Give your furry family members something to unwrap

Jackson, who is owned by Amy Risko of Two Pups Pastries, checks out some of Risko’s best-selling products (Photo by Jason Plotkin).

The holidays are quickly approaching, and shopping for gifts has become the No. 1 priority. There are children, spouses, parents, brothers, sisters, extended family, school teachers, the mailman … the list never ends.

What about those furry (or scaly or slimy) friends in your life, the ones that might need a daily walk and a dish of food but are there to snuggle in times of need?

Don’t forget to get gifts for the pets in your life.

Merrianne Ruhl, co-owner of PJ’s Pet Shop in the Manheim Shopping Center, said the newest and most popular pet gifts are unstuffed toys. She said these work for animals who usually tear through their playthings because the aftermath won’t leave the carpet covered in stuffing.

Ruhl said the toys are dressed up for the holidays, with Santa Clauses and penguins in scarves and hats.

Another recent holiday favorite is anything with Christmas tartan, Ruhl said. Many of the favorite toys are dressed up for the holidays, with red and green tennis balls and rawhide munchies, just to name a few.

“Anything red and green goes,” Ruhl said.

Don’t forget about the stocking stuffers or the cute Christmas outfits.

Both of these are popular among pet owners, Ruhl said. And there are many options for all types of pets, not just dogs.

“There is something for everybody,” she said.

If you want to treat them like family, make sure to feed them right, said Lana Brenneman, owner of PuppyTails Boutique and Spa in the Olde Tollgate Village on South Queen Street in York.

Brenneman said treats are in high demand, and if she had to choose, she would pick treats over toys.

“With toys, you don’t know if they will play with it,” she said. “And if you buy a nutritional treat they will enjoy it.”

Brenneman said there are quite a few local businesses that offer artificial-free treats, including items from Two Pups Pastries from Lancaster.

Amy Risko, owner of Two Pups Pastries creates a variety of treats for pets in her kitchen, including decorated biscuits, doggie birthday cakes and pupcakes, and sells them at many local pet shops including her stand in Central Market, on Philadelphia Street in downtown York.

Risko recommends giving pets a selection of treats in a gift basket or stocking. That way they will last through the holidays, she said.

Pet gifts are important, she said, because “for me and many of my customers, (they) aren’t considered pets. They are family. Just like a child, you like to see them get excited, too.”

Brenneman also suggested other area treats, such as Frozen Woofys from northern York County and K-9 Kraving cookies from Baltimore.

Brenneman’s best-selling treat is Sam’s Yams, which are dehydrated sweet potato rawhides. She said they are good for chewing and clean your pet’s teeth naturally.

She said another popular holiday gift is clothing, especially winter wear. With last year’s unseasonably warm -winter, many pet owners skipped the sweaters and boots for Fido. But depending on the forecast, those items might make it back onto holiday shopping lists this year.

Smart tip

Don’t forget to wrap the gifts, which seems to be a favorite part of the process for pets, Ruhl said. Just make sure it is soft tissue paper for easy access.

Bethany Fehlinger

Bethany Fehlinger is a journalist in the Design Center at the York Daily Record. She is a graduate of Penn State University and has been a vegetarian and geek for more than six years. Twitter: @Wonder_veggie

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