I admit that I am one of those dog Moms that gets christmas gifts for her dogs. I don't have any kids (yet) so I really enjoy spoiling my dogs during the holiday season. I'm not made of money, however, so when it comes to gift giving I am usually on a budget. I usually like to mix it up from year to year and I try to include family member's dogs by baking some homemade dog cookies to pass out or gifting a cute little stuffy toy that I found somewhere. I'm also all for practical gift giving; I figure my dogs are the same way. Who wants to get a lame Christmas gift that you have no idea what to do with, right?
As Christmas approached this year it got me to thinking about other dog parents and what they do for their furry friends for the holiday season. It inspired me to list a couple products that are all sold on Amazon that are not only a reasonable cost, BUT are also great gift ideas for any dog. Each one of these things I currently own and use on a regular basis.
1.) Bob-A-Lot by Starmark-- Small: $11.99 or Large: $16.89
I absolutely LOVE this thing! I have both the small and large sizes. There are other products similar to this one out there, but I keep coming back to the bob-a-lot because it allows me to adjust the size of the opening where the treats fall from. This makes it easier for me because I can customize depending on what treats/kibble I am using. Its also quite durable so even when Harley knocks it around attempting to get kibble out it doesn't crack or break. I will bust this out on rainy days, or times where my dogs are stuck inside and it's a great game to get some of their excess energy out. The Bib-a-Lot gets an A+ in my book for mental stimulation!
2.) Kong Classic -- Sizes S - XXL; prices range from $5.50 to $17.76
Kong has a lot of different products, but the kong classic is one of my favorites. It's so versatile whether you use it as a fetching toy for your dog, or as an interactive treat dispensing toy. Because I have lots of dogs in my home on a regular basis my favorite thing to do is mix up different stuffing recipes and then freeze them and dispense them during quiet times so my dogs have something to look forward too during down time. Kong brand is well known, and a quality product, so they can be a bit expensive but it's worth every penny! Usually I can find a deal where I save a few bucks if I buy several at a time. I would recommend getting the black colored kongs as those are built for more exuberant chewers. I have several black and red colored kongs and even though the red is usually tough enough for my own dogs, I notice that they start to break down and wear faster than the black. Granted, I've had my red kongs for probably going on 7-8 years so they have lasted a long time. They are dish washer safe too!
3.) Slow Feeder Bowl -- Varying kinds ranging from $5.98 to $12.99
Ok, so I'm starting to notice that all options so far have been related to your dog's food, but trust me all these products are so worth it! I discovered slow feeder bowls several years ago when my shepherd/husky rescue mix, Harley, would gobble down his whole meal in one breath and practically swallow it whole. I figured that couldn't be good for him so I started researching options of how to feed him so he could slow down. There are so many different kinds of slow feeder bowls and they come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes. Even if you don't have a dog that eats too fast it's a great mental stimulation game for them to "figure out" how to get all the kibble out of the bowl. JW and Outward Hound have been my favorite brands so far, but there are some other great ones out there. The one thing to remember is make sure you get the bowl that is the right size for your dog! If you get a bowl that is big enough that your dog can fit their entire snout down inside then you've defeated the whole purpose of the slow feeder bowl. If the bowl is too big then they can still grab whole mouthfuls of food and eat quickly.
4.) Chuckit Launcher -- under $15
Up until I adopted Chex a couple years ago, I never really discovered how fun it was to play fetch with a dog because it wasn't really my dog's thing. Now that I have Chex, who LOVES playing fetch, I have purchased a Chuckit launcher. Why? Two words for you: slobbery ball. Yuck! I would much rather pick up the ball NOT using my hands if at all possible. The Chuckit makes it so that I can still enjoy playing with my dog(s) without having to touch the disgusting ball. They come in various lengths as well as ball sizes which makes it SUPER easy to customize to whatever size works best for your dog.
5.) Flirt Pole -- Small - $27.99 or Large $28.99
This thing is fabulous! It's basically a giant cat toy for your dog. Its a really great way to exercise your dog if taking them out for long walks isn't always an option and you don't have a big yard. Utilizing this toy gives also gives ample chances for practicing impulse control and commands such as "drop it" and "give." I bought the large size and use it for Chex (who is around 15lbs) as well as my larger dogs (30+ lbs) and it works great for all. I very frequently board reactive dogs in my home, and it's my first go too when I know they need to blow off some steam but there will be too many triggers on a walk in the neighborhood for that dog at the time. The only bad thing about this particular flirt pole is that the cord is elastic, so, if your dog does not have a solid drop it command, it could spring back and hit you in the face. I suggest stepping on the cord when your dog grabs it while you're teaching them to give or drop it to avoid injury. It's also super easy to make your own flirt pole out of PVC pipe, rope, and a homemade dog rope toy at the end too if the elastic cord is a deal breaker.
6.) Treat Pouch -- $14.95
Ok, so maybe this one is technically for you, BUT, it holds goodies for your dog so they benefit from it too. I have several different treat bags but this one is one of my favorites because it's so versatile. It holds a lot of treats, has a special compartment to pull one poop bag out at a time, has a couple secure zipper pockets for keys or valuables and a pouch for dog ball/toy/phone or what-have-you. It also has 3 different ways to secure it to you: clipping it onto your pants pocket/waistband, or it has a belt strap that can either be used like an over the shoulder bag, OR around the waist. It's just all around fabulous! Did I mention that it comes in pink?!
All my dogs are anxiously awaiting Christmas Day so they can finally see what goodies are waiting for them underneath the tree. Unfortunately, they already have all these things, so I'm going to have to come up with something new that will blow their socks off!!!