What should you get your dog for Christmas?
Published 5:29 pm Tuesday, December 10, 2019
By HELEN PALMER
Over the years I have received many Christmas gifts — some useful, some beautiful, and two of them really stand out in my mind because they were gifts of action.
Email newsletter signup
Both of these gifts came in cards. One said, “This represents 50 hours I plan to give to you over the year helping you in any way you wish.” The other, not as extravagant but still very much appreciated, informed me that I would have my yard mowed and raked two times.
Most of us like to include our pets in the Christmas festivities and purchase a toy or something they need like a sweater so there is something under the tree for them. However, it is not necessary to spend a lot of money on your pet; you can give him a card promising some of your time in the next few months.
Here are some ideas:
- Weekly grooming sessions. This is quality time for your dog. If he has short hair, learn to give a relaxing massage.
- Promise to speak in a soft, happy voice, giving plenty of praise for good behavior. (A lot of us expect good behavior and vocalize only criticism.)
- Provide a suitable environment for your dog. This should include a play/exercise area that is fenced in, as well as protection from the elements of freezing rain or heat of summer. Fresh clean water should always be available.
- Promise to tend to your pet’s medical needs. This includes any vaccinations and other medications recommended by your veterinarian. Spay or neuter your pet, you will find him/her more enjoyable as he/she will focus on you. Give your pet at least an annual physical examination that includes weight evaluation, dental care, parasite control and care of the feet and toenails. Have the anal glands checked at this time.
- Play with your pet each day, or take him with you if you are going places where he can get out and join you on the visit. Leave him at home with a toy to play with if you have to go shopping since a car becomes a freezer in the wintertime and an oven in the summer.
- Purchase or make a sweater or coat for your dog if the winter is severe and he has a short or sparse coat.
- Feed your dog a high-quality canine diet. There are several national brands of nutritionally balanced kibble that are readily available at any market at a modest price. However, if you are thinking of changing foods, wean him off the old food slowly by adding a small amount of the new food to his regular diet each day, decreasing the amount of the original food as you add the new one. Take a couple of weeks to complete that change. Watch for allergic reactions such as itching, coughing or swelling.
Pick at least one of the suggestions — your dog will not understand your card, but your friends will, and admire you for it.