Gifts are part of the fun of the holiday season—and, of course, that includes picking out the perfect presents for our precious pups. So we went to dog expert Julie Bank, CEO of Pasadena Humane Society in Pasadena, CA, for her tips on dog stocking stuffers. First off, Bank cautions, “Watch for toys with dangly pieces or parts that can easily be chewed off. All toys are destructible and pose a danger to your pet’s health if swallowed.” With that being said, “Toys are a great way to keep your dogs engaged, providing mental stimulation or even encouraging exercise.”
But with so many dog toys to pick from, playing Santa can feel a bit overwhelming. So here’s our holiday gift to you: a list of stocking stuffer ideas to pamper your pets and make them feel appreciated this holiday season. Your holiday shopping for dog stocking stuffers just got a whole lot easier.
Dog Stocking Stuffers
Pick up a Variety of Toys
Some pups gravitate towards plush dog toys; others like balls; some prefer rubber, notes Bank. So if you’re planning to buy your dog more than one toy this season, mix it up rather than buying just one type. If you own a small dog, try a Goody Box filled with a variety of toys and dog treats that make great dog stocking stuffers to satisfy his small dog needs. This is especially smart if you’ve just brought your dog home and don’t know his likes and dislikes very well yet.
Go Strong and Sturdy for Chewers
For safety’s sake, if you have big-time chewers, go for a tough toy, like a heavy rubber-based toy or a strong rope toy, advises Bank. You can also spoil your four-legged companion with the Nylabone DuraChew Dental Chew Dinosaur Dog Toy, which holds up well to powerful chewers.
Think Age-Specific Chew Toys for Puppies
“Puppies chew a lot!” says Bank. “During teething, it’s important to provide your puppy with appropriate dog chew toys. Look for puppy-specific teething toys, which tend to be sturdy, but a little softer than heavy-duty toys for adult dogs.”
Match the Toy With Your Dog’s Size
“A small toy for a large dog may present a choking hazard,” notes Bank. And on the other hand, large toys for small dogs will likely be too heavy or awkward to play with, causing them to avoid the toy—and your money to be wasted, Bank adds. For small breeds like Pugs and Yorkies, consider the PetSafe Busy Buddy Calming Dog Toy set in the small size. It can be filled with treats or dry kibble for your dog to sniff out, which will keep them happy and entertained. Parent to a big boy? Think about a toy such as the extra-large KONG Tugga Wubba for interactive play sessions. This durable toy can be used to play fetch or tug-of-war for a special bonding time with your pup.
Keep a Senior Dog’s Needs in Mind
“Older dogs may be less interested in toys than younger ones,” says Bank. “For senior pets, consider getting edible chews. Not only will edible chews keep your pet entertained, they are good for their teeth,” says Bank. A multivitamin designed to meet the needs of senior dogs also makes for a great stocking stuffer. By adding the VetriSceince Canine Plus Senior Multivitamin to your pet’s stocking, you will be giving them the gift of health and an improved quality of life.
Look Beyond Toys
Aside from toys, notes Bank, other great gifts for dogs of any age include treats, a new collar and ID tag, and a clip-on light for their collar. Here are a few ideas other than toys:
- The PetSafe Easy Walk Dog Harness is a practical yet stylish gift that comes in sparkly colors for a bit of holiday-season bling.
- The Blueberry Pet Dog Collar will add a touch of style to your pup’s everyday routine. Their fun prints will bring out the funky side in your canine companion and have them strutting their stuff on their walks.
- The Nite Ize SpotLit LED Collar Light is a smart and functional gift. It will draw all eyes onto your darling fur friend, making them visible to oncoming cars during your nightly walk.
- Blue Buffalo Health Bars are baked with bacon, egg and cheese, for a yummy Christmas morning treat for your pup.
Finally, Pamper Your Pet!
Just like the hectic holidays might make you yearn for a little TLC, the hubbub of the season can be just the right time to indulge your four-legged friend with a dog spa day. Create your very own pet spa vibe with these fun holiday dog stocking stuffers. And if you’re really serious about giving your dog the royal treatment, check out our tips on giving a doggy massage. Pamper your pet with these easy ideas:
- The Petmate Fur Buster 3-in-1 Dog Grooming Glove washes, massages and combs loose hair from your fur baby. This grooming glove will have your pup putting their best paw forward with a shiny, healthy coat this holiday season.
- Buddy Wash Relaxing Dog Shampoo & Conditioner is made from natural cosmetic-grade ingredients. It smells delightful with green tea, bergamot, sage and rosemary extracts, so that your pup can smell their best for your festive celebrations.
- Turn your kitchen into a pet salon with Dog Fashion Spa Crystal Nail File. Skip the clippers and pamper your pet with this gentle file made from crystal glass. It won’t wear down and helps reduce peeling and splintering.
- No time for dog grooming before your annual holiday soiree? Just a few sprays of Nootie Daily Spritz will stand in for a trip to the pet salon and have your pup smelling like Japanese cherry blossoms. Plus, it acts as a conditioner for your pup’s skin and coat.
Christina Vercelletto is a pet, travel and lifestyle content specialist and a former editor of Parenting, Scholastic Parent & Child, and Woman’s Day. She lives on Long Island with her Chiweenie, Pickles, and 20-pound Calico, Chub-Chub.