usually need to bathe my dogs (shameless plug for raw diets here: my dogs are raw fed, which means they don’t have that “doggy odor”), but if you live somewhere that affords your dog the opportunity to get dirty, or if you notice an unpleasant odor from them, the Animal Scents Shampoo is, in my opinion, the best shampoo to use. In fact, it’s the only one I use when I do have to bathe my dogs (after a hike that results in muddy paws and bellies, for example). It’s made with essential oils and other natural ingredients, and it’ll get them clean without being overly harsh on your dog’s coat or skin. OK, as I think about it, maybe this is more of a treat for you than for your dog, but that’s alright—it’s a win-win for everybody! You can get the Animal Scents Shampoo here.
Did you know Nylabones and rawhide chews can cause dangerous blockages in your dog’s stomach and digestive tract? If you’ve been buying rawhide chews or Nylabones for your dog, why not use some of your refund to buy something that will be safe and fun for them to chew on? As you might have already guessed, one of the best alternatives to Nylabones and rawhide chews is antlers. Most dogs love them, they’re a safe way for them to satisfy their urge to chew, and they’ll last for a long, long time, even with lots of vigorous chewing. They come in different sizes, so you can get a size that’s appropriate for your dog. While antlers can be a bit pricey, their longevity makes up for it. And, some places sell them for less than your local Petco or PetsMart charges. One place to try is the Grande Natural Antler Company, here.
If you’re looking for an extra-special gift for your dog or cat, this next one will be right up your alley. Just like us, our pets sometimes get out of alignment. Dogs sometimes pull too hard on their leashes and throw their necks and/or backs out of whack. Your cat might have jumped down from something and landed wrong. Your pet might have been running and playing and tripped or slipped and wrenched something. There are a lot of reasons why your dog or cat might be out of alignment, but a good animal chiropractor can work wonders in helping fix that. So, if you’re getting a refund back, why not take part of it and get your pet in to see an animal chiropractor? Trust me, they’ll thank you for it. You can find an animal chiropractor by clicking here.
While it might surprise you to see the Chuckit! on a list of things to consider buying for your pet, I couldn’t leave it out. If your dog loves to play fetch and you haven’t given the Chuckit! a try, you’re missing out. It’s inexpensive (which is always a plus, in my opinion), it helps you throw your dog’s ball further (which means they’ll get tired faster), and it keeps you from having to touch a slimy, dirty, gross ball. Plus, you don’t have to bend over as much to get the ball; if you have any back issues, this can be a life-saver. So, even though it’s been around for a while, I had to include it here. If you haven’t already, get your dog a Chuckit!, and then get ready for the most fun you’ve ever had playing fetch with your dog.
This next item is just for your feline friend. While you may not realize it, cats can experience something called whisker stress when they eat out of bowls that aren’t wide enough for their whiskers. If your cat tends to pull food out of their bowl and then drop it next to their bowl, and then (and only then) eat it…and in the process, leave bits of food scattered all over, or if they just eat a little bit off the top of the bowl and then beg for more (even though there’s plenty more in the bowl), then they’re probably experiencing whisker stress. You can read more about it here, but if your cat fits these signs, then luckily, the fix is simple. Use part of your refund to get a bowl that’s wide enough and shallow enough for them to stick their whole heads in without smashing their whiskers up against the side. Dr. Catsby’s Food Bowl for Whisker Relief, available here, is perfect for this (you can also just find a shallow, wide bowl to use, but that’s not nearly as much fun!).
Pet parents constantly ask me for recommendations for the best treats for their pets. If you’re looking for a healthy, nutritious treat your dog will love, then look no further: Hare of the Dog Rabbit Treats are a great option. If you decide to make your dog’s day and get these treats for her, go for the 100% rabbit options, not the rabbit and sweet potato blends. These single-ingredient treats come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are perfect for training or “just because.” Rabbit is lean, full of nutrients, and is an “exotic” protein that generally doesn’t cause allergic reactions. Bottom line: if you want a fun, healthy treat to give your dog, these might be just the ticket! You can get them on Amazon, and you can also view them here.
You know I couldn’t stop at just one treat suggestion. Variety is the spice of life, and that goes for treats too. So, another great idea for you and your refund: bully sticks. They come in a wide variety of shapes (straight, rounded, braided, and so on) and sizes. Bully sticks are 100% beef pizzle, are high in protein, and are a big hit with every dog I’ve ever seen. You can find them at pet stores or online. One great resource is Best Bully Sticks.
The right equipment makes all the difference. And for taking your dog out on walks and runs, the right harness is vital. Using a harness means there’s no pressure on your dog’s thyroid or neck, which is great for their overall long-term longevity and health. The Ruffwear Front Range All-Day Adventure Harness for Dogs has clips in the front (good if your dog is a puller) and at the top (use if they don’t pull). It’s padded and comes in a wide variety of colors and sizes, with 4 different points of adjustment for just the right fit. Now that you have that refund, you can splurge a little bit. If your dog needs a new harness, or if you’ve never used a harness, it’s worth checking this one out (you can see it by clicking here).
(Picture Credit: Walky Dog)
Now that spring is here, there are few things more fun than going for a bike ride in the great outdoors. Really, the only thing that could make it better is taking your best furry friend with you. The Walky Dog PLUS Bike Leash (along with a padded harness) lets you bike ride with your dog safely. I’ve fostered more dogs than I can count in my life, and I’ve used the Walky Dog PLUS Bike Leash with almost all of them. I’ve used it with my own pack too. The design ensures that you can safely and comfortably take your dog out for a ride without worrying about them getting tangled up in the wheels, crossing in front of the bike, or pulling some other unexpected and dangerous maneuver that would probably result in a crash—even if they’ve never seen a bike before or don’t have leash manners (and trust me, most of my fosters didn’t, when I first got them). And, you can take it from me that if your dog spots a cat or squirrel or another dog and lunges at it, the Walky Dog PLUS Bike Leash will absorb a lot of the shock and stop them from pulling the bike over. It’s easy to install, fits most bikes (I’ve used it with road bikes, mountain bikes, and beach cruisers), and has almost no learning curve, for you or your dog. In fact, the only real limitation is your dog’s comfort: make sure to go at a speed that lets them trot next to you instead of having to run full out. Let them dictate how far and fast you go. And, if they’re new to bike rides, go on short rides at first until their paws toughen up a little bit.
If you want to start enjoying bike rides with your best friend safely, this is the best option I’ve found to do it. Note that you should never use the Walky Dog PLUS Bike Leash with a collar, only a harness (I use the Hurrta Active Harness, available here). You can check out the Walky Dog PLUS Bike Leash here.
Well, there it is: some great ideas for how to use your refund to buy an awesome gift (or gifts) for your pet. I hope I’ve given you some food for thought. Oh, and in the interest of full disclosure, I want to say that I don’t get any financial compensation from any of the companies for highlighting them and their products here—I just think these are all quality products that can make a positive difference in your pet’s life. Enjoy!
-By Kristin Clark, MA, CSAN
Editor-in-Chief, Raw Pet Digest
Founder, Raw Pets Thrive Movement