Are you looking to spoil your four-legged friend this Christmas? Or perhaps you want dog Christmas gift ideas for the pets of friends and family. Or are you hoping to make the festive season a little happier for dogs in shelters?
Whatever your motivation, if you are short on time and ideas, read on for some great suggestions for ‘The Best Christmas Presents for Dogs’.
Make no mistake all of you dog owners and dog lovers – Santa Paws is coming to town!!
As with gifts for people, you need to think about the recipient of the gift. Is it a puppy, a senior dog, or somewhere in between? Is it a high-energy dog or a chilled, laid-back dog? Knowing this will help you to make the right choice of present.
To help make navigation a little easier, I’ve split these Christmas gifts for dogs into (very broad) cost categories.
Sticking with the festive theme, and going from higher cost to lower cost, these are; Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh.
1 Christmas Presents for Dogs – Gold Items
Let’s kick off our list by looking at some of the things that are likely to only go to those dogs who have been exceptionally well-behaved for the whole of the previous 12 months!
This device is packed with features:
* Links to your smartphone via an app
* Full 1080p HD camera for photos and videos
* Night vision
* Treat tossing via the app
* 2-way audio (including barking alert)
* Easy set-up
The device was featured on the ‘Ellen’ show in the US where she described it as “The number one gift on every pet lover’s Amazon wishlist. It’s so cool!”
And in the UK it featured on the show ‘Paul O’Grady – For the Love of Dogs’.
Good old DeoxyriboNucleic Acid. The molecule that contains the blueprint for how we (and our dogs) are made.
In this case, the DNA test is used for:
* Breed identification. The test screens for over 350 dog breeds and varieties. The test uses a research-grade genotyping platform developed in partnership with Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.
* Health screening. The process tests for over 200 genetic diseases including MDR1 drug sensitivity, glaucoma, degenerative myelopathy, and dilated cardiomyopathy.
* Family tree profile. Find out whether your dog is related to other dogs that have been tested.
The test is pretty easy to administer – activate your code (used for tracking your sample), take a swab from your dog’s cheeks, and post the swab to Embark.
Harv’s Top Picks
Comfort is king!
We all know the importance of a good, comfy bed and mattress when it comes to getting some quality sleep. Well, our dogs can appreciate some comfort, too. This is especially true if you have a dog with arthritis.
This dog bed features:
* Solid memory foam. The base for this bed provides superior overall comfort, reduced joint pain, and improved health, mobility & energy.
* Smart design. The bed base and bolsters provide optimal support, comfort, and security. The bed is also water-resistant and tear-resistant. There is a non-skid bottom. Replacement bed covers are available.
* The memory foam used in the bed doesn’t contain any mercury, lead, formaldehyde, phthalates, or ozone deleters. The bed passes the European REACH safety standards.
We own a Petfusion memory foam bed (although an earlier version without the bolsters) which we bought after our dog was diagnosed with arthritis. They provide comfort but also support.
2 Christmas Presents for Dogs – Frankincense Items
OK, let’s move on now to the mid-range category of presents. There are plenty of options in here to help spread some canine Xmas cheer.
I’ll be honest, I’m not a big fan of dressing up my dog with novelty clothing.
However, I’ve been told that this is a humbug attitude to take at Christmas time and that many people enjoy buying some festive accessories for their dog!
With that in mind, I did some research and came up with something which is festive and highly rated by those customers who have bought it – the Bwogue Dog Reindeer Antler Headband.
The accessory is:
* Combined Christmas hat (red with white pompom and trim) and reindeer antlers.
* Manufactured using soft fabric so that there is no irritation to your dog’s skin.
* Lightweight for comfort
* Suitable for small and medium-size dogs
Keep in mind that dogs aren’t renowned for being hat wearers – don’t force your dog to do something that it isn’t comfortable doing.
If you live somewhere that is perpetually cold then your dog isn’t likely to need this. If you don’t, then this coat is a fantastic way of helping to cool your dog.
Unlike humans, dogs can’t sweat to keep cool. The way that they disperse heat is by panting and through their paw pads and nose. Well, you can help by using a cooling coat.
