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the worst gifts you can give your pet

  • Dr. Kim
  • Posted by Dr. Kim Smyth on
    Staff Veterinarian and Pet Health Writer of Petplan

Thw rost gifts you can get your pet from Petplan pet insurance.

Your pet has stayed off the “Naughty” list by being (mostly) good all year, so of course you want to treat her with presents this holiday season. When shopping for your pet, keep her personality in mind so that she actually likes her present, and steer clear of gifts that will get you on the “Naughty” list. Nothing ruins the holiday (or the holiday budget) like an unplanned trip to the animal hospital!


Lucky for you, I’ve compiled a list of the top four worst gifts you can give your pet this season.

Don't feed pets goodies meant for humans.

Goodies meant for humans. The holidays are packed with food, from large holiday dinners to cookies, candies and other treats. I know that you would never purposely give these kinds of treats to your dog, but some dogs (who are aiming to get a lump of coal in their stockings) are just too crafty for their own good. Keep chocolates and other candy (especially those containing the sugar substitute xylitol) well out of reach. While you’re at it, keep a tight rein on table scraps, too. Pancreatitis secondary to overindulging is a common problem around the holidays.

Avoid feeding pets chicken jerky treats.

Chicken jerky treats. Whether they’re on their own or wrapped around a tasty rawhide bone, just leave them on the shelf. Chicken jerky treats are notorious for causing life-threatening kidney damage. While treats manufactured in China were originally to blame, illnesses have been reported due to consumption of jerky treats made here in the U.S., too. With hundreds of other treat options out there, you can easily find one that’s delicious and safe.

Make sure pet toys are appropriate for your pet.

Inappropriate toys. I don’t want you to refrain from getting your pet toys. Pets love toys! I just want to make sure you’re getting the right toys for your pet. I have seen countless pets in my office and on my surgery table simply because of their toys, and I want you to avoid this problem.


The problem occurs when pets swallow their toys, either accidentally or on purpose. Once in the gastrointestinal tract, these parts and pieces can wreak havoc, causing obstruction that can eventually lead to death without intervention. This is especially true for cats who ingest string, ribbons or yarn.


Choose your pet toys wisely — if your Lab’s first mission is to decapitate his new stuffed toy to get to the squeaker, don’t even give him the chance. There are plenty of nearly indestructible toys out there for him instead. Choose large toys for large dogs and leave small balls for the little guys.

Never use a retractable leach.

A retractable leash. Don’t get me started on these dangerous leashes. Really. If you don’t know why your vet hates them, check out this blog.


There are so many safe and fun stocking stuffers (and bigger presents!) out there for your pet that you should have no problem finding as many as your pet deserves this holiday. Just buy thoughtfully to avoid unintended trouble that could send you dashing through the snow to the nearest emergency clinic!

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Posted by Kathy Holland
on December 19 2015 00:54

I detest Retractable Leashes! A woman walking a small dog on one was ahead of me as I walked my dog this past summer. The small dog's leash was fully extended and the dog darted out in the street right in front of an oncoming van. I watched horrified as the van swerved, narrowly missing the dog. The owner reeled the dog in but within 20 paces the leash was fully extended again. All I could do was shake my head and wonder why oh why does anyone think those miserable leashes are a good idea?

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