Santa paws has come early for the pet community, with the launch of festive treats from Mars Petcare.

The Pedigree Christmas Dog Stocking, (rrp: £3.99) features Rodeo Beef, Schmackos Chicken and DentaStix, as well as a rope tug toy, while the Whiskas Christmas Cat Stocking (rrp: £3.99) contains 60g packs of Temptations in salmon and chicken & cheese flavours, as well as a cat treat dispenser toy.

The stocking is also available in pre-filled clip strips, ready to hang and easy to merchandise in store. The range also includes limited edition Dreamies Super Mix (rrp: £3); and Pedigree Schmackos, (rrp: £1.00), a limited edition Pedigree Jumbone (rrp: £1.88), and limited edition Dreamies (rrp: £1.51) all in turkey flavours.

“People love to spoil their pets and it’s not just pet owners who look to treat their furry friends – non-pet owners make up almost a quarter (21%) of all festive period buyers,” states Mars Petcare.

Last year the Dog Care & Treats category grew by 7.6% over Christmas, compared with 16.5% growth for the Cat Care & Treats category, claims the firm. This growth was driven by consumers spending more on treats for their pets and buying treats more frequently.

Stephanie Case, category and customer marketing director, Mars Petcare UK says: “There really is no doubt about it: Consumers not only want to treat themselves at Christmas, but they also look to give their pets something special. For retailers looking to make the most of the occasion, stock up on Mars Petcare’s range of POS materials – from Santa’s Grotto-themed dumpbins and on-shelf POS to FSDUs – which will raise awareness of Christmas products, create excitement in store and generate those all-important sales.”