A Holiday to Howl About

Simple pleasures such as affection, activity and regular feeding are the mainstays of canine satisfaction, but toys and treats inspire oodles more doggy delight. Here are some holiday gift ideas for dogs whether they’ve been naughty or nice.

PetSmart rings in the holidays with a variety of festive treats and toys. A stocking full of Rawhide Chews for Dogs from Petholiday by Dentley’s will undoubtedly be a favorite of any dog. My dog, Biscuit, was more than happy to do a pre-holiday taste test: she scarfed some of the bone and gingerbread men-shaped granulated rawhide treats instantly. In fact, the first treat disappeared so quickly I thought she had hid it for safekeeping, but upon closer inspection a few stray crumbs were evidence of an enthusiastic gobbling. Biscuit savored the coiled rolls, candy cane and rod shaped treats, playing with them for a day or more before eating them up. Another resounding success is the Petholiday by Toy Shoppe Hedgehog Squeaker Mat; my dog loves plush toys and squeaker toys, and this plush mat comes with 12 squeakers, a head that rattles and sports a Santa hat complete with pom pom on top. It didn’t take long for Biscuit to tear off the hat and surgically remove the squeakers and rattle, but she had a great time doing so and continues to shake around the hedgehog weeks later.

Available online and in-store exclusively at PetSmart http://www.petsmart.com for locations

As with holiday parties, with squeaker toys, the more the merrier! Kyjen, known for beautifully designed, well-made dog toys makes a variety of squeaker mat toys that boast 12 or 16 squeakers. Biscuit is the proud owner of a Plush Puppies Long Body Mallard Large Squeaker Mat, 31” long with a large head that rattles and 16 squeakers, a Plush Puppies Frankie Fox Real Animal Squeaker Mat with natural colors and textures of real animal fur, 12 squeakers, a large head and a large, bushy, grunting tail and a Plush Puppies Square Squeaker Mat small Sidney the Squirrel with a rattling head, 16 squeakers and a bushy tail. Both the long body and square body styles are great for tug of war, and the square body can be thrown easily, but Biscuit, though she’s small, seems to take extra pleasure in dragging around the long bodies. The multitude of squeakers means that even when Biscuit, the squeaker slayer has silenced a few squeakers there are still more to go. Biscuit tears through most plush toys in record time and because Plush Puppies toys are so durably constructed, they’re still puncture free. Amazing!

Available online at Kyjen http://www.kyjen.com or see http://www.kyjen.com for local retailers

Nina Ottosson Sweden is famous for award-winning dog activity toys designed to stimulate dogs mentally and provide an opportunity for owners to bond with their dogs and reinforce training commands such as “wait”, “find it” and “sit”. The toys are rated by three levels of difficulty: beginner, medium and advanced. My dog loves the challenge of searching for treats with the Dog Tornado (also good for cats) and the Dog Twister which are rated medium to advanced. The Dog Tornado, is shaped like a bone with three stacked rotating trays in which treats can be hidden, and dogs use their nose and paws to spin the trays and find their treat rewards. The Dog Twister is a circular tray with hollows for treats that have sliding block lids, which dogs have to move to find the treats. To increase the difficulty both games have pegs that can be inserted to prevent access to the treats until the dog removes the pegs. I like that these toys foster Biscuit’s natural desire to sniff out and work for rewards. Most of toys come in either wood or plastic. The plastic toys are easy to clean and can be put in the freezer (frozen wet food in the hollows makes for a longer lasting food reward).

Available online at Nina Ottosonhttp://www.nina-ottosson.com or see http://www.nina-ottosson.com for local retailers

Dog paraphernalia (toys, clothes, food, treats, collars, brushes etc.) has a way of taking over the house. The Big Bone Storage Bin from Pet Zone is an adorable bone-shaped bin perfect for storing any of your dog’s belongings. It’s sturdy, made of food-safe plastic in a neutral color and holds a lot despite its compact size (comes in a 10 lb or 30 lb capacity size). I use the large size bin for my dog’s toys, and when the secure lid is off, the low, oblong shape allows Biscuit to reach in and select her toy of choice rather than tipping over the entire can as she did when her toys were in a spare trash can. An ideal choice for storing all of Fido’s holiday loot!

Available online at Shop Our Pets http://store.shopourpets.com/boneboxlg.html

A Happy Howlin’ Holiday to you!

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