Presents all around…

isaacplay0901x200Dog Toys

Isaac only needs a couple minutes to destroy most anything, if he’s so moved. That carcass next to him in this photo had been a football just moments before. So when we find something he can’t flatten immediately, you’ll be sure to hear about it.

bigtugThis season we’re really excited about Kati’s Bumpers’ Big Tug because it’s made of fire hose… Guess what turns out to be actually close to indestructible? We’ll have video up soon but shopping time is now, so click the picture to order. (If you’re around Frederick, MD, you can get these toys at Central Dawgma on East Patrick).

OrbeeTuffBallWe’re also diggin this ball, the Orbee Tuff Cosmos we got from Planet Dog. Made of recycled rubber. This one has a hole you can plug treats into so your dog can do something on his own for awhile. It’s big enough to keep him safe and make him work. He doesn’t seem to want to chew it because its rubbery texture offers no enticing resistance. It’s got great bounce and flies if you throw or kick it. Oh, and Planet Dog is cool, if you haven’t been there before.

thebrick200But if your dogs really need to be kept busy (Aussie, anyone?) you’ll need to go to Amazon to find Nina Ottosson’s “The Brick” and other great puzzle toys.

Cat Toys

catnipcafelogoThese are times when it makes sense to bring back skills, and teach kids (and ourselves) that we can make the things we need. You could make a holiday project out of a DIY cat tree. The links on the right will connect you with some designs, instructions and ideas.

If your cat is more couch warmer than tree climber, consider fresh catnip toys.

Gifts for Birds and Small Animals

lullaby2200It’s not a good idea to shortchange the bird at gift time, especially if it’s a talker. Still, introduce new toys into the cage slowly. Place them near or on the cage for awhile, if it’s practical; this will help keep the fluttering and squawking to a minimum later. But don’t spend money on bird toys, unless you truly don’t know what else to do with it. Fill a cardboard tube from a paper towel roll with something the bird finds delicious; just plug up the ends with newspaper.

Birds should eat pelleted food and fresh vegetables but some birds can be difficult to convince. And truly fresh bird seed can be hard to come by. Try sprouting the seeds you usually buy in water. If they are too old to grow, it’s time to check your local farm supply or pet boutique for fresher seed.

Rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters and gerbils also appreciate a treat filled cardboard tube. Completely edible toys are ideal for animals who will be playing unsupervised.

People Toys

cdcover207Our favorite people toy this year is so awesome it is our only People Toy recommendation for 2009. You know how novelty records usually aren’t very good? How songs about dogs that your children will also like are usually stupid? There is this one exception: Dog Tracks: Songs by Dogs. There’s a variety of artists and styles, and it’s all well done. The funny songs are actually funny.

As if that weren’t enough, $1 goes to shelters and rescues every time a CD is sold.