I know you're thinking about holiday gift-giving. Dogs and cats are a great part of that. We not only buy things for them but for our friends' companions as well.
I want to take a minute or two to remind you to be careful when buying toys for your pets or others. There is no regulatory group for pet toys. The industry relies on manufacturers to police themselves. That cute little toy you've been admiring may not be the safest thing for your beloved companion. And the way in which you play must also be considered.
Look for loose parts. If you can loosen it, your dog or cat can, too. And if the pet consumes it, disaster may follow with a swallowed toy, or toy part, getting lodged in your pet's throat or intestinal tract. A visit to the veterinarian or emergency veterinary hospital may ensue. And so might an expensive surgery to remove said object.
Dog toys with squeakers can be a real problem if the squeaker isn't secure. Remove the squeaker before the dog or puppies does precisely that and swallows it. Any little piece glued on can be easily removed. Chew toys made like twisted rags can shred and the yarn can be swallowed. They can also get very dirty. They're not a great idea unless they can be used to grab a loose tooth. Supervise all play with this type of toy.
Be careful of feathers on cat toys. They will usually come off and can be swallowed. Mylar cat teasers can cause the equivilent of a paper cut on the cat's mouth if it is caught by the cat at a certain angle. Why take a chance?
Interactive cat toys must be put away between play sessions. Cats can easily get tangled up in the wire or cord or string. Make play sessions with these toys special times for interaction each day instead.
Laser toys shouldn't be on your list. Having had laser surgery on my eye, I can tell you how powerful a laser can be and a rapidly moving dog or cat can easily find the light in their eye while the well-meaning owner is trying to keep up with movement. Opt for another toy instead. You can always use a flashlight if you want to play with a light. But be certain that the game starts with the light coming from a specific place and is "returned" to that specific place when the game ends so your dog or cat doesn't go crazy looking for the light!
If you're buying your cat a new cat tree or scratching post, be certain that it has a solid base and can't be tipped over. Also your cat should be able to stretch out full-length against it.
Dog toys that can be stuffed should have an opening at the other end so it doesn't create a vacuum, allowing the dog's tongue to be caught inside.
Inspect everything! Don't buy anything that looks "iffy." Since there is no overseeing body to ensure safety it's up to you to inspect all toys as you would for a small child.
And remember to stay in the room the first time you give a new toy to your pet. You want to be there in case something goes wrong. If there's a problem, you want to be there, on the spot to intervene. Your pets are depending on you!
Have a wonderful, safe holiday!