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Who’s a Good Boy?

How many times do you say that to your dog? Of course he’s a good boy (or girl)! He’s at the very top of the nice list, no matter how many naughty things he might do, because he loves you so wholeheartedly. What’s a few chewed shoes compared to how overjoyed he is every time you return home? But as clever as he is, learning and performing tricks to please you, he can’t write a Christmas list. It’s up to you to find the gifts that let him share in the season.

Picking a Bone

Chewing is one of the worst habits a dog can develop. The desire to chew is a natural instinct, but if dogs become bored or stressed, the chewing can become destructive. So to save your own new Christmas presents from those dreaded teeth, it makes sense to give your dog a bone. Well, not literally. Ignore what we see in the cartoons. Never give your dog a real bone; they can splinter, choke your dog or pierce his digestive tract. Those chew bones made of one big piece of rawhide are also a choking hazard. Dogs love to chew on plastic water bottles. They find the texture and the noise quite irresistible, but their sharp teeth will soon cut through the plastic, posing a risk of choking.

Not all dog toys are the market are safe. Hollow toys made of thin plastic are not going to last long. In addition to being dangerous, they are a waste of money. While some dogs will carry around a soft cuddly toy without ripping into it, most will go for the kill – and risk a belly full of stuffing. You’ll save money in the long run buying dog toys that will last and that aren’t likely to result in expensive vet bills or tragedy.

The safest options are a hard nylon bone or one made of small compressed pieces of rawhide. Rope bones are also generally safe, and your dog will love playing tug of war with it. But remember to keep an eye on even the safest bone. Eventually with enough wear and tear, it will start to come apart and need to be replaced.

Have a Ball Together

Your dog’s favourite game is whatever you’ll play with her. Solid, hard rubber balls are great fun outside. Tennis balls can also work if you can get them back from your dog before she chews them open. Balls should be large enough that there is no danger of them slipping down your dog’s throat. Frisbees and similar disc toys are also good fun. Some dogs can develop great skill at catching them in mid-air with enough practice. Really, you could wrap up a stick from the garden and your dog would be overjoyed to chase it. Rope bones are great because they can also be thrown for your dog to catch or retrieve as well as used for chewing. Like with bones, beware any ball or toy made of thin plastic.

Practical Gifts

Winter isn’t always very comfortable. Older dogs especially will appreciate gifts that make them more comfortable in the cold weather. Christmas is a good time to replace a worn out dog bed with a nice, well-padded option. Your dog will adjust to a new bed easier if you put a familiar old blanket or towel on it so she understands it is hers. A warm, water-resistant dog coat can make walks more comfortable for your dog. It gets dark so early that a coat with some reflective trim makes walks safer. If you are not above giving a dog a gift that benefits you, a matt to go under her food and water bowls looks good and spares your floors.

Treat Your Friend Right

Dogs love their holiday treats as much as we do. Our treats are downright dangerous for them, but you have some great healthy options to choose. This time of year sees a glut of Christmas-themed dog treats, many dyed festive colours and made with low quality ingredients. But a healthy diet is one of the best and most rewarding gifts we can give our pets, and that includes nutritious treats they genuinely love.

Connolly’s Red Mills makes a range of treats that make perfect stocking stuffers for the dogs on your list this year. Leader Nutri Vigor Skin & Coat Care chicken-flavour treats will help fight the drying effect of winter on your dog’s skin and coat. Nutri Vigor Hip & Joint Care are rich in omega 3 and 6. These tasty salmon treats will be hit with older dogs who might be struggling with arthritis in the cold season. Oral Pro Dental Sticks will be a lot more popular with your dog than brushing his teeth, not that any treat can replace proper dental care. The brown rice and cranberry flavour option is perfect for the festive season! Leader Train Me treats come in salmon and chicken flavours. If your dog suffers real fear of missing out at Christmas, these low calorie treats are a nice way for her to feel she’s getting loads without her overeating.

Your dog loves nothing more than participating in whatever you are doing. This Christmas you have so many healthy ways to include him in the festivities. Why not lavish your favourite good dog with a nice new bed, a couple of safe, sturdy toys and a stocking full of healthy Leader Treats from Connolly’s Red Mills? If your dog could shop, he’d pile up presents under the tree for you!

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