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Christmas gifting for your dog- an eco-friendly option

by Helen Anslow BSc (Hons)

You’re making a list and checking it twice… and then suddenly realise that your dog isn’t included and so you add the dog on… or maybe they were first on the list! Why is it that we feel the need to include the dog on Santa’s list? It’s just another day to a dog and yet most dogs in the UK receive a special treat, a new toy and some even join in with the family Christmas dinner (lucky dogs!)

They’re not just a pet, they’re a companion… a family member

The human animal bond couldn’t be more important at this time of year. With an estimated 3.6 million older people living alone, pets can often be the only source comfort and company. According to the Cinnamon Trusts website ‘They are constant companions – on hand 24 hours a day, every day, comforting, loving and protecting their owners – not only from outside threats, but also offering the more subtle form of protection from loneliness and despair’. We want to do something special for them too and treat them like the important family members that they are and giving a gift is the way that many people choose to show their gratitude.

An expensive time for Santa Paws

Christmas is big business in the pet industry. In the UK, pet accessories are estimated to be worth a whopping £900 million by 2021-2022. My guess is that much of this will be purchases made around the festive season! With 51% of British pet owners cutting back on personal spending so that their dogs don’t miss out (according to a recent Mintel report) it is clear that people feel that their pets are well and truly as important as any other family member.

Don’t break the bank this Christmas

Budgets can be tight at Christmas and a pet will appreciate anything that is offered from your own hands (or is wrapped up with a treat that they enjoy!) It doesn’t have to cost the earth to provide your dog with fun and interesting toys this Christmas though and with that and the environment in mind, it can be a lovely idea to make your own presents and use up some of the things that are already hanging around. There are some great ideas on Pinterest to get you started on making your own.

How about creating a simple toy using an empty bottle and a sock? Simply place the bottle inside the sock and knot the top. This idea will keep the dog amused for a while as they chew and crunch the bottle. If the sock is long enough this toy even makes a great toy for tug of war.

Tuggies are always a firm favourite and can be easily made from old t-shirts. It only takes a few steps to create a toy that will give your pet endless fun. First, grab a couple of old t-shirts and cut them into strips. Lay the strips down in a pile with all of the strands facing the same direction and tie a knot at the top. Now just start to braid the strips until you reach the end where one final knot completes your tuggie.

We all know one word that dogs love… walkies! If you are feeling very creative, you could try and turn your hand to something that makes getting ready to get out and about a little bit easier. Just attach a jar and a hook to a piece of wood and add a little bit of artistic flair to make a treat a lead holder. There will be no more searching for the lead and with treats at hand it will be much easier to get that lead on with little to no fuss.

Remember, handmade will be just as loved as spending a fortune on toys and gadgets in the shop.

In conclusion- should your dog get a present?

Is the dog a valued family member? – Yes. Will it appreciate a present? – Maybe. Does it understand the concept of Christmas and why it is getting a present? Definitely not. However, given all of that, will I be getting my dogs a present? – Absolutely! (but maybe I’ll try a homemade gift this year)




by Helen Anslow BSc (Hons)