Santa Claws is coming to town: Christmas shopping for your four-legged friend


Jade Poole from I write words

Santa Claws is coming to town

Shopping for your pet is one of the most exciting things to do because 1) you get to see them play with it for hours and sheez do they look cute and 2) you won’t have to worry about the “thank you so much - did you keep the receipt?” response. Amidst all the blinding lights and bells and whistles, what really are the best gifts for your pet?

Shopping for your pet shouldn’t be expensive - they won’t know the difference between a designer chew toy and one from down the road. All they care about is that they have a new favourite thing to gnaw on and their human around to throw it around the garden for them to fetch. Our main tip is: don’t let shopping for your pets freak you out. It’s a super fun activity that will make room for tons of bonding time with your pawsome pal.

Toys are important for a few reasons:

  1. They’re an excellent tool for behavioural lessons.
  2. Your pet will become more independent. Dogs, in particular, are supposed to be around other animals all the time, but with our daily schedules that isn’t always possible. Having toys teaches your dog to entertain themselves when nobody is home.
  3. Toys help burn off any extra energy - lowering the risk of mischief brought on by boredom!

Who’s a good toy?

Whether you have a puppy, kitten or an older dog or cat, toys are always a good idea. They keep your pet stimulated and entertained for hours - remember that they live in a confined space so it’s only right to make sure they can get their paws on something fun!

Go fetch

This is for the dog people out there: anything that you can throw and your dog can bring back to you is going to be a winner (obviously you know your dog’s temperament better than we do so if you’re going to be met with a blank stare when you gooi a ball then skip this one). Tennis balls, frisbees and weighted ropes are great for fetch games. Anything with a good bounce and an interesting texture is going to make for a grand old time. If you can, look for a toy that has an unpredictable bounce - like how a rugby ball does - to really stimulate your dog’s reflexes when you play.

Bells and whistles

Sensory play is not only for you overpriced occupational therapist, it’s important for animals too! Getting your pup or cat a toy with a squeaker or bell is going to make their whole year (or at least until the novelty wears off). Bells are more appealing to cats - they like the tinkling sound and the reflective silver. 

Getting a toy with an internal squeaker means that your pet will be entertained trying to find the source of the noise - but be careful that they don’t dislodge it. We’ll cover more of that in the no-nos for pet toys.

Made with love

We can understand the reluctance to spend money on new toys and gizmos - by the end of the week they’re in unrecognisable tatters and your good boy is wagging his tail saying,

 “Did I do good??”

No, no Buster you did not but you’re the light of my life anyway. So why not use any extra time to make your own? 

Cats respond super well to the simple ping pong ball! Get an old table tennis ball and create a few holes for your kitties claws to grip on. Anything that rustles, bounces and crinkles will be the most delightful gift your cat could have. You can use old cardboard, yarn (boy oh boy do they love yarn) or even paper. Your cat isn’t going to care what it looks like - as long as they can get involved! If you’re a DIY guru, ignore our simplistic poked ping-pong ball and check out this awesome homemade scratching post.

Made with love (treat edition)

Maybe your pet-baby has already been gifted with all the toys their heart could want, so what about getting them in on the Christmas feast? (and we don’t mean under the Christmas table begging for scraps).

Let them join in on the goods with some home-made treats! How about these healthy banana pumpkin dog treats inspired by Pooks Pantry. All you’ll need is egg, flour, banana and pumpkin. That’s it. Seriously. For the full method click here and check out other really cool options you can make for your fur-baby!

Pssst: out more about keeping your pets happy and healthy during the holidays here.

What’s not a good toy?

The most important thing to consider when you’re looking at a toy is whether or not it is safe. With plastic taking over the world many products are made with small bits and pieces that could fall off and be ingested by your pet. Anything with googly eyes, ribbon or string. Be wary, also, of toys like teddy bears. Although they look delightful and almost as cuddle-worthy as your furbaby, they are broken easily, and the stuffing could be fatal to your pet’s bowels.

If you’ve bought anything with a sound source, your pet is going to naturally want to dig it out of the toy. Make sure when this happens you remove the toy immediately. The same goes for all damaged toys - once they’re broken they’re broken and need to be chucked or recycled. To save your pet’s toys from being damaged too quickly, don’t give them out all at once as this will over excite your pet.

Your pet will be so excited to be included in this year’s festivities. From the Oneplan Team, we wish you and your extended fur family a Merry Christmas,


Yours in cuddle-worthy pet insurance,


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