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Confession: I never had a dog growing up but now can’t imagine life without one. Oliver, our first Yellow Lab, was a gentle giant alpha male who was fiercely protective of us when our kids were young. Goldie, our current pup, is a loyal, loveable goofball with endless energy. Both dogs are beloved family members who provide endless joy and comfort.
Gifts for the Best Dogs in Your Life
While our four-legged friends are happy with food and attention, items that provide enrichment can make them happier, healthier, and create a stronger bond between you. While there is a multitude of items for dogs on shelves, not all are created equally.
Gifts for the best dogs in your life should allow them to engage in innate behaviors, such as playing, chasing, smelling, chewing and scavenging. I always look for well-constructed toys that are made of durable materials. They may cost more initially but both of our dogs have been chewers and shredders who have been known to destroy plush toys minutes after getting them!
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Here is a list of gifts for the best dogs in your life, tried and tested by Goldie, of course!
Hyper Pet Doggie Pals ($9.99 at PetSmart)
Goldie has been known to shred plush toys but her Hyper Pet Doggie Pal penguin is a favorite toy that she has treated with love since she got it. Doggie Pal is a motion activated dog toy that wiggles and barks but is covered with a plush cover. When turned on, Doggie Pal is activated by shaking, rolling, or throwing. It makes funny sounds and erratic movements for 10 seconds then stops.
It sounds bizarre but there’s something about the sound and movement combination that Goldie loves. She’ll pick up her Doggie Pal penguin and carry it around the house gently. She knows she can drop it to make it wiggle and make noise. She’ll leap after it as it skitters across the floor before it stops.
PetSmart carries the 6 holiday-themed Doggie Pals. There’s a penguin (Goldie’s favorite), Santa, Naughty or Nice Stocking Dog, Gingerbread Man, Snowman, and Santa’s Helper. Right now they’re buy 2 get 1 free on the PetSmart website and we’re stocking up!
Zoo Snoods (from $19.99)
We humans love sweater weather and dogs are pretty cute in sweaters too but Zoo Snoods are an even better way to keep your pup warm and looking great in colder weather. Zoo Snoods are an animal-themed knit hood for dogs designed to keep your pet warm on cold and wet days and ears protected from mud and moisture.
There are 20 different adorable knit animal snoods for dogs (fox, lion, unicorn, panda, giraffe, reindeer, etc), dinosaurs, alien, insects, and sharks (great white and baby shark!) to choose from to cover your dog’s head and ears. You can also get a matching sweater to keep your dog toasty warm on winter walks or just around the house.
Goldie has the lion Zoo Snood and Yellow Zoo Sweater ($15.99-$19.99) to match and it’s absolutely adorable when she wears it! I keep trying to get a photo in her matching set but she’s just too active to pose for a good photo!
SodaPup Treat Dispenser and Chew Toy ($13.99)
Most dogs love their food and SodaPup treat dispensers are a great way to keep them occupied. SodaPup’s treat dispensers come in a variety of fun shapes (Goldie has the corn on the cob one) and are perfect for hiding kibble inside to encourage them to forage for food. The all-natural rubber compound is non-toxic to dogs and made of some of the most durable rubber I’ve seen on the market. While no toy is indestructible, I’ve been impressed by how well this toy has held up. Bonus that SodaPup dog toys are dishwasher safe for easy cleaning and made in the USA!
When we first got Goldie, she would jump the fence to play with her best dog friend. We always worried that she might not stop at her best friend’s house, choosing to explore the neighborhood instead. With your dog’s name and your phone number of choice embroidered on the personalized dog collar from L.L. Bean, it’s easier for strangers and neighbors to see your dog’s name and know how to get in touch with you. The personalized pet collar comes in red, blue, and pink and you can choose the embroidery thread color. There’s also a lime green color with a reflective strip (also $24.95) that can be personalized. We’ve always been fans of L.L. Bean’s high quality products and this durable collar is a must-have for all dogs.
