Dr. Hansen’s Tips for a Pet Safe Holiday

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Dr. Julie Hansen, DVM, cVMA is the Program Chair of the Veterinary Technology program at Argosy University, Twin Cities and this year she has wants to remind pet parents everywhere to keep their furry family members healthy and safe.


We sometimes forget, in our own excitement, that our pets depend on us, so it is important to think about your pet’s eating and exercise habits during the holidays. With that in mind, here are Dr. Hansen’s tips for a Pet Safe Holiday:

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Great DOG gift ideas:
  • Stuffed animals with squeakers (be sure to make sure the dog doesn’t “liberate” the squeaker and swallow it!)
  • Chewing treats: look for products with the VOHC (Veterinary Oral Health Council) seal of approval. These will help reduce plaque and tartar. See http://www.vohc.org/AcceptedProductsTable.pdf
  • Sweaters and coats for small dogs in cold weather
  • Boots for dogs that love to go for long walks in the snow
  • Tennis balls and soft frisbees for dogs that love to retrieve
  • Treats! But give in small quantities
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Great CAT gift ideas:
  • Scratching posts and boxes
  • Hiding spaces – boxes, tunnels, cat condos
  • Anything with catnip!
  • Small balls to chase (but not if you also have a dog that might eat them!)
  • Treats, especially dental chewing treats!
  • Toys you can use to play WITH your cat
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Gifts to avoid:
  • Any toy too small for your dog – choose toys that they can’t swallow
  • Deer or elk antlers – these natural chews are unfortunately too hard and can easily break teeth
    • If your dog is a big chewer, look for softer chewing items (Kong products are great) that won’t be able to be chewed apart easily
    • Don’t leave your dog unsupervised with anything they can chew apart
  • Human “treats” – especially anything with chocolate, raisins, and/or macadamia nuts – all of these are toxic to dogs
  • Avoid toys with strings or ribbons that your cat could ingest, unless they are always supervised while playing

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