7 Tips for Buying Holiday Gifts for Pets

If there’s a beloved pet in your life, chances are good that he earned a well-deserved spot on the Nice List this year.

So why not reward him with his own special gift this holiday season? Sure, we all know it’s the thought the counts—but gift giving is a lot more fun when the recipient truly loves what he’s getting (even if that recipient tends to be fond of slobber-covered toys…)

Whether you’re picking up a present for your favorite four-legged family member or selecting a hostess gift for a pal with a pup, these tips will help get your creative gift-giving juices flowing and promise to maximize wagging tails, full-body wiggles, and sloppy smooches from your pet.

The Infallible Edible Gift

Let’s be honest—the way to a pet’s heart is often through his stomach. A bag of your pet’s favorite treats is guaranteed to be met with enthusiasm—just be careful about where you keep the wrapped gift, as the pet might not be able to resist peeking at something that smells so delicious. Bonus: if you ration the treats, this is the gift that keeps on giving.

Get a Twin…

If the pet on your Nice List has an all-time favorite toy—think a beloved stuffy or the perfect rubber ball—your best bet may be to simply get a duplicate of the honored toy. Maybe you keep one ball at home and the other in the car for impromptu romps in the park—or you can hang onto it just in case the unthinkable happens and your pet loses or destroys his #1 toy.

…Or Maybe a Cousin?

Getting a duplicate is practical, but not exactly exciting. If you’d rather not get your pet’s favorite toy a twin, why not get it a cousin—in other words, something that’s vaguely in the same family but not exactly identical.

Look for something made out of the same materials as your pet’s fave (like a lambswool bone-shaped toy if he already loves his lambswool teddy) or that serves a similar purpose (like a new kind of ball for your fetch-fanatical retriever).

Think Long-Lasting and Distracting

The holidays can get a little nutty—but the right gift can help ensure your pet is happily distracted and tucked out of the way of the egg-nog-and-sugary-treat-fueled chaos. If your holidays tend to be filled with lots of hustle and bustle, pick a toy that will keep your pet engaged. This might be as simple as a Kong-type toy stuffed with peanut butter or some other treat. Look for something durable, especially for pets who tend to get overly destructive when there’s a lot going on.

Play to the Owner’s Tastes

If you’re buying a holiday gift for someone else’s pets, you might not have all the details on their favorite types of toys or treats. In this case, a safe choice is to pick something up that you know the owner will love—like a festive holiday bandanna or a leash with their favorite sports team’s logo. Accessories, such as dog bowls or placemats, can be a hit if you want to spoil both the pet and the owner.

Tug on Some Heartstrings

The holidays can be a sentimental time of year—we don’t blame you if you want to opt for a gift that elicits a few “awws”. Anything that solidifies the pet’s all-important place in the family is a winner, from a personalized ornament to a stocking embroidered with his name. A beautifully framed picture is a sure bet (especially if you’re able to sneak in a photo-shoot ahead of time that captures the pet from all his best angles!), or you can commission a local artist to sketch a rendering of the pet’s portrait.

Make It Custom

Your four-legged friend is special—and his gift should be, too. Something personalized is fun to give, whether you’re spoiling your own pet or a friend’s. You’d be surprised at how many pet-related things you can get personalized—from a snazzy new tag for his collar to an edible treat with his name written on it to a dog toy that looks exactly like the dog you’re giving it to. The pet on your gift list is surely one of a kind—so why shouldn’t his present be, too?

Meet the Author: Magee Walker

Magee Walker was a late bloomer to the snowboard scene, but thankfully discovered the joys of the sport after moving to Vancouver and spending weekends in Whistler. She's now lucky enough to call Whistler her full-time home, and spends her days conquering the mountain, by foot in the summer and by snowboard boot in the winter.

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