Dec. 19, 2019
When you’re shopping for holiday gifts, don’t forget the little pals who enrich our lives so much - our animal friends. Choose gifts that will make them happy but also help our planet at the same time.
Support these local and national merchants with goodies that you’ll find around DFW and online.
Before heading out, check current availability. Any pricing listed is subject to change and is at the discretion of the individual merchants.
If squirrels seem to eat more of your birdseed than the birds do, try Cole’s Blazing Hot Blend, a 100 percent all natural, chemical free way to discourage squirrels and increase the number of birds visiting your feeder. This colorful seed mixture combines a patented habanero chili oil with the most preferred seeds of backyard songbirds such as black oil sunflower and millet. Woodpeckers, grosbeaks, buntings, cardinals, chickadees, bluebirds, goldfinches and more find this mix irresistible but the squirrels find it too hot to handle! $13.99 for 5 lbs. Watch a short video about it. Be sure to provide the squirrels with their own goodies too. Cole's Squirrel & Critter Munchies is a blend of corn, peanuts and other treats. $15.99 for 10 lbs at Rooster Home & Hardware, 10233 East Northwest Hwy. Suite 409, Dallas 75238. 214-343-1971.
IN A NUTSHELL
Small, neighborhood pet shops are fewer and farther in between but there are still some good ones here in the Metroplex. One such is The Pet Village in Duncanville. This locally-owned store offers grooming services, pet products, fish supplies, small pets (mice and hamsters) and both fresh and saltwater fish. We were greeted promptly upon entering and pleased to find several eco-friendly pet foods as well as other green products on their shelves. One that would make a fun gift for your pet bird is the Coconut Birdhouse ($9.99) made from a real coconut shell. Perfect for finches and other little friends, it could even be hung outdoors for wild birds to use. Pet Village also offers several avian toys made from coconut shells and rope to help discourage feather plucking for around $15. Pet Village, 200 N Main St., Duncanville, 75116. 972-709-7387.
This handy grow bag allows you to sprout your own USDA-certified organic wheat grass for kitty or other pets. Includes GMO-free Pet Grass seeds and custom soil in a ready-to-grow bag. Just tear off the top, add water and in about a week, you’ll have an all-natural, nutrient-rich treat for your pet! Natural grasses benefit your pet’s health by aiding in digestion for all animals, helping to control hairballs for cats and providing calcium for reptiles. Birds also love to juice and prune the blades. Naturally packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients from the sun’s energy. Rich in fiber and gluten free to support digestion. Made in the USA. $4.98 at Pet Supplies Plus stores around town. Botanical Interests also sells an organic cat grass mix that can be found at some local garden centers and Central Market locations.
Give your kitty the ultimate in luxury with this gorgeous cat tower, in neutral color tones to blend with most decor, with all natural paper sisal rope. Your feline will jump, play and rest in either the round, padded bed or the tower perch. Scratching post is wrapped with long lasting sisal - a natural material recognized for its beauty and endurance. Soft fleece protects paws when landing. Perfect for felines up to 25 lbs or for multiple cat households. Blends well with any type of home decor. The tower also comes with a teasing toy, everything you and your cat need so they can relax and play! $79.99 at Petsmart online or around town.
These Heathered Cotton Kitty Container Cat Beds are fashioned from 100 percent untreated cotton, with a simple, open design that makes them perfect for any cat to use (large or small). The floppy structure is perfect for molding to your cat’s shape as they loaf around in comfort. The sides can be folded down and flattened by your cat as they wish. Available at the Cat Connection in Dallas. $19.99
What a great idea! Blue Avocado, known for their eco-friendly shopping and storage bags, offers this handy Reusable Pet Food Storage Bag ($14.99) at the Container Store that makes it easy to take your pet's favorite food or snacks to the doggie daycare, groomer's, pet motel or Grandma’s house during the holidays or anytime. This roomy handled bag holds up to 14 cups of food and treats to help keep them fresh. There's even a space to write your dog's name or feeding instructions on the outside of the bag with a marker or chalk pen. Hand-washable FDA food-grade, durable plastic that is PVC-free, lead-free & BPA-free. At Container Store locations around the Metroplex.
We told you about amazing Bass brushes and combs for people in our Men’s Gift Guide this year, but did you know that Bass also makes pet brushes? The Bass Hybrid Pet Groomer is a soft wire brush made with flexible metal pins and natural inner bristles that gently yet thoroughly detangle, remove mats and shedded hair, plus massage your pet’s skin and coat. Especially useful for medium to long-haired dogs but gentle enough for all pets, even cats. Handle is made from bamboo which is one of the most sustainable woods on the planet. Choose from several other sizes and styles. Bass Hybrid Groomer - $20.95. Available at Hollywood Feed locations in Dallas and Fort Worth.
