MOORHEAD, Minn. — The holidays are right around the corner! Somehow, that "Oh, it's a month away" turned into "Holy snot, we only have a few days!"
Have you gotten everything for the people on your list? How about that little mess of legs and feet that your dad swore he didn't want?
Sure, they don't know Christmas from any other Wednesday, but that doesn't mean we want to spoil our dogs any less. They can't talk to us, but we know what they're thinking and we want to treat them like they're the best boys or girls.
Christmas is a time for giving and receiving, so what better way to celebrate the season with your fluffy four-legged friends than their own little something to unwrap?
Fortunately, the pet industry is bigger and better than ever before. With local businesses specializing in anything and everything Fluffy might want or need, fetching the perfect gift is as easy as, "Sit! Stay! Go get it!"
There's an old saying: "The best way to a pet's heart is through their stomach." Or was that the best way to a man's heart? Either way, there's nothing better than a delicious new treat to get your fluffy friend all excited on the big day.
However, some of these treats have the potential to be less "yummy" and more "sick-to-the-tummy."
Jill Dowdle, an associate veterinarian with Casselton Veterinary Service, says taking care to check out these treats can mean a world of difference.
"Some of the most common things that come to mind would be different foods or plants," she says. "Big bones — butcher bones, bully sticks, real bones, antlers — those are some common ones we see people give pets that are harmful. They can cause things like broken teeth, but they can also cause problems in the GI (gastrointestinal) system, whether that's obstruction or perforation."
Dowdle also advises fur-moms and dads to be sure treats are free from any additives that might cause issues. Things like xylitol, garlic or onions can be extremely harmful to pets.
"If you're introducing a new treat to your pet, be cautious because some pets can be sensitive to any new food or treats," she says.
Dowdle says keeping pets comfortable and happy is the key to ensuring they have a happy holiday season.
"Another big thing would be considering things that make your pet stressed-out during the holidays," says Dowdle. "Whether that be visitors to your house, traveling, boarding, stuff like that, there's a lot of things we can do to potentially make those things better, if necessary."
She suggests planning ahead and talking to your vet for tips on keeping your fuzzy friend happy and stress-free.
The key to finding the perfect gift is knowing what your furry family member likes — and doesn't like. Things like dog- and cat-appropriate toys can make for the purr-fect gift, while a stylish new collar or tasty treat can also be the ticket.
Many pet stores and specialty shops have items available that even the finickiest of fur-kids are going to love.
"A new product we have in is called a Zoo Snood," says Cristen Voeltz, owner of Hotdog! Pet Salon in Moorhead. "There's a bunch of different animals — foxes, deer, unicorns — that cover their ears and keep them warm. Bow ties are super fun. They go right on the collar."
The salon, 814 Center Ave., also carries specialty treats for pets, as well as accessories to keep your guy or gal looking spiffy.
"Snoods are functional and adorable," she says. "Treats are always a good idea. We have bandannas, too. They have the state of Minnesota on them. They're darling."
In addition to gifts for pets, Voeltz and the folks of Hotdog! Pet Salon are also planning a holiday grooming special.
"The (special) we do bring around this time of year is our Holiday Hotdog Package," she says. "We have a Hotdog Package that is teeth brushing and nail grinding added on (to a normal grooming package), but for the holidays we do a holiday edition so the dog will get the teeth brushing and nail grinding, but we add on a holiday bandanna, we have holiday-scented spritzes for dogs and then they get a treat out of the case, too. It's kind of fun to get them smelling and looking like Christmas."
While there are many options available, there's one gift that surpasses everything else: your time.
"I would encourage (pet owners) to spend lots of time with their pet and spoil them," Voeltz says. "For them, time and attention is usually the best gift in showing love to them."