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 this holiday season, 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 know it's the holiday season. (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), or a combination of the two, here are some tried-and-tested products your pup will love.
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.
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!")
If you opt to buy an Echo Spot for this use, you also get all the benefits of having an Echo Spot. I use mine as a speaker to play Spotify; a virtual calendar that can tell me what I'm doing that day; and a super-lazy way to check the weather/time/whether I can actually feed my dog that part of my meal.
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.
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.
The moment I felt a chill in the air, I took to Amazon to find a top-rated jacket for my pup (I didn't have a winter coat for myself at the time, but, you know, priorities). This cute fleece-lined shirt comes with a detachable hood, just in case you have the kind of dog that tolerates wearing a hood (if so, I'm super jealous). It's cozy, machine-washable, and will match your own outfit if you're into buffalo check. Need I say more?
It's freezing cold out, but your dog loves to sniff and dig things up. What to do? May I present: the Snuffle Mat. You can even serve your dog its food via tossing it in, and your dog can "sniff out" its food and get a nice dose of mental exercise that way. Plus, it has an adorable name.
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?
Okay, this isn't a gift for your dog—your dog will hate this—but it is the best present you can get yourself if your dog has a tendency to behave badly. The collar is billed as the humane alternative to a shock collar (which zaps your dog with a low-level electric shock), because it sprays citronella in your dog's face instead. Fun fact: Dogs hate citronella.
I recommend this version, which comes with a remote you can use to either long-spray your dog (very bad!), short-spray your dog (quite bad!), or beep your dog (don't make me spray you!). It is incredibly effective. When my dog hears the beep, he jumps away from whatever he's doing or eating (oh, God, please not the spray!). Thank you, citronella collar gods.
Why shouldn't your dog get to enjoy the CBD boom, too? These treats are packed with phytocannabinoid-filled hemp oil, which will help relieve any pain your dog has, and also will make him or her feel really...really...relaxed.
You know what happens in the winter? It snows—maybe a little, maybe a lot, depending on where you live, but any amount of snow is very cold against your dog's bare paws. I mean, would you want to walk around in the snow barefoot? I don't think so. Enter these little KONG dog shoes. Bonus: They'll match the plaid jacket.
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.
If you think about it, it's actually pretty unfair that you get to dig into an entire turkey on Thanksgiving Day while your dog only gets the scraps. Fortunately, you can gift your pup this turkey-shaped chew toy to make him or her feel included in the festivities—but not the awkward conversations about politics.
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?
Hi? Hello? Anyone home? I'd like to drop off a gift for a very good boy, please.