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Holiday Gifts for Your Pets

What do you get for the dog that has everything? Or the Cool Kitty King or Queen of your couch? This holiday question has haunted pet lovers for ages, but there are plenty of easy answers. Here are a few gift suggestions for the pet that has everything:

What dog doesn’t love a ride in the car? Yet accidents happen. There you are, minding your own business when some idiot comes charging around a blind corner IN YOUR LANE. OK, you’ve got the seat belt and air bag, but what about beloved Phydeau? Wouldn’t it be nice if your dog didn’t fly through the windshield? Consider a vehicle rollover: it’s bad enough that your dog is bouncing off the interior of the car, but do you really want to be repeatedly pummeled with 70 pounds of fear-crazed pooch? After the accident, what if your dog is OK but you are not? A paramedic opens the door and your terrified pal bolts for safety, out into the big scary world, and is lost.

Do your dog and yourself a favor and invest in a pet harness. These are made by several manufacturers and will safely restrain your dog to a nice sturdy seat belt. Everyone is safer and you can rest easy, knowing that no coffee-swilling-cell-phone-talking-double-yellow-line-crossing-cracker-jack-box-licensed driver can take your pet from you.

How about some bling? Our dogs and cats can’t tell glass from diamond, so why not splurge on a sparkly? Nothing says I LOVE YOU like a micro-chip. When your cat or dog is adorned with one of these little glass beauties, it informs the entire world that you love them wherever they may roam (or get lost or stolen) AND the chips are worn under the skin so they can never be misplaced. If your pet gets lost and turns up at an animal shelter, IT IS ILLEGAL for animal control authorities to euthanize a micro-chipped animal until they make reasonable efforts to contact you, and all they have to do is check your pet’s chip number in a national online database. Many micro-chips (at least, the brand we use) include free lifetime registration with the cost of the chip (under $45 bucks). The Internet is full of stories of lost animals that have been returned to their owners thanks to a micro-chip. Every animal should have one!

Get rid of your pet’s pests. All of us like to have little critters running around, but do our cats and dogs share the sentiment? Winter is coming and we all expect the Summer-time flea problems to disappear at this time of year, but I see patients with flea problems on a daily basis. Lately, local ticks are staging their usual Fall recrudescence. Fleas and ticks are a continuous problem for our pets.

But it doesn’t have to be that way! The active ingredient of Frontline® is now off patent and other manufacturers are free to use it in new formulations. These spot-on flea killers are easy to apply, very safe, and quite effective. Whether these products can be absolutely relied upon to provide 100% flea control for a full 4 weeks is open to question, but they do a good job and are much better than powders or sprays. Additionally, a new generation of prescription flea control medications have become available. Comfortis® is a monthly tablet that kills every flea that bites your cat or dog for a full 4 weeks. I use this product in my animals because I sleep with them and I don’t like insecticide on by pets or in my bed. Regardless of the product you choose, your pets will be happier, healthier, and more comfortable if you provide them with the gift of effective flea control.

How about a big smile and a longer, healthier life? Many (if not most) animals over 6 years of age have tartar on their teeth. In the early stages this dental calculus is unsightly and causes bad breath, but as time passes the material works its way under the gum causing gingivitis, periodontal disease, and tooth loss. Here’s the secret: have your pet’s teeth cleaned when they are dirty but BEFORE the health of the teeth is compromised. We call this a “No-Drama” dental: After a routine cleaning and polishing, the animal goes home in a couple of hours! The procedure is fast, safe, and cheap (compared to all those “high drama” dental procedures you’ve heard about). There are no extractions or costly periodontal work or prolonged anesthetics required, no antibiotics or pain medications or special diets to give afterwards, just happy comfortable pets and owners who save themselves a bundle of cash. I’m sure every veterinarian in the world agrees with me on this: Preventive dentistry is best for the animal’s comfort and health, and provides the pet owner with truly superior value. Skip the drama and the big bill! No-Drama dentistry is the only way to go!

Happy Holidays everyone!

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