Another favorite from Hollywood Feed are Whimzees dog treats. If you missed these last year, they are worth a repeat. Dogs go crazy for Whimzees and you’ll love the fun shapes of these long-lasting vegan treats made from delicious vegetable fiber that helps to clean Fido’s teeth as they chew. The alligator, hedgehog, stix and brushzees shapes get between teeth to loosen tartar while they freshen breath. Whimzees are grain-free, gluten-free and GMO-free. Low-fat formula with added vitamins, antioxidants and fiber to promote regularity and aid in digestive health. Made sustainably in Holland. Large, 56-piece tub of small Whimzees is $32.99 at HollywoodFeed stores across north Texas. Other sizes also available.
FURRY FIRST AID
If your pet likes to hit the trail with you, be sure to pack some provisions in case he or she gets hurt. The Adventure Medical Kits Trail Dog Medical Kit is loaded with everything that you need to treat minor injuries such as thorns, scraped paws, parasites and more. Includes an assortment of dressings, bandages, and tools like the splinter picker/tick removers, alcohol swabs and hydrogen peroxide in a tough, water-resistant canvas bag. Comes complete with a Pet First Aid Manual with tips for handling emergencies. Around $25 at Whole Earth Provision Co. and REI stores.
Our esteemed editor Julie Thibodeaux swears that her cats go crazy for Hot Cats, a simple fabric tube filled with catnip. I was skeptical until I watched some of the videos on the company’s website! Obviously, this is like crack for kitties and I sure wouldn’t want to get my fingers in the way of these excited felines. They are also “green” as the maker states on their website: “For three decades at Full Circle Herb, we’ve been purrsnickety about our products’ quality, materials and packaging. Our catnip has always been number one top grade catnip herb, Certified organically grown by Washington state, and our packaging is eco-friendly biodegradable cellophane.” MEOW WOW! Starting under $7 each at Cat Connection, 14233 Inwood Rd., DALLAS, 75244. 972-386-MEOW. If they’re out of stock, you can order online at FullCircleHerb.com.
If you’re tired of finding your pet’s hair in your teacup, on your toothbrush and everywhere else that you don’t want it, chances are it’s because that fur was on you! Every time that you hold your furball, he deposits his hair onto your shirt. Every time you sit on the couch, his hairs end up on your backside. Then when you wash your clothes, that same fur ends up all over everything, which sometimes means that you have to rewash those same clothes to remove all of the fur. Now there’s a solution. FurZapper is a soft rubbery disc with a cute pawprint cutout that is designed to lessen fur, lint and even microfibers in your laundry. To use FurZapper, you simply toss it in your washing machine with a load of clothes, then move it to the dryer along with the same load. It’s amazing and it really works. The purrfect gift for every pet owner! Saves lint roller sheets too which just end up in the landfill. Around $14.99 for a pair at Walmart and Chewy.com.
FOR THE BIRDS
Winter is the perfect time to add a bird feeder to your loved one’s yard. Modern Rustic birdhouses and feeders look like wood but they’re really made from EcoTough recycled plastic material with a stylish yet super tough finish. Prevents tons of plastic from making its way into our landfills. Won't rot, crack, fade or warp like wood can. Limited lifetime guarantee. Starting at $59.99 at Wild Birds Unlimited, 5715 West Lovers Ln, Dallas 75209. 214-891-9793.
Another gorgeous birdhouse collection is this grouping handcrafted from recycled wood and metal. Nature’s Creations staffers scour old barns and homes in southern Illinois, some being up to 100 years old, and use the wood, tin roofing and other one-of-a-kind finds for their creations. Each birdhouse is an individual piece of folk art and no two are exactly alike. Marshall Grain in Fort Worth stocks several different varieties such as the School House: $48.99, the White House: $48.99, and the Blue House w/Moss: $54.99. Stop by to see the full selection as well as their many other unique and handmade gift ideas. Marshall Grain, 3525 William D. Tate Ave., Grapevine, 76051. 817-416-6600.
