Veterinarians at Washington State University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital have compiled a list of the top five gifts to help improve pet health this holiday season.
“At this time of year we always take the opportunity to give something to our pets. Why don’t you give them something that gives all year round? ”Said Dr. Jessica Bell, a small animal doctor at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital of the WSU.
#1. Annual check
There is no better gift for your pet than an annual health exam.
Veterinarian Jessica Bunch, coordinator of the integrative veterinary medicine service at WSU, said while many pet owners postpone routine checkups, yearly screening for disease and other complications is the best way to make sure your pet is doing well.
“It’s not a ball or a bone, but it could keep your pet happy and longer,” said Dr. Bunch.
For older pets, Bunch recommends a wellness check-up every six months.
# 2. Robust exercise toy and swag
Most WSU veterinarians agree that exercise in general can be the best and cheapest gift of all.
So when buying a toy for your pet, get something that encourages physical activity.
“Every pet owner knows their pet best, but a durable ball like the Kong brand or a frisbee is usually safe,” said Dr. Bell. “Or anything with catnip for our cat friends.”
It’s important to read toy reviews and avoid toys that can break or be torn apart.
“The last thing you want is part of your gift to be ingested and lead on an emergency drive to the vet,” said Dr. Bell.
# 3. Memory games
Food-giving toys keep pets happy and inspire mental stimulation and weight management. Dr. Bunch said pets also learn to earn their treats through the use of toys that dispense food.
Toys like Kong ™ are well known, but interactive toys like Pickle Pocket ™, Kibble Nibble ™ and Tug ‑ a ‑ Jug ™ are now flooding the market.
Sniff mats are another interactive tool owners can give to their dogs.
The mat forces dogs to use their noses to find their food, acting as an interactive sniffer device; It was designed to imitate how dogs once hunted in grass and fields.
According to Bunch, sniffer mats also slow down how quickly a dog is consuming their food, which limits choking and vomiting.
# 4. Pet insurance
For many veterinarians, health insurance is one of the most important gifts an owner can give their pet on this vacation.
“It may not sound like a fun gift, but especially in these troubled times, it is a gift that could save the owner a lot of money on the high medical costs for pets during their lifetime,” said Bunch.
Dr. Bunch said the monthly premium varies widely based on breed and location, but there are dozens of quality pet insurance providers out there.
Bunch said she experienced the benefits of pet insurance firsthand.
She said that once a pet has a pre-existing condition, many providers are no longer eligible for insurance for that condition, but for new conditions or injuries.
# 5. A new bed
Just like with humans, a little bit of padding makes a big difference to a pet, and a good night’s sleep is critical to physical and mental health.
Bell said it was important that cats and dogs have their own bed so they can be comfortable at home.
Bell said beds are especially important for older pets who may have osteoarthritis.
By keeping pets off the ground, Bell says it limits calluses and makes for an overall happier animal.
According to Bunch, pet owners can find a variety of beds, including orthopedic and heated beds, which can be especially beneficial for arthritic pets.
She reminds owners that it is best to choose a bed that is easy to clean.
- Josh Babcock, College of Veterinary Medicine Communications, 509-339-3423, email@example.com