The Easidri Cooling Coat has a unique cell structure that allows it to gradually release moisture, keeping your dog cool for hours.
Fitting the coat on your dog is a simple matter using the velcro straps that are fitted to the coat.
The coat is re-usable and machine washable and comes in a waterproof storage package so that it is ready to use should you need it when out and about.
We have one of these coats and it works really well.
So well, in fact, that if he has got a little warm on a walk he will actually look for the coat on our return home!
This is the original Snuggle Puppy and the company has been helping pets since 1997.
The Snuggle Puppy feels real with its pulsing heartbeat and heat pack, helping to foster a feeling of calm by appealing to a dog’s natural instincts.
Helps pets to transition to their new home and reduces the stress experienced during fireworks and thunderstorms.
It can also help with crate training, helping your dog to feel more relaxed when initially introduced to a crate.
The Snuggle Puppy is machine washable.
Harv’s Top Picks
Albert Einstein said, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”
Well, these Puller Rings are very simple in their design: they are large plastic rings. But don’t let that fool you. These rings are absolutely awesome and are one of Harvey’s favourite things.
The rings are:
* Light, strong, they float, bounce, don’t smell, and don’t injure your dog’s teeth.
* Suitable for use in fetch, catch, and tug-of-war.
* Unique design helps to reduce the chance of an accidental bite from your dog while playing.
* Valuable additions to exercise regime. It is estimated that 20 minutes of play with the puller rings is equivalent to a 3-mile run.
We have had many hours of fun with our Puller Rings. Where they really shine, for me and Harvey, is as a tug toy.
They are large enough for the dog to get a good grip, have some flexibility for when your dog pulls against you, and are durable (ours have teeth marks – Harvey’s, not mine! – but no sign of them falling apart).
Kongs are the classic dog toy.
By encouraging healthy play and satisfying an instinctual need, the Kong can help with issues relating to chewing, separation anxiety, teething, boredom, weight management, crate training, digging, and barking.
The Kong is a great fetch toy. See that weird shape?! That makes the Kong bounce in an unpredictable manner which makes it more fun for your dog.
You may also have noticed that the Kong is hollow. This is because you can stuff it with delicious dog treats. The tough rubber construction means that this makes it excellent for determined chewers.
Kongs can be frozen too, to give your dog a chilled treat.
Veterinarians and dog trainers around the world recommend the Kong Classic as one of the best durable dog toys available.
Dogs love to play.
The frequency and intensity of the play may decline as they get older (it may not!) but make no mistake, a dog gets great enjoyment from playing.
This Hide-A-Squirrel toy presents an excellent opportunity for puppies of all ages to have some fun!
Things to note about the toy:
* Fill the tree trunk with 6 stuffed squeaky squirrels, toss it, and watch your dog’s natural hunting instincts kick in!
* Give your curious canine some mental stimulation and help to banish boredom.
* The toys are soft and so easy on the teeth of young puppies and adult dogs alike.
* Never leave your dog unattended with its toys – no toy is indestructible and you don’t want your dog to swallow any pieces of a destroyed toy.
Harvey absolutely adored this toy!
He is a big fan of soft toys (although he often gets a little carried away and tears them to shreds!) and also loves a game of Hide-It.
The Hide-A-Squirrel toy manages to combine these 2 things in one package.
I suspect that this one is going to be hugely popular with dogs of all ages.
Lots of people have photos of their dogs, right?
What about something a little different?
Specifically, a paw print. And not just a ‘slap some paint on my dog’s paw and put it on a piece of paper type of paw print. This is a clay cast of the paw.
* Create and frame an impression of your pet’s paw and place it next to their 4×6 inch photo.
* No mixing or mess. Air dry within 24-48 hours.
* Includes impression material, rolling pin, and clay shaping ruler.
* Solid wood shadowbox frame that sits perfectly on any desk or tabletop.
What is a flirt pole?
It’s a toy, tied to a rope, tied to a pole. What it allows you to do is to move the toy around as a training aid.
It can, for example, be used to teach self-control – asking your dog not to chase the toy as you move it, then releasing the dog as its reward.
