Written by Anna Hollisey
It's December which means Christmas is coming. Whether you're a last minute shopper or you like to have everything wrapped by September, don't forget your most faithful companion.
From personalized bowls to cozy jumpers, the market’s bursting with gift ideas for dogs. We can’t wait to share the best ones with you. Are you on a budget this year? Check out our present ideas which don’t cost a dime, too!
From tug-of-war reindeer to refillable Christmas trees, the range of Christmas dog toys is astounding. We’re not surprised… we love spoiling our dogs at this time of year!
To avoid wasting money on unloved toys, it’s not exciting but it’s wise to pick a festive upgrade of your dog’s regular favorite. You can buy Christmassy Kong frisbees or holiday-themed plush toys. Tip: If your dog is a shredder, choose a holiday toy without stuffing – the Kong Knots range will save your carpet and your sanity.
To keep it green or make it more budget friendly, organize an unloved toy swap between your friends (or even local community). Our dogs all have the odd toy they’ve never shown any interest in and doesn’t have a single tooth mark. But that toy they didn’t love might become another dog's favorite.
Did you know that rawhide chews are not good for puppies or dogs with sensitive stomachs? Try an alternative such as a pig’s ear, bully stick or ‘moon bone’ (beef cartilage). It’s important to get the right size for your dog and to supervise them while they are enjoying their chew. For the best advice tailored to your dog, ask in your local pet store.
We are big fans of puzzle toys – not just at Christmas but all year round! From brilliant problem-solving challenges (look up one of our favorites – Nina Ottosson) to Kong treat balls or spirals, most of them are designed to reward clever thinking with treats. They’re great for entertaining busy puppies as well as older dogs, whose brains will benefit from regular stimulation. If your dog is new to this type of toy, start them on a Level 1 challenge and progress from there.
You can even make your own snuffle mat - check out this video from the Bishop Animal Shelter. It’s easy, doesn’t have to cost a fortune and we're sure your dog will appreciate the handmade effort.
If your dog has been very good this year, perhaps they deserve a Dog Advent Calendar, with treats each day until Christmas? Or if that seems indulgent, try baking up some homemade treats! After all, paws can’t open little doors – and they’ll love a jar of crunchy chicken biscuits. Keep reading for our Festive Treat recipe.
On the big day we like sharing some of our Christmas dinner with the dogs (roast turkey, boiled potatoes, and sugar-free sweet potato casserole), but you can also buy speciality meals, including options for gluten-intolerant or sensitive dogs. Add one to your grocery shopping and stash it away for the big day.
Your dog won’t realize that Christmas is just one day and will enjoy sharing in the household excitement around the 25th. They love spending time with you – so bring them to choose your fir tree and visit friends and family during the holidays. For these occasions, you could consider some festive accessories…
Fun for dogs who get cold quickly, particularly if you want to have a traditional ‘matching family’ portrait. If you’re seriously committed, you could get the pics printed up to make Christmas cards.
They might look adorable, but they’re not just a trend. If you get a lot of snow and ice during winter, dog boots will protect your dog’s paws (especially if your dog gets ice stuck between their toes) as well as chemical de-icers (which aren’t paw-friendly and shouldn’t be licked off).
This makes a sensible gift, particularly for older dogs whose joints may be starting to ache. Consider memory foam – it warms and fits the body shape, providing customized spine support (just like for humans). Fancy pooches might love their own ‘couch’ – a raised dog bed. It can be expensive but, if you need an excuse to splurge, it’s also beneficial for joints (being raised from the cold floor).
Is a stylish gift for your dog. You’ll find these on Etsy, where you can support a small business at the same time. Did you know that plastic bowls can disintegrate and leave micro-plastics in your dog’s food? Steel or ceramic are cleaner options. If your dog is a fast eater, choose a ‘slow food’ bowl – it contains obstacles for them to eat around.
If you (or someone you know) has a die cutter like a Cricut or a Silhouette, you could create your own customizations. Good quality permanent adhesive vinyl will happily go through the dishwasher when done correctly.
Now we’ve covered some of the best gifts for your dog, what will they be giving you this year? Of course, unconditional love is a given. But if you feel like you deserve a dog-to-owner gift, how about…
We saved our favorites for last!
Dogs get bored when they walk the same route all the time so something new will thrill dogs who love to explore. Get yourself a guidebook and track down a local walk. Time spent with you is probably your dog’s all-time favorite thing. Bonus points if there’s a lake or woods along the way!
This is essential for pampered pooches. And it’s easy to make using a large rectangle of felt; fold in half and draw a stocking shape, then cut out and sew together using a machine or blanket stitch. (No need to finish the edges as felt doesn’t fray.) If you want to hang it up, insert a ribbon loop into the seam at the top edge. Decorate it using a fabric marker, hot glue gun and pom-poms or ric-rac. Fill it with a new ball or rope toy and your dog’s favorite treats – or try our recipe below.
These can be cooked up using fat from your roast turkey. But if you want to get ahead, just scrape the tray after cooking a chicken (or any joint of meat). They’re not actually free, but the ingredients are not expensive and make plenty. These wholesome ‘cookies’ keep for weeks in an airtight jar.
Rub fat and rosemary into flour; add egg and milk and knead to make a smooth dough. Roll to 1” thick and cut into shapes (we like stars). Bake at 350 Fahrenheit for about 25 minutes. Cool and store in an airtight jar.