The legendary Late Late Toy Show is on next week so we thought we’d do our own little pet version for this weeks’ blog – and we reckon that Billy from Pet Essentials must be psychic because he contacted us today to suggest just that! So where better to get the low-down on what’s hot and what’s not when it comes to pet presents this Christmas, than from a pet shop owner.

Billy contacted us because so many of his customers were asking for suggestions on what to buy their much-loved pets this Christmas he thought it was worth a blog (we always encourage anyone with a good idea to contact us on newsletter@petinsure.ie). And while we had his expertise available we took the opportunity to ask him lots of questions!

In your experience, what are the top-selling dog and cat Christmas pressies?

The top sellers for dogs and cats over the last few years have been the Dog and Cat Christmas stockings which contain both toys and treats. Also very popular toys this time of year are squeaky vinyl Christmas toys and soft snowman, reindeer and penguin toys. Santa dog coats and Christmas Chewy Selection boxes are also very popular. Pet owners tend to purchase durable, chewable dog treats for their dogs at Christmas as these will last longer and keep the dogs occupied longer than a lot of toys – toys don’t generally last too long after a good chewing! Postman’s Legs, Roasted Knuckle bones, Pigs Ears and Cooked Ham bones would be very popular to keep dogs happy on Christmas day.

Best sensible toy?

The best, longest lasting toys on the market are durable natural rubber toys such as Kong chew toys. There are also new interactive toys on the market which reward dogs for the effort they put in during play.

What toys do cats like?

Cats love any toys that move and contain catnip (Kong Cat toy, for example), these are hugely popular and keep cats stimulated. (What’s catnip?: catnip is an extract from Catmint plant leaves which is dried. It attracts and calms cats; they adore it but no one knows exactly why!).
 
What to buy for rabbits, birds or fish?

Rabbits generally prefer chews but have been known to play with balls. Birds love mirrors, ladders and bells. For fish, you can get a Fishkeepers Christmas gift set this year which contains food, treatments and an ornament but there aren’t any fish toys as such on the market. Fish do love hiding in ornaments, such as sunken ships or treasure chests, which may be a good Christmas gift idea.

What’s your personal favourite pet pressie?

My personal favourite Christmas gift for a dog is the Treat Ball. You fill the ball with treats, adjust the dispensing hatch to your requirements and watch as your dog happily plays with the ball while being rewarded with treats intermittently. My favourite cat Christmas toy is the vibrating mouse with catnip, no explanation needed!

Thanks Billy! Billy O’Mahony is the owner of Pet Essentials, Carrigaline, Cork. For more information on Pet Essentials you can go to the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pet-Essentials/100306394958 or the website http://www.petessentials.ie/.

And we have a few favourites of our own — like ‘Eau de Dog’, non-slip socks, or the dog worker. You can check them out here http://www.telegraph.co.uk/topics/christmas/christmas-picture-galleries/10509194/Best-gifts-for-pets-this-Christmas.html where the Telegraph looks at the top 25 presents to buy your pet this Christmas.

Have fun pampering your pet this Christmas – hope we gave you some good ideas!