This week on Ireland AM, we had a special pet gift guide episode, with a range of fun and functional items. To watch the video, click on the link at the foot of this page.
1) Chuckit ball thrower €15.99
It’s difficult to throw a ball for any distance by hand, so a ball launcher is an essential tool. You can throw a ball for 50 meters or more, easily. The Chuckit range are hard wearing, brightly coloured, tough balls, and a wide range is available. You can choose ones with built in whistles, ones that float, and you can choose different colours and shapes. They are made of tough plastic that has a bit of give to it, so dogs don’t damage their teeth, nor do they damage the balls if they try to chew them.
- Zoofari ball (€4.99 from Lidl) which is illuminated- great for those dark mornings or evenings. It charges via USB
- Fitfun ball and chucker €1.99 but dog may chew ball to pieces very quickly
2) Julius K9 Dog harness -€40.00
Julius IDC make a range of dog harnesses that are exceptionally well designed, made of tough, durable material lined with a soft, cushioned inside covering and with thoughtful features like a handle on top to allow you to pick up a dog in case of a crisis (like another dog attacking), reflective and high-visibility strips, and detachable name tags,
Alternatives, from Maxizoo:
- London blue harness – €25.00
- Anione blue harness – €17.99
3) Dogrobe drying coat – €28 available online
After a winter walk, dogs often get wet, and the dog robe is a simple way of drying them off. With a stylish design and a highly absorbant lining, these are comfortable and effective.
- Doggybag €80 available online
- A simple Christmas dog jersey, like a red one that Kiko is wearing for €5.99 from Lidl
4) Dog chews
It’s best to use dental chews that have been proven by clinical research to work effectively at cleaning teeth: look for a sign that mentions that they are “VOHC Approved” (Veterinary Oral Health Council)
- Dentalife chews – €1.90 for 7
- Dentastix €2.50 for 7
Better to use these than cheaper copies that are not backed up by research (will have some but better not to name)
Avoid any chews that are so hard that dogs can break their teeth, such as horns, antlers or bones.
With pet cats spending more time indoors, it’s important to make your home as cat-friendly as possible. The best way of doing this, especially with multi-cat households, is to make the most of vertical space as well as horizontal space, using a cat tree or a cat gymnasium
Different types are available
- The example on the TV set was €59.00 from Lidl
- Online sites sell them from €75 up
- Pet shops like Maxizoo have a full range, including the smaller example on set for €18.99
Microchip cat flap and feeder
The SureFeed Microchip Pet Feeder Connect (available online) has integrated scales, which when used with the Sure Petcare app, owners can weigh their food to within 1 gram of accuracy. Using the Sure Petcare app, owners can set the desired weight and LED lights on the front of the product will light up green when the desired weight has been achieved. The Sure Petcare app will then show owners when the pet last fed, how much and how often (as well as when food was last put into the bowl), ideal for weight management or prescription diets.
This is also linked to the Sure Microchip cat flap that can be set to only let certain microchipped cats come and go, and it is connected to the wifi, so you get notifications on your smart phone of when your cat goes in and out. I have three cats, and I am informed when my phone miaows whenever one of my cats comes or goes.
Toys are an important part of entertaining cats, to keep them fit, and to stop them getting bored (especially indoor only cats)
Indoor cats are prone to stress-related illnesses (like cystitis) and these are less likely to happen if the cat is properly entertained/ occupied
Examples of good toys that were shown on TV today included:
- Feather teaser from Maxizoo – €3.99
- Ball-on-a-string teaser from Maxizoo – €6.99
- Cat box containing bells €39.99
- Cat-It Senses Food Tree from Amazon €20.00