FEATHER A NEST
Consider a donation in your gift recipient’s name to a non-profit that supports wildlife. One that is worthy is Roger’s Wildlife Rehabitation Center in Hutchins, just south of DFW. For many years, Kathy Rogers was that neighborhood gal who ended up with everyone else’s rejected parrots, found birds and other wildlife while still working full time and paying for the animals’ care out of her own pocket. Eventually, she established a non-profit that now occupies 20 acres of wetland near the Trinity River. Over the last decade, Roger’s Wildlife has provided medical treatment and care for more than 40,000 birds!!! I have personally taken many foundlings to Kathy and she treats each one as though it was the first. The lady is an angel on earth. If you ever have a chance to visit, be sure to see the dozen or so Great Blue Herons that roam the place. They have been free to leave for many years but prefer to stay near Kathy and her volunteers who raised them. Another longtime resident is Riley, the Emu, who loves to give Kathy a hug each day. Kathy hatched him from a donated egg back in 1994 and he lives the life of, well, Riley at Roger’s. They can always use funds, product donations (birdseed, dog/cat food and birdhouses) so please give generously.
Another worthwhile group is the American Bird Conservancy, which gets a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, a watchdog that rates larger non-profits. ABC works tirelessly to help with wild bird conservation, making wind power more safe, helping to advocate for pesticide reduction, and so much more. Donate $40 or more and your gift recipient will receive a one-year subscription to Bird Conservation, ABC's magazine. ABCBirds.org.
Your flock will go haywire for Chicken Crack ($16.99) an incredible treat with its signature mix of certified organic grains, cracked corn, sunflower seeds, mealworms and river shrimp. I have personally fed this to my hens and they nearly bit my fingers off! Made by California-based Treats for Chickens, a certified organic maker of poultry treats, vitamins, and herbal bedding, the incredible blend of bug proteins, seeds and grains provides glossy plumage and improves digestion. Each bag contains an assortment of morsel sizes for chicks and pullets, as well as larger snacks for older, more mature birds. The natural, healthy ingredients are safe for handling, so reach in, scoop out a handful and sprinkle it on the ground to encourage natural foraging. Made in the USA and contains no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. Find this and many other treats for your backyard poultry starting at around $10 at Trinity Haymarket, 1715 Market Center Blvd, Dallas 75207.
Dallas resident, Terry Harkins, has been a chemist for nearly 20 years, formulating eco-friendly shampoos, conditioners and other body care products for people. One day he realized that pets would benefit from the same high-quality products, but there were very few on the market. So he created Natural Buddy shampoos, spritzes and oral care that are blends of plant-derived ingredients and organic essential botanical oils. The products contain no soaps, sulfates, parabens, silicone, phosphates, synthetic dyes or perfumes. All Natural Buddy products are non-toxic, biodegradable, cruelty free and made in the USA. A few of our favorites are the Replenishing Shampoo ($13) with aloe vera, oat amino acids and olive oil and the Calm Moisturizing Spritz ($10) with lavender essential oil that is great aromatherapy for soothing anxious pets (like my rescue Jack Russel, Milo). Available at White Rock Soap Gallery in McKinney, Lake Highlands and Bishop Arts in Oak Cliff. 469-215-5125. Also at Rooster Home & Hardware, 10233 East Northwest Hwy. Suite 409, Dallas 75238. 214-343-1971.
If your dog likes to look as earthy as you do on the trail, the yard or the couch, surprise him or her with a new hemp collar ($24 and up) or hemp leash ($23 and up) this holiday season and get a bracelet ($15) for yourself to match. What a great way to declare your love for each other! The company earthdog was started 20 years ago in Brentwood, Tennessee by a couple of latter-day vegan hippies Dave and Kym Colella, when they began making collars for their own pets and things just got out of hand. Still employing local folks around Nashville to make their products in a cottage-industry model, Dave and Kym have seen their business grow to include dealers all across the country. Watch a video about them. The couple’s crew of 16 dogs is woven literally into their collars as each pattern is named for one of them. You will fall in love with Speck, a deaf cattle dog, who has a collar, leash and matching people bracelet named for her. earthdog crafts most of their products from hemp which is a sustainable and tough material that wears like an old pair of sneakers. Machine-washable and hypo-allergenic too! Also check out their Hemp Healing Salve ($13) that’s great for people and pets. 10 percent of all profits go to kody's fund to support spay and neuter programs. Visit earthdog.com to order online or find a dealer near you.
PRIMO PET TOYS
At 51 years of age, Mary Wolff wanted to make a difference but she wasn’t quite sure how to do it. Then one day, she threw a fabric coaster across the room for her dogs to chase and they went crazy! Suddenly, Mary knew that she had found her calling and Honest Pet Products was born. Her company now employs folks with cognitive and developmental disabilities in Green Bay, Wisconsin and they make amazing and sustainable pet playthings. Her hemp dog and cat toys such as the original Eco Fetcher are sewn from heavy-duty fabric and stuffed with organic wool filling. Her wool cat toys, such as the Eco Catty Pillar ($15.99), are handmade from sustainably-raised, free range wool in Mongolia by women of impoverished, nomadic herding families. As Mary explains on her website, “Through the Snow Leopard Trust’s Fair Trade cooperative, these families earn a living with their traditional wool-working skills. In exchange, herders are protecting the endangered snow leopards that share their habitats.” So you can feel great about giving these toys to your pets! Buy them online at HonestPetProducts.com.
