It’s almost Thanksgiving, and while that used to just mean turkey, gravy, and all the fixings, now—more often than not—it also means the start of the holiday shopping season. I can’t help you figure out what to get for the humans on your shopping list, but I do have some recommendations for gifts for your pets. My ideas go beyond sparkly leashes and brand-new collars, to items that I’ve used myself and believe can really help your pet thrive. I wanted to share them with you, because after all, what could be better than helping your best buddy live their happiest, healthiest life this holiday season?
Our Portuguese Podengo, Motley, is a rambunctious, grab-life-by-the-horns, take-no-prisoners kind of guy. He’s one of those dogs that seems to constantly be in motion (except between about 2 and 4 PM, which—and he takes this very seriously—he considers time for napping). He’s into everything, he’s curious about everything, and he’s always getting himself into some sort of mischief. For Motley, and for dogs like him, the Animal Scents Ointment is really handy to have on hand. It’s designed specifically for animals, and it uses essential oils and other safe, gentle ingredients to provide a soothing and protective salve for the inevitable cuts and scrapes that dogs like Motley get. Now, we certainly don’t use it on every little thing, but it’s handy for those cuts that might need a little extra something. It’s reasonably priced, too, which is a big plus. I mean, Manuka honey is a great ointment to have on hand too, but if you get real Manuka honey, it’s incredibly expensive. Animal Scents Ointment is an affordable alternative that gets the job done. So, if you have a dog like Motley, you might consider putting some Animal Scents Ointment in his or her stocking this year. You know—just in case. Check it out here.
If you’re looking for a safe, gentle, effective way to get your dog clean, Young Living’s Animal Scents Shampoo is a great option. I don’t generally bathe my dogs (shameless plug for raw diets here: my dogs are raw fed, which means they don’t have that “doggy odor”), but if you live somewhere that affords your dog the opportunity to get dirty, or if you notice a “doggy odor” that just isn’t pleasant, this is a great shampoo to use. In fact, it’s the only one I use when I do have to bathe my dogs (after a hike that results in muddy paws and bellies, for example). It’s made with essential oils and other natural ingredients, and it’ll get the job done without being overly harsh on your dog’s coat or skin. OK, as I think about it, maybe this is more of a gift for you than for your dog, but that’s alright—you deserve it! You can take a look at the Animal Scents Shampoo here.
If you’re still buying Nylabones or rawhide chews, there’s a better, safer alternative. Unfortunately, rawhide and Nylabones can cause dangerous blockages for your dog (in some cases, these blockages can result in death). Luckily, there are great alternatives; my favorite is antlers. In fact, that’s the only real chewing option we offer in our house. They last forever (seriously—they last for a long, long time), even with vigorous chewing. Our dogs love them, and they’re a safe way for them to satisfy their urge to chew. While antlers can be a bit pricey, their longevity makes up for it. And, you may be able to find them for less than you might in your local Petco or PetsMart. One place to try is the Grande Natural Antler Company, here.
Just like us, our animals sometimes get out of alignment. They may have pulled too hard on their leashes and gotten out-of-whack in their backs or their necks. They may have been running and playing and tripped or stumbled and gotten a little “off.” They may have jumped down from something (the car, perhaps, or the bed) and landed wrong. There are lots of reasons why your dog might need an adjustment. It’s a great idea to have them regularly checked out by an animal chiropractor, no matter what age they are. So, in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, consider setting aside some time to make an appointment with an animal chiropractor to help get your dog aligned and thriving. You can find an animal chiropractor by clicking here.
While it might surprise you to see the Chuckit! on this list, I couldn’t leave it out. If your dog loves to play fetch and you haven’t given the Chuckit! a try, you’re missing out. It’s inexpensive, it helps you throw your dog’s ball further (which means they’ll get tired further), and it keeps you from having to touch a slimy, dirty, gross ball. I have some friends who use their Chuckit! when they’re BBQing or just sitting outside and enjoying a glass of wine; they love it because they can play with their dog without getting their hands dirty, which means they can continue to enjoy their food or wine while they play with her. Plus, you don’t have to bend over as much to get the ball; if you have any back issues, this can be a life-saver. So, even though it’s been around for a while, I had to include it here. If you haven’t already, get your dog a Chuckit!, and then get ready for the most fun you’ve ever had playing fetch with your dog.