* Strong and lightweight aluminium (retractable) alloy flirt pole with a comfortable, non-slip handle.
* High-quality nylon bungee cord which is pull-resistant and anti-entanglement.
* Hand-made rope toys.
Please note that this is NOT a tug toy and should not be used as such.
3 Christmas Presents for Dogs – Myrrh Items
And finally, we have the economy section.
I’ve included some very useful dog-related books in this section. Now, I appreciate that this isn’t directly a present for a dog (unless yours is considerably smarter than mine!) but I think that the dogs will benefit indirectly from the knowledge imparted.
Some dogs seem to think that they are the canine equivalent of Adam Richman on the ‘Man v. Food’ TV show!
You put their food bowl on the floor and almost before you’ve stood upright again they’ve eaten the lot.
And it isn’t just big dogs that can do this. It can happen in all shapes, sizes, and breeds of dogs.
While this may sound amusing, it is actually quite dangerous. Firstly, they could choke on their food, which could be life-threatening. Secondly, it increases the risk of a condition known as bloat (expansion and twisting of the stomach or intestines) which is immediately life-threatening.
Therefore, anything that can slow down the eating process can be a great asset. Enter the Dogit bowl.
* Encourages the dog to eat or drink at a slower pace preventing indigestion, vomiting, and bloating.
* Slower eating reduces excess air intake leading to improved digestion.
* Easy to clean and dishwasher safe.
I tested this bowl with Harv and it certainly seems to encourage a dog to look for the food, take some, look again, take some more – rather than a head down, devour it all in one mouthful approach.
Dog Training Revolution
by Zak George
I think it is fair to say that Zak George has been a YouTube sensation.
He has been producing (free) training videos on YouTube for many years now and is the most successful trainer on there – with over 3.3 million subscribers!
This book combines the key factors of Zak’s approach and sets them all out in a logical fashion:
* Choosing the right pup for you
* Housetraining and basic training
* Common issues like biting, leash pulling, and barking
* Health care essentials
You can find lots of training videos on the Zak George YouTube channel.
Sometimes a standard lead just isn’t long enough for the training that you want to do with your dog.
That’s where the training lead comes in.
It’s especially useful with recall training and with scent work.
This lead’s features:
* Lightweight but durable nylon braided lead, with reinforced stitching and nickel-plated clip swivels to resist twisting.
* Available in a variety of lengths.
I would offer 2 caveats when working with a long lead:
1. For your dog’s safety, only use the long lead when attached to a harness – not your dog’s collar.
2. For your safety, be wary of picking up a long lead when the dog is already running – friction burns can be very painful!
Brain Games for Dogs
by Claire Arrowsmith
We all know that our dogs need adequate physical exercise but it can be easy to forget that they need mental stimulation too.
Many behavioural issues in dogs have as their root cause a lack of mental stimulation. In short – they are bored!!
It is estimated that mental exercise tires a dog twice as much as physical exercise. So, a 15-minute session of brain games could be as tiring as a 30-minute walk. And your dog will be happier for it.
Topics covered in the book include:
* Puppy play
* Hide and seek
* Mini agility course
* Tricks such as roll over and play dead
The author, Claire Arrowsmith, is an animal behaviourist.
All dogs have incredible bite strength – but some are just real power chewers!
Toys don’t tend to last very long with power chewers. And that’s a shame for the purchaser (because they feel they have wasted their money) and for the dog (who doesn’t get the length of enjoyment that he deserves).
The Kong Extreme Goodie Bone aims to diminish that shame!
The Goodie Bones attributes:
* The black rubber formula is created to be tough and durable for power chewing dogs.
* Each end of the Good Bone is hollow enabling treats to be pushed in to further prolong the dog’s enjoyment.
Harvey is a very big fan of this toy.
His favourite thing is to eat all of the treats in it, carry it towards me, and then throw it at me! His subtle way of requesting a refill.
We’ve had ours for around 5 years now and it’s still going strong – they are built to last and to resist the efforts of power chewers.
What dog doesn’t love a furry toy to play with? (OK, yes I know, there are some that don’t!)
