NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

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December 13, 2013

Paw Prints: Merry gifts for furry friends

’Tis the season for shopping and sharing. Fido and Fluffy give you their unconditional love all year and want to be remembered this holiday season, too.

Here’s a list of gift ideas for your four-legged friends.

1. New bed. A fresh bed is so comfortable. Everyone’s mattress gets flattened and less soft with time; Fido’s and Fluffy’s is no different. If your pet is older, consider an orthopedic pet bed. These provide extra support and cushioning for achy joints.

2. Fresh water daily. This is so simple that it may sound like a silly gift idea. But pets really do appreciate fresh water. Fido and Fluffy cannot help themselves to tap water, so they rely on you to provide their favorite beverage every day. Ample fresh water is especially important for pets with underlying kidney disease, as they are more prone to dehydration if they do not drink a lot.

3. Quality food. Our pets want tasty, nutritious food, and they rely on you to make good choices for them. We all try to feed our pets well. However, the myriad of available pet foods can be mind-boggling. How do you pick a good one? Here are a few tips: Choose a brand that has its own manufacturing plant and doesn’t contract this ever-so-important step to a generic company. Make sure the company has board-certified veterinary nutritionists on staff. These specialists are veterinarians with substantial training in pet nutrition, and also who have successfully passed rigorous exams in this field. These veterinary nutritionists oversee the pet food recipes and manufacturing process to ensure the food is nutritious for your pet. Also, the food bag should state that it has passed AAFCO feeding trials. Otherwise, your Fido and Fluffy are the guinea pigs in the event there is a problem with the food.

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