I know most of the items on here are for dogs, but lots of people who have dogs also have cats. I can’t leave my furry feline friends out, so this is an idea just for them. While you may not realize it, cats can experience something called whisker stress when they eat out of bowls that aren’t wide enough for their whiskers. If your cat tends to pull food out of their bowl and then drop it next to their bowl, and then (and only then) eat it…and in the process, leave bits of food scattered all over, or if they just eat a little bit off the top of the bowl and then beg for more (even though there’s plenty more in the bowl), then they may be experiencing whisker stress. You can read more about it here, but if your cat fits these signs, then luckily, the fix is simple. Get a bowl that’s wide enough and shallow enough for them to stick their whole heads in without smashing their whiskers up against the side. Dr. Catsby’s Food Bowl for Whisker Relief, available here, is perfect for this (you can also just find a shallow, wide bowl to use, but hey, we’re in gift-idea mode here!).
One of the highlights of the holiday season, at least in my opinion, is all the yummy food that goes along with it. And as beloved members of our families, our dogs shouldn’t be left out of all that deliciousness. But, since our goal is helping our dogs thrive, why not give them treats that are nutritious as well as delicious?
Pet parents constantly ask me what sort of treats I recommend, and so I’m always on the hunt for products that I can share with them. And this summer, I was at a trade show and came upon these treats. I was impressed, and after letting my dogs taste test them, I’m happy to report that they seemed impressed too.
Hare of the Dog Rabbit Treats (go for the 100% rabbit options, not the rabbit and sweet potato blends) are made with a single ingredient—rabbit—and come in a variety of sizes and shapes. They make great training treats, or just a nice little goodie to give your dog while you enjoy that slice of pumpkin pie. Rabbit is lean, full of nutrients, and is an “exotic” protein that generally doesn’t cause allergic reactions. Bottom line: if you’re looking for a fun new treat to give your dog, these might be just the ticket! You can get them on Amazon, and you can also view them here.
Ok, I couldn’t leave this list with just one treat suggestion. Variety is the spice of life, and that goes for treats too, especially this time of year. So, another great holiday idea for your dog: bully sticks. They come in a wide variety of sizes, and can be straight, braided, rounded, and so on. They’re made of 100% beef pizzle, are high in protein, and are a big hit with every dog I’ve ever seen. You can find them at pet stores or online. One great resource is Best Bully Sticks, found here.
The right equipment makes all the difference. And for taking your dog out on walks and runs, the right harness is vital. Using a harness means there’s no pressure on your dog’s thyroid or neck, which is great for their overall long-term longevity and health. This harness has clips in the front (if your dog is a puller) and at the top (if they aren’t). It’s padded and comes in a wide variety of colors and sizes, with 4 different points of adjustment for just the right fit. If your dog needs a new harness, or if you’ve never used a harness, it’s worth checking this one out (you can see it by clicking here).
There are few things more fun—for people or their dogs—than going for a bike ride in the great outdoors. The Walky Dog PLUS Bike Leash (along with a padded harness) lets you do this safely. I’ve fostered more dogs than I can count in my life, and I’ve used the Walky Dog PLUS Bike Leash with almost all of them. I’ve used it with my own pack too. The design ensures that you can safely and comfortably take your dog out for a ride without worrying about them pulling the bike over, getting tangled up in the wheels, crossing in front or behind of the bike, or pulling some other unexpected and dangerous maneuver that would probably result in a crash—even if they aren’t “leash trained” (and trust me, most of my fosters weren’t, when I first got them), or they spot a cat or a squirrel or another dog and lunge towards it. It’s easy to install, fits most bikes, and there’s almost no learning curve (for you or your dog). If you want to start enjoying bike rides with your best friend safely, this is the best option I’ve found to do it. Note that you should never use the Walky Dog PLUS Bike Leash with a collar, only a harness (I use the Hurrta Active Harness, available here). You can check out the Walky Dog PLUS Bike Leash here.
So, there you have it: 10 great holiday gift ideas that will help your pet thrive throughout the season and beyond. I hope you enjoyed the list (and before I forget, let me just say that I get no financial compensation from any of the companies for highlighting them and their products here—I just think these are all quality products that can make a positive difference in your dog’s life). Happy holidays!
By Kristin Clark, MA, CSAN
Editor-in-Chief, Raw Pet Digest
Founder, Raw Pets Thrive Movement