Editor’s Note: Chanukah is almost here! We asked pet expert Julia Szabo, a.k.a. Pet Reporter, for some grrreat gift suggestions for the furry members of our community. Check out Julia’s new memoir Medicine Dog – Kirkus calls it “a gutsy, consciousness-raising book” – and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @PetReporter1. Got a list you’d like to share? Contact us!
1. Fun With Food – Does your dog or cat wolf down meals? Slow speed eaters by turning suppertime into an interactive game. Catch by Northmate is a pretty purple feeder made of phthalate-free plastic and designed to stimulate felines’ natural instinct to grab food with their paws. It’s the kitty counterpart to the fabulous Green by Northmate, a designer dog feeder that has the added benefit of preventing gastric torsion, i.e. bloat, which can be fatal to dogs. Simply scatter kibble – or schmear wet food – in between the feeder’s tall blades, then prepare for Instagram-worthy photo opps, as Spot and Fluffy retrieve meals morsel by morsel.
2. Bedtime for Bonzo – Give your furry friend a cozy nest to sleep on that won’t be an eyesore in your home. The Classic Stripe Rectangle dog bed by Harry Barker looks super-stylish and has an eco-friendly twist: it’s made of hemp fiber, which smells lovely and is naturally mildew resistant. Available in three sizes and five colors, using non-chemical, earth-friendly dies, the covers are preshrunk and machine washable. Size large is big enough to accommodate three of my big, snuggly pups with room to spare, and I’ve been known to take dog-naps on it too! www.harrybarker.com
3. Ruff Reader – For the literary animal lover on your list, consider Rewilding Our Hearts: Building Pathways of Compassion and Coexistence (New World Library), the newest title from Mark Bekoff, Boulder’s own beast behavior expert, prolific author extraordinaire, and professor emeritus at the University of Colorado, Boulder. This un-put-downable book invites readers to connect with both nature and themselves; it’s available on Amazon.
4. Oil Boom – A daily loving spoonful of oil can offer more than just lip-smacking good taste. Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Pet or Pet Cod Liver Oil provides pets with an antioxidant boost to keep them healthy all winter, while keeping their haircoats glossy and their skin moisturized from within. For senior dogs and cats, fish oil also helps lube creaky joints to improve everyday mobility. Meanwhile, virgin coconut oil has many perks for pets and people, including improved brain and dental health. Brush your dog or cat’s teeth with VCO (Nutiva is a great brand) and you’ll find tooth-cleaning is a cinch – pets drool over the sweet taste!)
5. Spread The Love – Justin’s Nut Butter is a celebration in a jar. Why not share that taste sensation with your best friend? Don’t fill your dog’s Busy Buddy chew toy with just any nut spread – go ahead and give that tough rubber toy a generous schmear of smooth, yummy Classic Peanut or Honey Peanut (skip the chocolate blends, as cocoa is toxic to pets).
6. Doggy Stylin’ – A fetching fashion statement can be equal parts substance and style with Boulder-based Mountain Mutt Dog Coats. These cool canine threads were inspired by a mutt named Mac, who bravely battled osteosarcoma. In Mac’s honor, a portion of profits from sales of these coats are donated to the Flint Animal Cancer Center at Colorado State University. *sale alert! save 25% this month!
7. In the Mail – No e-card can beat the old-school charm of a traditional paper greeting. Card Gnome has a great selection of cards with adorably un-traditional illustrations and messaging, all printed with organic ink on recycled paper. If photos are more your style, check out Minted’s “Peace Love Toy” Happy Hanukkah option. Meanwhile, Etsy offers humorous, handmade cards by Sullybrate, notably the Happy Hanukkah one that features a bulldog wearing a hat and payess!
8. Home For The Holidays – Please don’t forget the wonderful pets and people at the Humane Society of Boulder Valley. Follow @HumaneBoulder on Twitter, and donate whatever you can, whether it’s money or supplies (animal shelters everywhere are always grateful to receive towels, blankets, cleaning supplies, and other necessities). If there’s room at your inn, please consider adopting a Hanukkah Hound or Hanu-Kat – giving a pet a fur-ever home is the gift that keeps on giving.