Some dogs seem to want to look after them, carrying them around everywhere that they go.
Others will throw them around and then chase after them.
If you know of a dog that does like furry toys then these ZippyPaw Plush Toys are bound t appeal to them.
* 3 characters – Fox, Raccoon, and … Squirrel!!
* Each toy includes 3 high-quality round squeakers to help keep the dog entertained.
* The toys contain no stuffing, helping them last longer and create less mess.
There is a third category of dogs in relation to the treatment of furry toys – the one that Harvey falls into – The Destroyers!
If you are buying for a Destroyer then, as fun as it will briefly be for them with a furry toy, you may find better options elsewhere.
by Sarah Whitehead
Sarah is an internationally renowned pet behaviour specialist.
Her knowledge in relation to behaviour in dogs is second to none.
In ‘Clever Dog’ she shares some of her knowledge with the reader and it makes for interesting reading.
Don’t worry, this isn’t a scientific paper – it’s an easy read and full of case histories which she uses to illustrate her points.
You can read more about Sarah Whitehead on her website. You may even want to buy one of her courses for your next gift …
What the heck is a Wubba? You may be wondering.
Well, the Kong Wubba is a combined fetch toy and tug-of-war toy. Great fun for the dog and its owner.
Good things to know:
* Covered in durable ballistic nylon for added toughness.
* Perfect for interactive games like tug and fetch.
* Squeaks for added enjoyment.
* It is not meant for use as a chew toy.
* Available in red, blue, or purple.
We have owned one of these. I use the past tense because after a while the Wubba started to finish the sessions in more pieces than it started in!
As we said in the introduction – you need to know the dog that you are buying for. If it’s a big chewer then this toy may not last long. If it isn’t then it’ll be great.
As you can see in the picture, Harv still very much enjoys playing with this toy.
However, in order to preserve some entertainment for the dogs at the WARS shelter, I asked him to relinquish this one as soon as I’d taken some photos!
Never mind Harv – perhaps Father Christmas will bring you a new one to destroy …
The Other End of the Leash
by Patricia McConnell
Patricia McConnell, PhD, has consulted with pet owners for over 20 years about serious behavioural problems, specialising in canine aggression.
This particular book is regarded as a classic in its field and has been translated into 13 languages.
The book aims to:
* Revolutionise the way that you interact with your dog
* Show how different species share things
* Illuminate how dogs and people are the same yet so different
* Help you see the world from your dog’s perspective
* Teach ways to communicate so that your dog understands you
* Explain why training dogs isn’t always easy
You can read more about Patricia McConnell on her website.
Harv’s Top Picks
Dogs love to have a good chew on things.
The key is to make sure that they are chewing something that you want them to chew and not, say, your furniture!
That task is made considerably easier if you have something that both tastes good and is pleasant to chew.
Something like … the Nylabone Cheese Bone.
Cheese bone information:
* Made of durable nylon. This encourages slow, gentle chewing rather than manic, overly-excited chewing.
* The bone has indentations that can be used to add soft treats.
* Satisfies the need for chewing and helps to prevent destructive chewing.
* Delicious cheese flavour that dogs love.
* Medium size.
This is currently Harvey’s favourite toy.
He will happily lie down, holding the bone between his front paws, and chew on it for ages.
4 Harvey’s Extras
There are a couple of extra items that Harvey wanted me to mention to you.
Here they are:
I first came across these balls in the pet aisle at our local Tesco supermarket.
They were just £1 each so I thought:
“Why not? If it gets destroyed in 5 minutes (as some of Harvey’s toy acquisitions do!) then I’ve only lost £1.”
Do you know what?
They are still going strong after nearly 2 years! And Harvey absolutely loves them – especially Smiley Face (who is starting to show the ill-effects of being carried everywhere by Harv!).
I should warn you that they come with a squeaker inside. Harv loves to play a little tune with the squeaker while he is carrying one of these around. Or if he wants to get my attention for a game of fetch.
The ones from Tesco don’t seem to be available at the moment but these ones from Amazon seem pretty similar. (Don’t pay silly money for them – some suppliers seem to be charging way over the top.)