Any cat or bird lovers would flip to have these creative card decks, printed in the USA by the United States Playing Card Company with vegetable ink on sustainably-harvested paper. In the Kitten Club Playing Cards, spades become leaves on a plant that Kitty loves to watch, clubs are cat paw prints, diamonds transform into intriguing goldfish and Kitty pulls a sweet heart blanket over himself.
In the Popinjay Playing Cards, owls gaze out through club-shaped peepers, diamonds are the beaks on baby birds, hummingbirds drink nectar from heart-shaped blooms and swan’s bodies and their reflections are spades. Designed by San Francisco artist John Littleboy and sold through his creative online shop known as Artiphany, these playing cards are some of the most delightful gifts for animal lovers that we have ever seen. But Artiphany features even more. Don’t miss the offbeat birthday cards such as the dog putting out his birthday candles in the only way that a dog could. Cat or Bird Playing Cards Reg. $15. Sale price $12.50 each. Artiphany.com.
Texan by Nature is a non-profit that was founded by Laura Bush to support conservation of our natural resources. This Texan by Nature Blue Bandana ($15) will look great on your pet (or you) and helps support the work of this terrific organization. Every year, Texan by Nature recognizes six select conservation projects as Conservation Wranglers with tailored aid, resources and increased visibility. They also host a yearly Symposia that connects experts, scholars and policymakers to discuss conservation issues, which results in productive partnerships, research, and funding. Bandana is 100 percent cotton and made in USA. 22 inches by 22 inches Royal Blue Bandana with 17 inches by 17 inches. Printed Design in White. Matching people shirts $25 each at TexanByNature.org.
Does Fifi love your couch as much as you do? Do her muddy paws like it too? Protect your upholstery with the Molly Mutt pet blankets. They come in multiple designs and colors to blend seamlessly with nearly any decor and keep your sweet pet from destroying your furniture. Made from 100 percent cotton canvas top in two sizes, small is 48 inches by 56 inches and large is 52 inches by 72 inches. When it gets dirty, simply throw it in the washer and hang to dry. Vehicle version also available. Works three ways a as a car hammock, seat cover or cargo cover. Size: 56 inches by 56 inches. Adjustable straps for easy on/off plus seat belt slots so Poopsie can buckle up too. Seat anchors and non-skid backing help keep the cover safely in place. Choice is $59 at EarthDoggy.com.
Made in Bozeman, Montana by West Paw, named “One of the Best Small Companies in America” by Forbes Magazine, your dog will love these durable and fun toys that are soft for his or her mouth and gums. Moulded from West Paw’s proprietary Zogoflex, the material is both recycled and recyclable through the company’s website. Dog owners will love that these toys are dishwasher safe, latex-free, BPA-free, non-toxic and FDA-compliant (meaning safe to eat off of). Great for poochies who like to play in the water because they float! Several sizes from which to choose but we like the West Paw Hurley Large ($8.95) and the West Paw Jive Ball ($8.95). Offered locally at Dolphin Blue, an eco-friendly office supply that also carries a wide selection of organic home products and pet supplies delivered to your door. DolphinBlue.com.
MOUSE IN THE HOUSE
Cats will enjoy hours of fun watching the mice zip across your iPad with the Mouse for Cats app. Multicolored wiggling mice squeak and stop in their tracks when you touch them on the screen. Amusing for both cats and cat lovers. Download the free app or upgrade for $2.99 to get all features including fun sound effects.
Mother Nature and muddy paws have met their match with LL Bean’s Recycled Waterhog personalized mat ($45). Ruggedly constructed from recycled plastic materials, these ultratough mats help keep dirt and water off your floors and plastic out of landfills, trails and oceans. That's a win-win for everyone. Multiple color choices.
Pair one up with a raised dog dish All Weather Feeder set which makes mealtime more comfy and have less back strain for taller pets. Bowls are heavy-duty stainless steel. Frame is HDPE (high density polyethylene) made partially from recycled materials and is fully recyclable at the end of its long life. Built to last for decades, won’t rot, warp, or crack. ($119). Both offered at LL Bean online.
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