There are two types of people in this world: dog owners who are so in love with their four-legged friends that they understand Barbra Streisand’s impulse to clone her dog — and everyone else. If you fall into that latter category, or are even, God forbid, a cat person, it can be tricky to find a holiday gift for the dog lover in your life that they’ll actually find useful. But even the most serious dog parents can always use some help finding unique, fun dog gifts that go beyond the regular old treats, toys, and travel accessories.
We spoke with 35 dog trainers, groomers, and owners about the best dog gifts they’ve ever received and their go-to gift ideas for dog lovers. Below, 68 of their favorites that are sure to please dogs of all sizes and persuasions (and those dogs’ parents). To make the list even easier to shop, we’ve arranged the items by category; click on any link below to jump straight to that section.
Dog toys and treats
When former Strategist senior writer Karen Iorio Adelson asked experts about how to exercise a dog indoors, three of them recommended these balls. Shelby Semel, the founder of Shelby Semel Dog Training, says they are a great way for dogs to burn off energy and get mental stimulation. The ones shown are small, but Amazon also sells bigger versions of the Ultra Ball for larger dogs.
Complete the gift with a Chuckit launcher, which designer Heron Preston uses “all day, every day at the park.” The plastic tool helps you throw farther, and allows you to handle the ball from an arm’s distance after it sloshes through a mud puddle: “The balls can get kind of gross, so with this thing, you don’t have to touch it,” Preston says.
If your gift recipient has nice possessions that a bouncy ball could topple, Dr. Jennifer Coates, a veterinary expert at Chewy, told Adelson about this soft dog toy that “doesn’t bounce or roll” but can still be thrown and used for tugging. It’s machine-washable and designed to withstand heavy play.