UPDATE: They are back on the shelves at my local Tesco and still at just £1. If you are able to then I suggest that you get them from a Tesco store near you.
Holly’s Walks – Forest of Dean
by Philip Charlesworth
Holly is one of Harvey’s dog friends. Together with some other Labradors from the My Labrador Friends forum they helped Phil (Holly’s human) to field test the walks included in this book.
Phil has put substantial effort into devising, testing, and then describing in great detail, a series of walks, of varying lengths and difficulties, in and around the Forest of Dean.
For those of you that don’t know:
The Forest of Dean is one of the Royal Forests. Situated on a plateau between the rivers Severn and Wye, it includes ancient woodland, heathland, ponds and other habitats. It has many walkable paths and very few roads, making it a perfect place for tranquil walks with your dog.
If you live in, or near, the area, or even if you are just visiting, it’s well worth giving one (or more!) of these walks a go.
Holly’s Walks – Wye Valley
by Philip Charlesworth
Holly is back with another selection of walks. This time they are in the Wye Valley.
As before, Phil (Holly’s human) has put substantial effort into devising, testing, and then describing in great detail, a series of walks, of varying lengths and difficulties.
About the Wye Valley:
The Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is deservedly popular with walkers. This book, written by a local dog owner, contains a selection of his favourite dog walks. Each of the circular walks in this book has character, wonderful scenery, and is easily accessible for our four-legged friends. This second edition includes three new walks in this beautiful area.
If you fancy a good walk, in beautiful surroundings, then give one of these walks a try.
5 The True Spirit of Chrsitmas
OK, we’ve looked at traditional gifts but how about something a little more … in the true spirit of Christmas?
Spare a thought for those animals who, through no fault of their own, find themselves in shelters this Christmas. Dogs are remarkably resilient and cheerful animals but even the hardiest of souls will find it tough in a shelter compared to being in a loving home.
I appreciate that not all of us are in a position to be able to offer a home to any of these dogs. We can, however, make things easier for them by donating to the shelters.
And if you don’t have any spare cash to donate, you could always ask about volunteering.
I’ll add a couple of UK shelters below (one local to me and one national) in case you would like to make a Christmas donation to them.
If you are reading this and would like me to add some other shelters in this section (especially if you are outside the UK), please let me know in the comments.
6 Harvey’s Top Picks
Within each of the Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh cost categories there is an item that Harvey particularly enjoyed.
These items are flagged with the ‘Harv’s Top Picks‘ banner.
By way of a quick recap, the items were:
In my opinion, and, more importantly, in Harvey’s, any one of these items would make an excellent choice of Christmas present.
If I had to pick an overall favourite, ignoring the cost brackets, then it would have to be the Puller Rings. Harvey absolutely loves these!
7 Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some FAQs related to the Best Christmas Presents for Dogs:
What Gift Should you get for a Dog at Christmas?
As with gifts for people, you need to think about the recipient of the gift. Is it a puppy, a senior dog, or somewhere in between? Is it a high-energy dog or a chilled, laid-back dog?
Consider toys (dogs love to play, even with the wrapping the gift came in!), treats (consider any dietary requirements first and only buy good quality items – nobody wants a poorly dog, especially at Christmas), practical items (collars, leads, food and water bowls), and training accessories (dogs need, and enjoy, mental stimulation in addition to physical activity – look at interactive toys, books, and courses).
Should you buy Christmas Presents for Dogs?
Absolutely. There is nothing wrong with buying gifts for a dog, at Christmas, or any other time. Dogs love to play (including chewing things!). They love some mental stimulation. And they love interacting with humans. Keep this in mind when buying presents and you won’t go far wrong.
What the Best Xmas Gift for New Puppy Parents?
Puppies can have very sensitive stomachs so it may be wise to avoid gifts of food and treats. This doesn’t mean that all oral gifts are out though – it often isn’t long before the puppy biting nightmare begins! So, help out the new owners by buying teething toys. After that, look for gifts that are mentally stimulating (there are limits on how much physical exercise young pups should have).
9 The End
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