Phil Boerner: 916-649-0599 (California Veterinary Medical Association)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Veterinarians Offer 2006-2007 Holiday Pet Gift-Giving Advice
Sacramento, CA – With the holiday shopping season well underway, it is estimated that American pet owners will spend millions of dollars on toys, treats and other pet decorations to put under the tree for their favorite animals. Americans love to splurge, and the California Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) predicts this yuletide season will be no exception when it comes to people shopping and buying for their pets.
According to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, U.S. pet industry expenditures are projected to be upwards of $38 billion for 2006, and big-name companies are hoping to cash in this holiday season by selling pet pillows, plush doggie robes, doggie helmets, scented gels, shampoos and more.
A few of the more extravagant items on high-end pet shoppers’ lists include:
- Pet cell phones priced at $300 (in addition to a $15 monthly calling plan) for owners to stay in touch with lonely dogs and cats left at home.
- Faux mink coats for warmth and relaxation.
- Rhinestone tiaras for charmed cats.
- High-tech reptile terrarium lighting systems.
- Cleaning cloths for muddy paws.
However, the CVMA urges consumers to use caution in snatching up products that look enticing but may be harmful or useless in pet households. The same advice applies to food, another gift people often give their pets.
“While treats such as candy, chocolate or even gravy may look appetizing, consumers should keep in mind that these may be dangerous for their pets. Additionally, some pets may have health conditions or food allergies that warrant special consideration,” states CVMA President Ron Faoro, DVM. “It is essential that consumers read product labels and check with their veterinarians before purchasing pet products and holiday treats.”
The CVMA advises pet owners and gift givers to use common sense when shopping for pet gift items:
- Know that colors don’t matter to pets but the colors added to treats and chews, in addition to not being healthful, may stain bedding and carpet when mixed with pet saliva.
- Watch for flimsy construction and dangerous materials contained in thin rubber squeak toys that may be harmful to pets when consumed.
- Stay away from toys that resemble common household items like shoes or stuffed animals, which could lead to destructive chewing and other bad habits.
- Know that Mylar and other ribbon consumed by cats can bunch up in the intestines and prove potentially fatal.
- Carefully read pet food labels and consult your veterinarian if your pet has any food allergies.
The CVMA recommends that shoppers stick to standard pet fare to keep animals healthy, exercised and, above all, secure and warm this winter season. Some advisable pet preferences on the CVMA gift list might include:
- Comfortable beds, particularly for older pets and pets with medical conditions, such as arthritis, for overall good health.
- Cat scratching toys to keep felines entertained.
- A gift certificate for a friend or loved one who has a pet.
- Collars and leashes.
- Microchips, available at your veterinarian’s office, make pet identification easy and can help reunite lost animals with their rightful owners.
- Hand-crafted items from the heart, such as sewing a special case for a pet bed, knitting a pet sweater or making special food snacks for your animals, especially for those on restricted diets.
For media interviews with a California veterinarian regarding this issue, please contact Phil Boerner at the CVMA: 916-649-0599. To access past CVMA press releases, visit the CVMA Media Center in the News Room at www.cvma.net.
The California Veterinary Medical Association is the largest state veterinary medical association in the United States, with more than 5,600 members. Founded in 1888, its mission is to serve its membership and community through innovative leadership and to improve animal and human health in an ethically and socially responsible manner.