I have a theory that buying presents for your dog is an act of self-care. Hear me out: Nothing beats the naked glee on a dog's face when you unwrap a new toy and present it to him or her with a flourish. Better yet, you get to bask in the smug feeling that you are the cause of that much joy. Which makes me the perfect person to talk about the best gifts to buy for your dog (in my biased opinion) because I've long been hooked on the high of buying presents for my dog for no reason at all. Hi, my name is Jenny, and I have a problem.
Sure, your dog doesn't really understand what a present is. (Or, your friend's dog, your grand-dog, your god-dog-son, your friendly neighborhood dog—there are lots of good boys and girls out there to buy gifts for.) But you do, just like you know that this dog deserves the whole world and then some. Whether you're buying a gift for your dog, or for your own self-care and using your dog as a proxy (I repeat: totally a thing), here are some tried-and-tested products your pup will love.
Think of Fi as a FitBit for your dog, with the added benefit of peace of mind for you if they ever get lost. It's weirdly hard to find a good dog tracking collar, but Fi ticks a lot of the boxes: It counts your dog's steps, uses GPS to track their exact location at all times, alerts you when your dog is out of a "safe" zone of your choosing (let's say, your yard), and has a decent battery life (mine needs to be charged once a month or so).
Oh, come on. You don't need me to tell you why this is adorable. It's a box of dumplings. With little dumpling faces. For your dog. I mean...!
I can vouch for this one: My dog spends all day on this bed, and it's not like he doesn't have options (he has two other dog beds, a big cozy sofa, and, of course, my own bed). Thanks to my dog cam, I can watch him sleep the day away on this bed, and I'd be lying if I said I hadn't crawled in once or twice. It's just...really...comfortable.
Whether you're in a pool, taking a dip in the sea, or riding on a boat, the opportunities for your dog are endless with this mermaid life jacket. And by opportunities, I mean Instagram opportunities.
This new line of products comes from cbdMD, which makes both an oil and chewy vitamins that I often use, so I was intrigued. These dog chews are delicious (I assume; he likes them, at least), and they contain CBD, which relax your pup—I like to spread the cbdMD peanut butter on a treat before I leave for work so he doesn't freak out.
I held out a long time before I subscribed to BarkBox. There were bills to pay, budgets to stick to, credit cards to pay off—did I really need a subscription to this dog products box? Yes. Yes, I did, I eventually determined. Because it's not about me. My dog is obsessed with this monthly themed box of goodies, which contain toys and treats galore. Who was I to say no? (Also, they start at $22/month!)
This is a heated dog bed. A heated. dog. bed. The in-built heater (which you can remove in the summer) keeps the bed cozy for your pup all day long, but only really warms up (enough to match your dog's body temperature) when he or she gets in. If your dog is a little older and suffers from joint problems or other chronic pain, the warmth might be especially soothing.
This GoSaintYourself prayer candle, featuring my dog Skipper, is everything I could have dreamed and then some. I got to pick from a variety of prayer candles, inscribe his name in religious-looking script at the bottom—that part isn't shown in the photo, but it's fantastic—and they did such a great Photoshop job that I could hardly tell between my dog and an actual monk. And it was less than $30!
Look me in the eye and tell me this collection isn't the cutest thing you've ever seen. Imagine the Instagram opportunities! (I see you hitting that SHOP IT button. It's fine.)
What to give the dog that has everything? A rose gold leash made of lightweight leather sourced from Spain, that's what. This Fable leash (which you can get as part of a matching walking set if you so please) is designed with a "no-pain" philosophy: it helps curb bad behaviors without hurting or choking your pup.
I'm low-key obsessed with Wild One, a new pet apparel line that prides itself on being simple, well-built, and gorgeous. Dog basics tend to fall into two categories: Cheap and kitschy, or completely out of your price range (a $1,700 Gucci dog bag, anyone?). Wild One is a mid-market label that sells only nine products—one harness, one leash, one poop bag carrier, etc.—but every item is aesthetically stunning and built to last. If this dog carrier is too small to house your pup, I also love Wild One's chunky flex-poly collar.
When your dog has a hot date, or you're just really tired of stinky breath, try these I and Love and You bones. They'll give your pup something to chew on (quite literally), and leave him or her with minty-fresh breath. Something to prep your dog with before you introducing him or her to your partner's parents, for example—nobody wants to be that smelly dog's owner, amiright?
I first spotted the Shed Defender on Shark Tank, but I don't know whether its founders got a deal or not because I was too busy buying one on my phone. Originally designed to stop your dog from shedding in the car, on the couch, and, well, everywhere else, the Shed Defender people quickly learned that dogs also love the feel of it. The snug fit is thought to reduce your dog's anxiety—like the ThunderShirt, but cuter. My dog wears it to sleep, like adorable doggie pajamas. The onesie comes in nine colors and an impressive range of sizes. Bonus: My lint roller and vacuum cleaner are well-rested.
The iFetch is designed to play "fetch" with your dog so you don't have to get up from the couch, which makes it a gift for your dog and for yourself! The kettle-shaped gadget spits out tiny tennis-like balls to a distance of up to 30 feet, or as close as 10 feet if you're playing indoors. If your dog has a thing for digging, there's also an iDig.
Sure, you could buy an $180+ camera specifically designed to monitor your dog while you're at work...or (life hack alert!) you could just use the "Drop In" feature on Echo Spot. With "Drop In," you can video-chat your dog while you're at work, brunch, etc. (Word to the wise: Your dog will not get over how weird it is when your face and voice suddenly appears on this spherical screen, screeching, "I'll be home soon!")
Whether after the rain (bad), the bath (worse), or rolling in the mud (all-time worst!!), this lovely "dog robe" will keep your pet cozy while he or she dries off. Also, your damp pup won't leave dog butt–shaped wet patches everywhere.
If you rescued or adopted your dog, you probably don't know exactly what breed he or she is. Annoying, since a stranger asks you what kind of dog you have every single time you're walking him. (Brooklyn, I'm looking at you.) The Embark DNA test is on my Christmas list both for myself and for everyone I know with a dog, because I can't imagine a better gift than having a firm answer for these well-meaning passers-by. You just swab the inside of your dog's cheek and send the sample off for testing; you'll get your digital DNA results (complete with a dog family tree!) just a couple weeks later.
If you have the square-footage, you can get a dog house so your pup (or pups) have a space to call their own. Many dogs like a small, dark, cuddly space to spend their downtime in—it's a holdover from their time as wild animals, and also why crate training is so effective—so why not gift them, you know, an actual mini-home?
I have spent more money on dog toys of the "please stop bugging me so I can take a nap" variety than I care to admit. This one keeps my high-energy pup occupied the longest. You just toss some good-smelling snacks into the toy, twist it closed, and hand it over to your dog, who will spend the next God-knows-how-many-hours trying to twist it open. Dogs don't have opposable thumbs (ha!), so this is hard to do, meaning you can get plenty of good nap time in.
If you're a cyclist, you know that it's tricky to take your dog for a spin with you unless he or she fits in a small backpack. Which is why you should get a dog stroller. You can attach it to any bike, and bring your pup along for the ride wherever you go. Because what are you if not your dog's full-time chauffeur?
It feels deeply unfair that such a delicious-looking cupcake was formulated specifically for dogs and not for humans, but if you can stand the jealousy, it might be the prettiest thing your pup ever eats.
This modern dog house is utterly ridiculous, and I love it. Crafted in Germany and inspired by Bauhaus architecture (lol), it's made from varnished wood and glass panels. Did I mention it'll set you back a casual $4,000?
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