Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone and you may be almost finished your holiday shopping. But if you are like 80% of people, your “best-friend” has a spot on your shopping list and you may not have purchased his gifts yet. Do you know what holiday gifts for dogs you are going to get? Are you going to buy the annoying squeaky toy shaped like a Christmas tree on special for $2 at the check-out line? You know, the one that will be a million pieces of plastic on the floor by lunchtime Christmas day? Or were you thinking of over-indulging your pooch with bones and treats shaped like candy-canes? Don’t forget that will lead to letting your dog out several times a night due to his upset stomach.
Think about giving your dog a gift he’ll enjoy for more than just Christmas day.
Here are the best 5 holiday gifts for dogs.
1. Toys, bones, treats
Most dogs enjoy new toys, bones, and treats. If you want to get a gift that keeps on giving throughout the year, check out www.barkbox.com. You pay anywhere from $19-24 a month and your dog gets a care package delivered right to your door step. This is a perfect gift, but you’ll have to be diligent about rotating your toys around and not just simply adding more toys to the toy bin each month! It’s important to change your dog’s toys to keep things interesting and fun for your dog. I recommend reading a blog I wrote just after Christmas last year for more ideas on keeping your dog interested and playing safely with all his toys. You can read it here.
Here are a few of my specific recommendations:
Toys: Paws Pet Boutique in Annapolis, MD, has a toy I love. It’s called a Monkey Fist and when I first saw it a few years ago, honestly, I thought it would only last my dog a few weeks before he shredded it. But, even though my dog at the time enjoyed tearing toys apart, he never even tried to destroy this toy and enjoyed it for years.
Bones: I do not like to give my dogs rawhides or any kind of bones that get really soft after being chewed on for fear of chucks being ripped off and a dog choking on them. I do, however, like my dogs to have hard bones to chew on and usually have some deer antler lying around. Make sure the bones are big enough so that your dog can’t try to swallow it (and I throw them away after they do start to get too small). Also, since I don’t want my dogs to chip any teeth, I discourage really hard chewing with their back molar teeth.
Treats: Please buy treats with really good quality ingredients. I have worked with so many dogs and the owners talk about the dog getting an upset stomach or diarrhea due to poor quality treats. I offer for sale to clients, and use with my dogs, Real Meat brand Jerky Bitz treats in a variety of flavors. They are soft, satisfy the pickiest of dogs, and don’t make a mess when you break them into smaller pieces.
2. Car Restraint System
If you don’t restrain your dog while you are driving, you should invest in a car restraint system. I have personally done a lot of research on this topic lately and plan on a blog post about it in the near future, so keep your eyes out for that. There is a lot of information out there and it can get pretty overwhelming. It all narrows down to this: crate your dog or have him in a seat belt restraint while you are driving. And, like with children, the safest place for your dog is out of the front seat. I use the Bergan Dog Auto Harness.
It’s normal for most people to think about getting help with dog training when they have a new puppy, and that is really important to get them started out on the right path. Most people don’t always think about training options for an older dog and the age-old myth gets stuck in some people’s mindset of “you can’t train an old dog new tricks.” It’s just not true. You can train any dog at any time. And what’s more is that you don’t have to train them tricks, either. Finding a trainer that will specialize in teaching your dog to have good manners is what will make the biggest difference for your dog. You can solve stubborn behavioral problems or become certified as a pet therapy team and either way your relationship with your dog will improve. When people focus on training, the end result is peace of mind and everyone- including your dog- is happier. We offer gift certificates for training packages of all levels and for people in any location. Click here to let us know you are interested.
Your dog has a loving home, he’s pampered and played with every day. Your dog is one of the lucky ones. Not all dogs have found their forever home yet and you can help support them. A donation in your dog’s name this holiday is a gift well matched for the intention of the season. I recommend donating to either of the following organizations:
I’m all about peace of mind, and microchipping your pet falls right into that category. If your pet is not already microchipped, that’s the gift you need to give this season. If anything were to happen to your pet, a microchip can help reunite you. They are so common now that vets or animal control will always look for that as a way to identify who the animal belongs to. And, of course, after your pet is microchipped, please be sure to keep your information in their database up to date. Take your dog to your local vet to get the chip or look for specials run frequently at places like a local pet store or a low cost spay/neuter clinic.
Enjoy this holiday season with your furry family and be safe. Enjoy choosing the holiday gifts for dogs you think will benefit your relationship. Let me know what gifts you plan on giving your dog under the Christmas tree.
Leave a comment below about what will be wrapped up for your pooch this year!
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