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Gifts for your pet can be a treat for you, too

By Linda Lombardi
Associated Press / November 27, 2008
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Some think it's a little crazy to give gifts to pets. But pet owners know that secretly, they're also gifts to ourselves. Here are some suggestions for you and your furry friends this holiday season.

Give yourself less hair on the furniture.

If you've ever used aluminum foil to keep cats off the countertop, you'll recognize the idea behind the new Petzoff blanket, designed to keep pets off the furniture (www.petzoff.com, $59.99 and $79.99): It's a throw blanket that's foil on one side. The fabric side looks nice when you're in the room, but spread it out foil side up when you're not using the couch and pets won't use it either.

Give yourself a laugh. The new battery powered Fling-ama-String cat toy ($24.95, www.moodypet.com) hangs on a doorknob and pulls a string around on a sort of conveyor belt so that it disappears into the toy, then flops back out again and again. It's absurdly simple but cats react in a way that's entertaining for both of you. And for dogs, Moody Pet's Humunga Tongue ($12) is a ball with a long tongue sticking out - when a dog is carrying it around, the effect is hilarious.

Keep the chewing and scratching where it belongs. For dogs, a great natural chew treat is Sam's Yams "veggie rawhide." Made of dried American grown sweet potato - nothing else - it comes in two sizes of ripple-textured slices as well as the Bichon Fries sticks (starting at $4.99 for 5 oz., www.front porchpets.com).

Your cat can't have too many of those refillable corrugated cardboard scratching pads, available at pet stores and online pet suppliers for around $5.

Share a treat. Bubba Rose Biscuits (starting at $8.25, www.bubbarosebiscuit co.com), in flavors like "Roast Beef & Swiss" and "I Smell Bacon," are made with ingredients that sound like the contents of a human pantry - organic oat and brown rice flour, cheddar cheese, organic eggs. For dogs with allergy problems, note that they're wheat, corn, and soy free.

Feel good by helping others. Call your local shelter and see what donations they are looking for, or send them an online gift certificate at Petfinder.com (www.petfinder.com/awo/ e-gift.cgi).

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