Holidays and birthdays are great times to show our furry four-legged friends how much they mean to us. All dogs get bored and crave a variety of activities to stretch their legs and their minds. Most of these gifts will benefit pet owners as well. After all, spending quality time with your dog enriches both of your lives.
Gifts That Will Get Your Dog Moving
Tug-of-war rope toys – a great way to interact with your dog. Make sure the end of the rope that you hold has enough length to create some distance between you and your dog’s teeth!
Throwing balls – it can be a tennis ball or some type of rubber ball. It should be big enough to carry in their mouth but not small enough to swallow. They also sell ball throwers that are typically made out of plastic and can launch a ball further than the average arm can throw (and cuts down on how much slobber you have to touch).
Chewing toys like Nylabone or Kong – they come in varying strengths, but you can usually find some that are pretty indestructible for the aggressive chewers.
Gifts to Stimulate Your Pup’s Mind
Puzzle feeders/mats – effectively slows down mealtime gobblers and gets their brains working at the same time. PetMD recommends them because dogs can “hunt” for their dinner, which ends up being a plus for their body weight and mind.
Puzzle toys – you can put treats inside of them and let your dog figure out how to get them out. A few even come with squeaky toys inside that your fuzzy BFF will surely want to retrieve. A note of caution – the squeakers inside toys do pose a choking hazard and you will want to monitor this playtime activity.
A Great Gift to Keep Your Dog Healthy
Dog beer – yes, you read correctly. Crafty Beasts Brewing offers non-alcoholic and all-natural beef bone broth for your canine. Fetch Canine Pale Ale and Unleashed Hydrating Energy Brew are both made from unsalted beef bone broth which contains essential nutrients. You can order a six pack for your four-legged best friend at our shop.
Gifts for the Pet Parent(s)
Elevated food & water bowls – a must-have for medium to large dogs, particularly those with mobility issues as it puts less strain on the back and hips. We should mention, as Dr. Karen Becker, DVM, points out in her pros and cons article, that raised bowls are not recommended for dog breeds prone to bloat.
Collapsible dog bowls – if you like walking along the beach, taking your fur companion on hikes, or going to a dog park for a romp session with their four-legged besties, then a collapsible water bowl is a convenient way to make sure your dog is getting enough water.
Harness – large dogs can be hard to control on a regular lead, particularly if they are pullers, because big dogs are often very strong. One way to improve the amount of control the dog walker has is to fit them with a harness. They come in all shapes and sizes, and some are easier to put on than others, so we recommend taking your pooch to the store with you to try them on.
Paw protection like wax or booties – protect the pads of your pooch’s paws from ice, snow, salt, sand, and hot pavement by rubbing wax on the pads, particularly if they won’t sit still long enough to put on footwear.
Reflective or LED collars for night walking – if you ever walk your dog in early morning hours or after the sun goes down, increase your dog’s visibility with a collar that reflects a car’s headlights or a collar with built-in LED lights so you can’t miss them. You might want to throw on a reflective vest yourself.
Gifts That Should Stay on the Shelves
Retractable leashes – there are proponents of retractable leashes because they allow a dog freedom to roam. However, they have the potential to cause serious damage if your dog regularly runs ahead and is then yanked back by reaching the end of the retractable line. Dogs can sustain neck and leg injuries, not to mention nerve damage. They are not something Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM, recommends using due to the risks.
Rawhide bones – Rodney Habib discusses the whole process of creating a rawhide chew stick, which is grisly enough. But common sense will tell you that the softer the bone gets, the easier it is for your dog to tear into pieces, and those chewed pieces could end up lodged in their throat or in the digestive tract.
Toys that have string, ribbon, rubber bands, fillings/stuffings or are too small for bigger dogs can all pose a hazard according to the Humane Society. Soft toys can be dangerous depending on how aggressive your dog likes to play as no toy is truly indestructible and a toy ripped to shreds without supervision can be disastrous.
There are a lot of products on the market that you and your four-legged companion can use together to create a bonding experience that’s fun and good for them. Read reviews before going to the pet store and do some research to find out what works best for the breed, age and activity level that is similar to your canine.