Embark Dog Breed + Health Kit (currently $149, on sale from $199)
When we rescued Goldie, Lab Rescue told us she was half Labrador, half Golden Retriever but no one can really be sure with rescues. An Embark Breed + Health dog DNA test enables a dog owner to learn about their pup’s breed, ancestry, health, relatives, and more with just a simple cheek swab. Embark’s research-grade DNA genotyping platform looks at over 350 breeds and more than 210 genetic health risks that help understand your dog’s health history.
Embark is the best kit for dog owners who want a complete sense of their pet’s health to share with their veterinarian. Results can also help owners discover and connect with dogs that share DNA with yours thanks to the world’s only canine relative finder, free with purchase. Use code HARK to save $50 on before 12/12.
SodaPup LickMat Bundle ($25.98 for 2)
Has your dog tried a lick mat? Relatively new in the dog enrichment space, the idea behind lickmats are to spread soft foods into the surface so your dog can lick the food out of the mat. Licking triggers their foraging instincts and activates their brains, keeping them mentally engaged and entertained. It also has a calming effect that helps reduce separation anxiety as well as unwanted behaviors caused by boredom (like destructive chewing). Since licking stimulates the production of saliva, the use of lickmats can also promote fresh breath and healthy teeth and gums, as well as improved digestive health.
SodaPup’s jigsaw mat is made out of durable, rigid, dishwasher safe rubber. The complex pattern that retains foods better. SodaPup reports most dogs will use the jigsaw mat for up to 45 minutes compared to 10-15 minutes for competing designs. Pro tip- You can stick it in the freezer to make the licking last even longer.
Bodhi Dog Bath Brush ($9.99)
Goldie tolerates bath time with a hose in the yard or standing in the shower and I like to think Bodhi Dog Bath Brush makes her bathing experience better. This rubber curry brush slips on your hand and features soft rubber tips for gently scrubbing away dirt, dead skin, and loose fur. They don’t pull on your dog’s hair hopefully making bath time more spa-like for your four-legged friend.
Halo Collar ($749 with coupon code GIFTHALO, normally $999)
The Halo Collar is a smart collar system designed to keep dogs safe. Co-founded by Cesar Millan, Halo Collar utilizes proprietary technology & dog psychology to provide a wireless smart fence, smart training, GPS tracker and activity tracker combined into one easy-to-use smart collar. It instantly create wireless fences right from your phone to keep your dog safely inside without a Wifi or cellular connection. The Halo Collar communicates with your dog using customizable Prevention Feedback at the right time. Fences calculate when your dog is near the boundary to prompt them to turn around. As soon as they stop or turn back, the collar even uses Encouragement Feedback to say ‘good job’! The Halo Collar also uses GPS and GNSS location tracking to keep them safe. This helps make it easy to locate them should they ever wander too far. The purchase price of Halo Collar does not include the monthly Halo subscription plan. Three different levels of subscription plans range in price from $4.50-$29.99/month).
I hope you enjoy this year’s picks and wish you happy and stress-free holiday shopping!
2021 Holiday Gift Guides
AGE APPROPRIATE GIFT GUIDES
- Toddlers and Preschoolers
- Early Elementary Ages (grades K-2, ages 5-8)
- Tweens (ages 9-12)
- Teens (ages 13+)
SPECIALTY GIFT GUIDES:
- STEM Gifts for All Ages (preK-tween)
- Best Age Appropriate Advent Calendars for Kids
- Fair Trade Holiday Gifts
- Gifts for Unplugged Family Fun
- Gifts for Teachers
- Gifts for People Who Love Their Dogs (inspired by Goldie, of course)
In case you wanted to start making your shopping lists now, here’s a look at last year’s gift guides that are full of great ideas:
- STEM Gifts for All Ages (preK-teen)
- Gifts for Teachers (from the perspective of a former teacher, with input from current teachers)
- Best Gifts for Unplugged Fun
- Gifts for Outdoor Adventures
- Gifts for Gadget Lovers
- Best Subscriptions for All Ages
- Gifts that Give Back
- Must-Have Gifts to Level Up Your Home Office
- 9 Gifts that Make it Easy for Families to Give Back
Samples were received to facilitate this post and affiliate links are included. No compensation was received for this post or hosting this giveaway and all opinions are my own. Images courtesy of the companies featured.