Do you give holiday gifts to your dogs? I do. And I also believe in giving doggie gifts to dog owners for the holidays. Whenever I have one of those hard-to-buy-for people on my “nice list,” I always default to buying something for their pet – even if their dog should be on the naughty list.
Another thing I believe in is practicality in gift giving, especially for dogs. What dog wants (or needs) another Santa sweater? In this economy, giving something practical to someone’s pet is very much appreciated. Being a dog trainer, I recommend gifting practical products that solve a problem. Here’s the list of my fave last minute, practical, problem-solving stocking stuffers for dogs:
Stinky and unkempt dogs
Giving grooming products might seem like a “hint” to owners of stinky dogs, but if you put them in a pretty basket, no one will be the wiser. I have recently become a fan of newcomer to the grooming game, Warren London – their shampoos smell like tropical islands and lavender, and they have “fur butter,” deep cleaning bath fizz balls, and other skin solutions. Warren London $12 – $15
I am also a fan of DERMagic’s products, particularly their Peppermint & Tea Tree Oil Certified Organic Shampoo bars. Talk about a practical and welcomed stocking stuffer – these soap bars not only smell great, they last a long time, even for a big dog. I can wash my three dogs at least three times with one bar – try that with a bottle of shampoo. DERMagic $7.95 – $11.95
And after a bath, nothing’s better than the “doggie robe” from Towel Togs. Pearl has one of these, and it’s fantastic for when she’s tearing around the house after a bath, rubbing her wet doggy body all over the sofa. Towel Togs $24.99 – $59.99
Of course, dog owners in a “hairy” situation will appreciate any of the tools from Furminator, the leading company in de-shedding products.Furminator $15.99 – $73.99
Finally, easily m favorite grooming product ever, something that every non-shedding dog owner should have in their stocking this year – The Scaredy Cut. This simple system combines a pair of scissors with the attachments that your groomer uses on her electric clippers. The set of attachments easily clips your dog’s hair to a variety of lengths, so you get the correct cut on the face, body, skirt, and so on – it’s hard to go wrong. I use The Scaredy Cut in-between trips to the groomer; $29.99 on this product saves me at least $500 a year at the dog salon – that means a lot more treats for my three fur balls. Scaredy Cut
The brand new high tech gadget, Tagg—The Pet Tracker, foils runaway dogs with a small, rechargeable GPS collar attachment and an app on your smart phone or computer. Rover may roam, but one click will bring him home. At $139 (with six months of service), this is the priciest stocking stuffer on my list, so save it for someone you really like – or your own dog. Pet Tracker
Decidedly less high tech, but still on the canine cutting edge, is my other favorite “bring ‘em home” solution, SmartTags. Each cute tag can be engraved with your personal info, like most tags, but also has an ID number specific to your pet, and a phone number with 24-hour live emergency service and a website where you can immediately report a lost pet – and where the person who found your pet can report it as well. IDTags. Tags from $4.95; lifetime registration from $19.99.
Safety and control
When I think of safety and dogs, the first products that come to mind are from Kurgo, primarily because I use them all the time with my dogs when we ride in the car. I particularly appreciate the Auto Zip Line with Harness ($38) and the Skybox Booster Seat ($60). I only have one of these seats and my three dogs scuffle to be the one to take a turn in it. Maybe someone will put another one in my stocking this year? Kurgo
It’s weird to say that I get excited about leashes, but I sing from the rooftops about how much I love the Wacky Walk’r – it’s a leash (and leash attachments) made from incredibly stretchy rubber tubing that discourages pulling while saving your back. Wacky Walk’r $11.99 – $31.99
It’s that time of year again – the WalkieWay—Safety Collar, Leash on Demand, does a free product giveaway during the holidays. A small round unit the size of a dog tag holds a 4-foot retractable leash, always on your dog for safety and convenience. Walkie Way Regularly $19.99, now you just pay shipping, $7.95.
A similar concept, The LeashLocket, is attached magnetically to your dog’s current collar or harness and allows him or her to carry the leash for a change – great for off-leash play at dog parks.LeashLocket $24.99
Patento Pet USA is full of great ideas, the perfect gifts to solve some common behavior issues. They have the DOG-e-Walk, a leash that uses an ultrasonic signal to prevent pulling; the DOG-e-Light, a leash with a built in flash light; and my favorite, the Anti-Bite Leash that is infused with chili essence that tastes no bueno to a leash chewer. Patento Pet USA $16.95 – $47.95
Toys and treats
A brand new Planet Dog toy in a dog’s stocking makes a great impression – not only are these toys durable and attractive in a hipster mod kind of way, they smell like mint and some of them glow in the dark. Their holiday line is adorable, with toys shaped like tree lights, starlight mints, and snowballs. Consider their toys that can be filled with treats to keep Fido entertained during the holiday party – and away from the holiday ham. Planet Dog $8.95 – $11.95
Wigzi toys are all about “stuff and play” – stuff a cookie or treats into the ball, bone, or lock-shaped toys and your dog has to work to get them out. I toss a few of these on the floor to keep my pack entertained while I’m on the phone. Bonus: the toys smell like cupcakes. Wigzi $7.99 – $12.99
Cloud Star makes some of my favorite treats, probably because they all smell so good I want to eat them myself. My dogs go nuts for these – the fave in this house are the Soft and Chewy Buddy Biscuits – fits nicely in a stocking and great for training. Cloud Star $5.95
My dogs do calculus for Stella and Chewy’s Carnivore Crunch – also fits nicely in a stocking (hint, hint, Santa) and the protein-rich ingredients read as if your dog wrote them. Stella and Chewys $8 – $11.99
Another favorite around here, and perfect for the holidays, are Halo Pets’ Healthsome Peanut ‘n Pumpkin biscuits. They’re low-fat (ideal for my full figured gal, Pearl) and they’re vegetarian. I’ve tried one. Not bad. OK . . . I liked it. Halo Pets $4.99
No dog’s stocking would be complete without bully sticks, or what I call “go away for a while and be quiet” treats. But the best idea in bully sticks have to be the odor free kind. I get mine online from Best Bully Sticks. Best Bully Sticks Price varies by size and number purchased.
The dog product recalls and the controversies over where source materials come from for treats have gotten consumers dizzy and scared. Fear no longer – Riddick’s Ridiculously Natural Treats are made in the USA and are sourced from pasture fed, free-range animals. My dogs just know that they love these treats, and I know they are good for their tummies – and giving them makes me feel better about not sharing my eggnog. Riddicks Treats $4.99
For vegans who don’t want to handle processed animal items, I love Mr. Gamble’s Dog Bites, also made in the USA. This company is a newcomer to the treat world, a small fish in a big pet pond, and I’m impressed with their quality and tenaciousness – just like my Schnauzers. And their treats smell really good. Mr Gambles Dog Bites.com $9
Do you think that’s it’s silly or that it’s fun to give dogs gifts for the holidays? What are you getting your dog for the holidays? What are some of your favorite doggie stocking stuffers for your friends’ dogs? Did I miss anything great?
And before I forget . . . happy holidays! Have a safe and warm holly-dog season!