According to a recent poll, over half of pet owners will buy their companion animals gifts this holiday season.
More women (56 percent) than men (49 percent) have a pet on their gift-giving list.
And even the majority of families touched by loss during the year plan to buy their pet a Christmas present.
Most pet owners love to include their furry friends in holiday festivities – including buying gifts for the family dog so she has something to tear into on Christmas morning while her human pack is opening presents.
And retailers pull out all the stops this time of year. No matter where you shop during the season, you’re sure to be tempted by everything from brightly colored stuffed doggie Santas, to rubber red-nosed reindeer squeak toys, to eggnog-flavored gourmet dog cookies.
Those types of gifts are irresistible to humans, but in all honesty, they’re not ideal for dogs.
Seasonal stuffed dog toys often have small parts attached that come off in a flash and are easily swallowed. Or the seams split and the next thing you know your pet is looking up at you with a mouthful of indigestible stuffing.
A soft rubber toy can be quickly torn apart by most dogs and the squeaker ingested.
And chances are those pumpkin-flavored frosted dog biscuits are heavily processed and loaded with sugar, carbs and calories.
What Would Your Dog Put on His Christmas List?
If your pup could write his own letter to Santa, I know he wouldn’t wish for a stuffed toy or even his own package of canine cookies.
The first thing on his list would be to spend more time with you, his favorite pack mate, doing fun things like playing fetch. Or taking car rides together. Or going for a walk or a jog or a swim with you.
Next on his list would be something fun to do when he can’t be with you – when he’s left behind while you go off to do human type stuff that doesn’t involve him.
Obviously, a toy he can quickly destroy or get bored with isn’t the gift your favorite pup needs or would ask for if he could.
What he needs is a toy that is nearly indestructible and serves many different purposes. He needs a toy that provides:
- Mental stimulation and challenge
- Plenty of opportunity to work his jaws and teeth
- Mild physical exercise
- A stress-reducing distraction while he’s home by himself, especially if he’s prone to separation anxiety
Dear Santa … a Clever K9 Please!
The Mercola Healthy Pets Clever K9 treat-release dog toy is a perfect gift for your pup, regardless of her size or age. It’s a problem-solving toy that can provide your dog with hours of entertainment and mental challenge, as well as healthy food or snacks eaten slowly – not gobbled up in the blink of an eye.
In my opinion, the Clever K9 is a superior treat-release dog toy to similar products on the market for five important reasons:
- It’s not just a chew toy. It’s a puzzle to be solved, which provides your dog with a stimulating mental challenge.
- The Clever K9 is made in the U.S. using FDA-approved materials, so you don’t have to worry about exposing your dog to unknown toxins or other noxious agents found in some other pet toys.
- It’s easy to clean. The large cross-cut hole design makes the Clever K9 a snap to disinfect. You can toss it in the dishwasher or clean it by hand with plain soap and water.
- If you have two or more Clever K9’s you can keep a backup stuffed with food in your freezer, ready to go at a moment’s notice.
- The design of the Clever K9 encourages your dog’s natural hunting and foraging instincts. Your pup has to work for his food, which he’ll love. Food is a tremendous motivator for canines.
The Clever K9 is my absolute favorite dog toy. I keep a supply of them at home for my own pack and at my Natural Pet clinic for my canine patients and guests.
Suggestions for Stuffing the Clever K9
Your dog is an individual, so you’ll need to watch his behavior the first few times he uses his treat-release toy to determine his frustration threshold. Then you’ll know how challenging to make his Clever K9 toy.
A few helpful hints:
- Moist treats are more challenging than dry treats, and larger-size bites are trickier to get to than small ones.
- Experiment with moist fillings like peanut or almond butter, cubed cooked sweet potato, liverwurst, and cream cheese. These treats are gooey, chewy, and will keep your pet busy for quite awhile.
- Other stuffing suggestions: dehydrated chicken strips or turkey bites; dog biscuits or cookies made with non-allergenic coconut flour; strips or cubes of cheese; small pieces of chicken, beef, lamb or turkey.
- The Clever K9 is designed to hold a large volume of food, so you can feed your pup an entire meal from his treat-release toy. Dogs love ‘hunting’ their food, and the challenging design of the Clever K9 will slow down even the fastest eater.
As your dog grows more proficient at removing food from his Clever K9, you can combine moist and dry treats to challenge him further. Try putting a large dog biscuit inside the toy, then pack peanut butter in through the holes. This will add to the ‘thrill of the hunt’ for your dog.
Tips for Helping Your Pet Make the Most of the Clever K9
The Clever K9 isn’t just for times when your dog is alone at home. The two of you can have fun with it together.
- Play bounce and fetch. The material and shape of the Clever K9 gives it a wild, unpredictable bounce that will delight your pup and help increase speed and agility as she dashes around after it.
- Engage in a game of tug-of-war. The Clever K9’s vertical bubble design makes a convenient handle for you to grasp while your pup tugs at the opposite end.
- Play with the Clever K9 in water. It floats!
Calling All Clever K9’s!
I’d absolutely love to see videos of your dogs playing with their Clever K9 treat-release toys … and I know visitors to Mercola Healthy Pets would love them as well!
If you’ve made a video already or would like to make one of your own priceless pup playing with his Clever K9, we want to see it!
Send a link to your uploaded YouTube video to: firstname.lastname@example.org
We’ll feature your personal Clever K9 videos in future editions of the Healthy Pets newsletter.
More Suggestions for Pet-centered Holiday Giving
If you’re looking for a way to make the holidays brighter for an animal not in your care, you can:
- Make a donation of pet food, supplies, cash, or a few hours of your time to your local animal shelter or rescue organization.
- Ask your veterinary clinic if they know of a pet owner who can’t afford necessary medical care for their animal. Volunteer to pay for the treatment the pet needs.
- If you know a pet-owning senior citizen, volunteer to help with dog walking, visits to the vet or groomer, litter box maintenance, pet food shopping, or some other chore.
- Offer free pet-sitting or doggie daycare for a friend, relative or neighbor who is planning a vacation or other trip, a stay in the hospital, or who is working long hours or has a job requiring overnight travel.
- Volunteer to foster an adoptable pet during the coming year.