Christmas can be a great excuse to splash out and spoil your pet (not that we need much of an excuse) and a lot of dog owners like to give their dogs a gift to unwrap on Christmas Day. Have you stepped inside a pet store recently? There are whole isles of Christmas themed items for dogs! They’ve been in store since the start of November but I’ve been holding off writing this until now, for me Christmas is December.
Therefore I’ve put together this list of my top Christmas gifts for dogs to give you some practical ideas.
Walk into Sainsburys, Pets at Home, Tesco, etc and you’ll see dog stockings for sale. They all come filled with a variety of different treats, toys and goodies. I personally like Pedigree treats and they do their own brand of stocking that is widely available.
These can be a great, quirky way of getting festive with your dog and stocking (pardon the pun) up their supply of treats.
Dogs in clothing can be a bit of a dividing topic, however I am completely okay with dogs wearing coats or jumpers as long as the dog is happy, it’s for a suitable breed of dog and the product is safe. I do draw the line at hats and tutus though.
If you have a breed of dog that feels the chill, or maybe an older dog, a Christmas jumper can be both festively cheery and practical. Dogs such as Staffordshire Bull Terriers and Whippets have very thin fur and therefore feel the cold more than others, such as German Shepherds for example.
Make sure that you give your dog lots of treats as you put the jumper on for the first time and only leave it on them for short periods at a time to start with. Also consider if you are leaving it on them while inside, as they will normally be warm enough with your central heating on. Some dogs will be completely happy to wear a jumper so that’s cool with me! I’m just a little jealous that my big, fluffy, will-happily-lie-outside-in-the-snow Border Collie is obviously never going to wear a jumper.
A festive collar
From time to time your dog’s collar will need replacing when it starts getting a bit yucky or frayed. Some people have a few different collars for their dogs and while I used to think this was a little stupid (a dog only needs one collar right) it’s actually not such a bad idea. There are lots of Christmas and winter style designs out there so why not use this time of year to replace that manky collar they’ve had on for a while, or give that one a break and a wash while your dog enjoys a new festive collar!
Literally give the dog a bone. Roast bones are tasty and great for keeping your dogs teeth healthy and clean. I’ve been recommended the knuckle bones over other types of bones so it’s what I always go for and they’re pretty inexpensive. I give a small one to Guinness every so often and I’ve seen more of an improvement in the colour of his teeth from feeding him bones than I have from ever brushing his teeth! Plus it’s much more enjoyable for the dog. A good bone will keep them busy while you’re tucking into your sprouts on Christmas Day.
I’ve already talked about Christmas jumpers but a more practical alternative (or an addition) is a coat. A good quality waterproof coat for your dog can be quite expensive, so why not use Christmas as a reason to spend a little extra. It will keep the thin coated, more delicate dogs warm and dry during a wet walk and saves your long coated dogs from being soaking wet for the rest of the day.
I’ve recently bought the Hurtta torrent coat for Guinness to use when it is really lashing it down in winter. He wore it for the first time the other day and seemed perfectly happy charging around the fields. The majority of his body stayed bone dry, although his legs and head were still soaked and muddy of course.
Christmas doesn’t have to be about giving actual gifts, why not treat your dog to a bit of TLC instead. You could take them for a fun swim at a hydrotherapy pool or for a massage. Hydrotherapy is great exercise and a nice indoors way of tiring your dog out on a cold, rainy evening. Some dogs will also enjoy and feel the benefit from a good all body massage and it can be vital for keeping your dog in tip-top condition and looking out for any kinks or problems. This is important for all dogs, not just ones that do sports such as agility or flyball.
Make sure you get veterinary approval before booking your dog in, both hydrotherapy and massage treatments will require veterinary consent.
A nice walk
Christmas is a hectic time and often we’re so busy running around here there and everywhere that we just make do with taking the dog for the usual saunter round the block or down to the same fields for a quick run around. Give the dog a Christmas treat by setting aside a few hours to go somewhere nice. It may be a new place or just one of your favourite spots for a walk that takes a bit more time and effort getting there. Take the whole family or your best friend and just relax for a few hours, enjoying the fresh air and countryside. Your dog will thank you for it, plus (hopefully) be quite chilled out for the rest of the day, allowing you to crack on with gift wrapping, writing cards and decorating the Christmas cake! Or just cuddling up in front of the fire with a cup of hot chocolate and your favourite Christmas film!
You don’t have to go too extravagant to give the dog a Christmas present this year, in fact you don’t even need to buy them anything at all! Hopefully there is something on this gift guide for everyone, those that love splashing out, and those that just want to spend a few hours enjoying owning a dog.
Let me know what you’re giving your dog this Christmas by leaving a comment below and I’ll see you in the next post for our trick of the day.