This holiday season, don’t forget gifts for furry family members. With a little thoughtful planning, the gifts you give them can have benefits for you as well – and vice versa! We asked pet expert Julia Szabo, a.k.a. Pet Reporter >^..^<, for her great gift suggestions on how to make – and keep – your home festive through the holiday season and beyond. Read more about Julia here [www.animalhousestyle.com] and follow her on Twitter @PetReporter1
Expert Holiday Gifting Tips by Julia Szabo
* Protect Pups’ Paws – Dogs love playing in the snow, but they don’t love walking on ice-melting salt, which burns their paw-pads and causes irritation and infection. Morton – the “When It Rains, It Pours” people – knows the power of salt and adores dogs, so the company formulated safe, effective, salt-free Safe-T-Pet Ice Melt. Use these festive, pet-safe green crystals to make walkways slip-proof. [ www.mortonmelters.com] And be sure to check out Morton Salt on Facebook - for every “Like” received, the company will donate $1 to the ASPCA, in honor of National Keep Pets Safe in Winter Day (December 22).
* Mutt-Proof Your Mattress – Nothing’s nicer than a warm winter K9 cuddle on a frigid, frosty night. Admit it: Pets are great in bed! But if you’re going to share your bed with furry family members, remember to preserve the mattress’s longevity with a Crypton mattress protector. This durable, snow-white bedding layer guards again staining, moisture, odors, and bacteria – in short, any accident that could befall a bed that’s shared with sleeping dogs and curled-up cats. [ wwonw.cryptonnight.com]
* Bow-Wow Baking - Why should we humans have all the fun with pumpkin pies and gingerbread cookies? Here’s something for the whole family to be thankful for: Dogs whose busy people have no time to bake can still enjoy all the flavor without any fuss, thanks to pre-baked, four-footed versions of those heavenly holiday treats we all crave, Paws in the Pie treats by Ark Naturals [ www.arknaturals.com ] and Gingerbread Men Buddy Biscuits by Cloud Star. [ www.cloudstar.com ]
* Walk the Walk – Dogs can suffer the K9 version of whiplash from carelessly-deployed training collars. Give Spot the gift of a comfortable, pain-free correction – and yourself the gift of a well-heeled K9 who won’t pull out your back! - with the Walk in Sync Humane Dog Walking and Training System. It’s the genius invention of Colorado dog trainer Alecia Evans, who believes that “there’s no need to use choke collars on dogs – this leash puts you in the leadership position with no stress at all, on you or the dog.” In just five minutes, it works with all dogs, from Dachshunds to Dobermans. [ www.dogwalkinsync.com ]
* Pets’ Pearly Whites – Keep pets’ breath kissable with the beneficial bacteria known as probiotics - they’re great for preventing tooth decay as well as supporting an animal’s digestive and immune systems. One scoop of EvoraPet [ www.evorapet.com ] sprinkled over a dog or cat’s food daily will help keep his choppers healthy. In between regular tooth-brushings and probiotic doses, keep Spot’s breath spotless with “Breath-less Brushless Toothpaste” from Ark Naturals, [ www.arknaturals.com] toothsome treats for dogs that contain breath-freshening Chlorophyll, Cinnamon, and Clove.
* Chew on This – Nothing looks less festive than half-chewed rawhides strewn around the living room. Yuck! Deer Antler Dog Chews by Flint River Ranch, on the other hand, are the seasonally appropriate alternative, and dogs love ‘em. Ranging in size from Petite to Extra Jumbo, these naturally-shed antlers will keep Spot’s choppers gainfully occupied, plus they look downright decorative on your living-room floor, like natural holiday sculpture. [ www.f-r-r.com]
* Motivating Senior K9s – Is arthritis making it tough for your older dog to get around? This holiday, give him or her the gift of vastly improved mobility with DogPawR Joint & Hip Complex. This sublime new product contains green-lipped mussels and turmeric in addition to glucosamine and several other key, natural ingredients. Sprinkled over a dog’s food, this combination of ingredients does wonders to help senior dogs overcome the discomfort of joint stiffness. [ www.dogpawr.com ]
* Home for the Holidays – Finally, please remember the wonderful pets at your local animal shelter, who are patiently awaiting their forever homes in metal cages and concrete kennels. Donate what you can, whether it’s money or supplies (shelters are always grateful to receive towels, blankets, and cleaning supplies). And if there’s room in your home, please consider adopting a shelter dog or cat. To find a shelter near you, visit www.Petfinder.com
Julia Szabo, one of We Are Pet Nation’s Star Experts, is nationally recognized as the authority on living and traveling stylishly with pets. Her expert commentary has appeared in The New York Times, The New York Post, Travel + Leisure, Country Living, Real Simple, Family Circle, and Cesar’s Way, among many others, and she’s a frequent guest of “Morning Living” on Sirius Radio’s Martha Stewart Channel. The author of six lifestyle books, including the acclaimed “Animal House Style” and “Pretty Pet-Friendly,” she produces the daily “Living With Dogs” column for Dogster.com and Traditional Home’s monthly “Star Style” column, a feature about design and the zodiac. She lives in New York City with her family of rescued dogs and cats, including Lazarus the pit bull (pictured). Follow her on Twitter @PetReporter1