Even if our pets don’t know the true meaning of the holidays, they do enjoy the attention and special presents that owners give them. Pet owners and those looking to give gifts to pets or owners could consider actual physical gifts, gifts that benefit other animals, or a gift that might benefit the pet in the future.Remember, when giving gifts to your pet to consider his or her personality. If your dog tends to shred his toys than a stuffed animal with a squeaky center is probably not a good idea. The last thing you want is to have a Christmas present become an ingested foreign body that leads to an emergency visit to the nearest veterinary hospital.

That said there are lots of great options on the market these days, and whether you plan a trip to your local pet super store or want to stay home and shop on-line we have some suggestions to get you started.

Consider the “Croc” shaped shoe bed at http://www.sasquatchpetbeds.com/ or the beds made from recycled material at http://www.mollymutt.com/, either option gives your friend a new and comfortable place to stay. It may take some time for “Lucky” to get accustomed to his new bed. Placing one of his familiar blankets in the bed may help his acceptance of his luxurious new accommodations.

Toys are important to help keep your pet occupied and out of trouble. A variety of laser pointers are available at most major pet retailers, including the new FroliCat BOLT Automatic Laser toy. Dogs love any number of toys and this year you can choose from tough durable Kong® toys and the new GoughNuts. PetSmart has their soft plush Luv-A-Pet toys and 10% of sales go to help homeless pets. Remember when choosing a toy for your pet to ensure that the toy is durable without any removable pieces that could be swallowed. The first introduction to a new toy should be at a time when you can spend time with your pet to make sure they “play responsibly”.

Or maybe you just want your pet to have a new outfit for the holidays. At http://www.poochieheaven.com/, you can find everything from Santa hats to elf outfits and gingerbread tees!

Overall, beyond the fun toys or fancy clothes for your pets, we recommend that you consider some less common, but definitely helpful gifts.

Millions of pets wander off each year, unable to find their way back home. A microchip, along with proper registration can insure your pet’s safe return in case he becomes lost. Ask your family veterinarian for more information.

Being prepared for any emergency may not be a flashy gift, but it could save your pet’s life. Consider pet insurance or even a Pet Health Savings plans as one way to help protect your pet from serious illness or injury. A variety of insurance plans are available at http://www.purinacare.com/ or http://www.petsbest.com/ and you can even set up an interest bearing, insured savings account for your pet by visiting http://www.pawsitivesavings.com/.

There are lots of families who need some assistance with their pet’s medical bills. Here at the VRCC Specialty & Emergency Hospital we raise funds for the Animal Care Foundation, a non-profit organization providing one-time, partial financial assistance for emergency or specialty veterinary care from VRCC to low income Colorado residents. You can donate here.

Remember your local pet shelters this holiday season. In the Denver area the Dumb Friends League or Maxfund could always use a donation to care for the animals for which they provide shelter and love. Can’t add one more pet to your house? Consider being a Pet Pal for a Maxfund animal.

And, as Dr. Arnold Goldman from Connecticut writes, “the gift of time matters to them the most.” Make it a point to spend a little more time with your pets each day.

Our pets give us so much and ask so little in return. Ask your family veterinarian about ideas to help keep your four legged friend healthy and happy.

Happy shopping!