Four presents for the new animal lovers in your life

In some ways, getting a new pet is like having a baby in the house. There are suddenly a lot of new routines, different foods, upgraded cleaning products and fantasies of how much sleep you used to get. It's a joy, and it's work, and presents for pet parents and their new furry friends can go a long way toward keeping all involved happy. Here are a few suggestions:

You might think to yourself, "Do I really want to give a dried out bull penis to my friends' dog as a present?" Yes, yes you do. A bully stick, like those made by Red Barn Naturals, is a must-have for anyone dealing with a puppy, its razor-sharp teeth and its need to chew, well, everything. This is a gift that will thrill the dog, and give the puppy parents some peace and quiet for a bit. That's called a win-win. $8 • Yuppy Puppy Downtown • 830 W. Sprague

Some cats are notoriously aloof creatures, keeping to themselves and rarely giving their human food providers the time of day. As a dog owner, it really makes me wonder why anyone ever gets a cat. But I digress. One way to get your cat energized and playful is to lure the critter with some catnip stuffed inside a little "mouse" made from hemp by From The Field. They'll play for hours with these sturdy little mice. $6 • Prairie Dog Pet Mercantile Kendall Yards • 1206 W. Summit Pkwy C106

Cats and dogs like their water moving — who knew? So skip the old bowls-on-the-floor routine, and pick up something like the Raindrop drinking fountain from Pioneer Pets. It's easy to clean, plugs into a standard outlet (and has a pet-safe cord, naturally), and it will keep the critters hydrated year-round. $21 • The Urban Canine - North • 6320 N. Ash

Becoming a new pet owner is fun, sure, but it can be stressful, and not just for the human part of the equation. Hook up a friend or loved one with this scan using saliva and hair samples, and they'll get a three-page biofeedback analysis that can identify "over 300 food and environmental factors that may disturb an animal's energy balance." Eliminating any negative factors could be a gift that lasts a pet's lifetime. $99 • Pet Vittles & Wild Bird West • 919 N. Argonne, Spokane Valley

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About The Author

Dan Nailen

Dan Nailen is the managing editor of the Inlander, where he oversees coverage of arts and culture. He's previously written and edited for The Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake City Weekly, Missoula Independent, Salt Lake Magazine, The Oregonian and KUER-FM. He grew up seeing the country in an Air Force family and studied...