10 Low-Cost Gift Ideas for Dogs and Cats
Family pets may not understand the meaning behind the holiday season, but they still love getting presents. Whether pet parents are looking for stocking stuffers or something more substantial, they can easily stay on budget when gift shopping for furry friends. Creative and crafty types can even make their own presents. Here are 10 budget-friendly Christmas gift ideas for dogs and cats.
Cheapism.com has rounded up some of the best cheap dog chew toys. The choices range from edible chews such as Wholesome Hide rolls (starting at $3) to non-edible toys such as the Planet Dog Orbee-Tuff Recycle Bone ($12 on Amazon). Though non-edible chew toys last longer, make sure the toy is not so hard that it will harm the dog's teeth. A simple test is to see if it can be dented by a fingernail; if not, the toy may be too hard.
Silly-looking sweaters seem to be a standard holiday present for many people, so much so that stores now sell intentionally ugly sweaters during the holidays. Owners need not go that route, though it is an option for their pets ($15 on Amazon). A small or short-haired dog may appreciate a sweater or coat during winter walks.
When the family gathers together to enjoy a homemade meal, the family pet should be able to do the same. Making dog and cat treats can be easy, and knowing exactly what ingredients go into them is an added bonus. One recipe for cats from PetPlace involves mixing shredded chicken with chicken broth, butter, flour, and cornmeal. Bake the resulting dough to make firm biscuits. Dog owners can simply combine flour with pureed baby food and bake the mixture according to a recipe posted on Curbly.
For those looking for something a little dressier for their pets than the standard fur coat, the cat or dog bow tie is always in vogue. Available from local shops, pet store chains, and handmade-goods marketplaces such as Etsy, attractive bow ties cost $5 and up. A $7 option from PetSmart features festive red sequins.
Cats enjoy all sorts of simple pleasures, whether it's the dancing beam of a laser pointer or a bit of yarn. One best-selling toy is the Cat Charmer from Cat Dancer Products ($3.50 on Amazon), but it's easy to make a similar toy. Other homemade cat toys, such as a stuffed mouse, can be surprisingly simple to put together.
Complex cat furniture, such as a multi-tier cat tree or a suspended cat trapeze, is not especially budget-friendly or easy to make. However, there are plenty of low-cost alternatives. Consider installing a wall-mounted shelf with a scratching pad on it. Square Cat Habitat sells these for $75 to $105, but a DIY project can yield a similar result for about half the cost -- just make sure the shelf can support the cat's weight. Also, the cardboard boxes that stack up around the holidays make one of the cheapest, easiest cat gifts of all. Leave out one or two for playtime and napping.
Beds and blankets wear out over time, and the holidays provide a good excuse for an upgrade. Beds can be a significant expense, especially for larger dogs (this one from Costco sells for $40), but can last for years. Pets may need time to get used to a new bed, but owners can place a worn shirt or sweater on the bed for the first few days to give it a familiar, comforting scent. Older dogs with joint problems may enjoy a memory foam bed, which can ease aches and pains.