7 Pet Gifts on Your Vet’s Naughty List


alt="Shepherd dog holding a wrapped holiday pet gift in his paws."

Looking for a gift for your best fur-iend? Whether you’re considering gifts for pet lovers and their pets or looking to spoil a four-legged family member, we’ve compiled a list of the best and worst gifts for pets! We don’t want to be a Scrooge, but some gifts might be better than others for your pet’s long-term health––but don’t worry, we included a list of vet-approved pet gifts, too!

7 pet gifts on your vet’s naughty list

Want to shower your furry friend with the good stuff? Take their health and well-being into account by avoiding these not-so-nice gifts!

1. High-calorie treats

Those festive treats you see during the holidays sure are cute, but these pet gifts are nothing more than empty calories and highly-processed ingredients. We glanced at the ingredients in a Santa dog treat–that looked more like a frosted cookie–and found sugar, hydrogenated oil, and wheat gluten. Sugar, oils, and wheat are best for adding unnecessary calories and contributing to obesity in dogs and cats.

2. Treats with artificial dyes

Those festive red and green dog treats at the pet store checkout aren’t doing your pet’s health any favors. FD&C dyes have been linked to behavioral problems, hyperactivity, and allergic reactions in children––just think about how they could affect your pet! 

3. Rawhides

Rawhide might be a familiar dog treat. Still, it comes with a few serious risks. For one, rawhide that’s been chewed on for days (or weeks) can harbor harmful bacteria. Strong chewers who consume it more quickly can break off large pieces that can cause choking or intestinal blockages. 

4. Marrow bones

Tempted to toss your dog a bone after dinner? Marrow bones include the spongey marrow inside, which can cause gastrointestinal upset in some dogs––scrape it out before feeding it to your dog and be sure to give raw bones only. Cooked bones can splinter more easily and get lodged in the throat!

5. Toys with small parts

Toys with strings, ribbons, hard eyeballs, or squeakers should only be given to supervised dogs. If your dog is thorough when chewing on their toys, they might be inclined to chew off and ingest some of these small parts––raising their risk of choking, intestinal blockages, and tooth damage.

6. Tennis balls

People have been giving tennis balls to dogs for decades––where’s the harm when it’s just a ball? The felt nylon ‘fuzz’ material is too abrasive for dogs’ teeth, raising concerns over damaged enamel and exposed tooth pulp. The hollow rubber core of a tennis ball isn’t made to stand up to a dog’s teeth, so they’re easily cracked and punctured, making them an undercover choking hazard for your pet. 

7. Stuffed toys

Does your dog love stuffed toys? If you don’t want to part your sweet pup from their favorite stuffy, just toss and replace it once your dog rips out the stuffing. Synthetic stuffing––or even stuffing made from nut fibers––is tough for your pet to digest. So if Fido reaches Mr. Stuffy’s fluffy center, it might be best to replace him.

Kitty cat peeking out from inside a wrapped holiday pet gift box

8 vet-recommended pet gifts & goodies

Looking to dazzle your pet this holiday season? Not all gifts are created equal, but these are fur-ever winners in our book!

1. Enrichment toys

What is an enrichment toy? They are toys that will engage, challenge, and entertain your pet. Why is that important, you ask? Healthy brain activity and engagement are great for your pet’s overall well-being and can even reduce the risk of obesity and stress. Examples of enrichment pet gifts are treat-hiding toys, cat teaser wands, and activity tunnels.

2. Slow-feeding bowls

Slow-feeding bowls are great for pets who eat too quickly, but that’s not all they can do! Slow-feeding bowls have corrugated, maze-like patterns that separate the food and require your pet to eat more carefully. Paced eating can help reduce bloating, gas, and vomiting when a pet eats too fast. 

Slow-feeding bowls also help animals in multi-pet families stay focused on their food instead of sneaking bites from their neighbors. If your pet becomes aggressive when another pet approaches its food (a behavior known as resource guarding), slow feeders can help. 

Last but not least, these bowls are a great source of mental stimulation for indoor pets and senior animals! 

3. Health supplements

One of the best gifts you can give your pet is the gift of health. Quality supplements–which are no more than a tasty treat to your pet–can be beneficial for any pet.

Does your pet struggle with separation anxiety while you’re at work? Treat them to some tasty calming chews. Does winter make your dog’s skin dry and itchy? Boost their skin and coat health with a salmon and omega chew. Finding the best supplement for your pet can make you feel better about their long-term health and give them something tasty to look forward to daily.

4. New brushes

If you’re looking for gifts for pet owners (who we prefer to call ‘pet parents’), a new pet brush is always a good idea! Brushing a cat or dog’s fur is a great way for pets to bond with their human, and quality brushes can even encourage healthy skin circulation and fur growth. Easy-to-wash silicone brushes for long fur or short fur are the perfect stocking stuffer for a new pet parent looking to connect with their pet! 

5. Bark-worthy bath supplies

How can you make bath time more enjoyable for you and your furry pal? Start with in-bath distractions––suction toys your dog can lick or rub against. After washing, we recommend anourishing dog conditioner that takes their coat from scruffy to fluffy in no time flat. Reward them for their bathtime bravery with a treat or two in the form of a skin and coat supplement that supports softer, healthier fur.

6. Exercise gear

Do you love to hit the trail with your pup, or are you hoping to embody healthier habits in the new year? Invest in a comfortable collar, leash, and harness to get your dog ready for daily walks with you. Let them wear the gear around the house for a few days to ensure the fit is comfortable and easy for them to walk, sniff, and play in once they get outside.

7. Outdoor gear

Getting outside is great––but what if your pup won’t put a paw outside the door when it’s cold? Help your pet get winter-ready with insulated doggie jackets and padded booties designed to keep them warm in inclement weather.

8. New bed

Your pet knows there’s no place like home, and nothing says ‘home’ like a comfy, cozy bed! Regularly replacing your dog’s bed is an incredible gift, especially if your dog is age 7 or older or struggling with joint issues. A plush but firm bed to support achy joints can be a game changer for your pet’s daily comfort, sleep quality and overall health––especially during winter when aches and pains might make sleep more difficult.

Love spoiling your pet? The holidays aren’t the only time to show our pets how much we care and are thankful for their companionship––but if you do, be sure to give them only the best pet gifts possible! 

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Dr. James Bascharon set out on a mission ten years ago to create a pet supplement company unlike any other. After realizing there was no solution for pets with anal gland issues, Dr. Bascharon set out on a research mission to create a supplement specifically for this problem. After years of research, multiple patents, and collaboration with top industry professionals, Glandex® is now a veterinary-renowned solution for pets with anal gland issues. This journey proved that with the correct nutritional supplementation, pets could lead healthier and happier lives. Vetnique Labs® continues with an innovative veterinary mindset and approach to help make a long-lasting impact on the health and well-being of millions of pets.

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