6 pawsome gift ideas for the dog lover in your life

6 pawsome gift ideas for the dog lover in your life

By Mark Robison

Mark Robison

At our house, dogs always get presents at Christmas. They probably love ripping open the packaging more than the present itself, but what can you do?

While looking for presents for our snuggly pit bull mix, I stumbled across some great ideas for Thoreau or for my wife, who has more dog shirts than anyone I’ve ever met. (A favorite T-shirt of hers says, “If you say it’s just a dog, I'll say you're just an idiot.”)

• Locally made candles: Rescued Wine Pet Candles caught my eye even before I saw they were hand-poured in Truckee. They were created by Craig Davies using no animal ingredients – the wax is from soy – and are scented with a calming mix of essential oils. The candles come in upcycled wine bottles. If that weren’t enough, Davies uses his success to help animal shelters.

• DNA test kit: Do you know someone who’d love to know what breeds went into their beloved mutt? Embark makes a highly rated DNA testing kit that lists for about $200 but you can usually find it for less – including when sold in multi-packs for those who have more than one pooch.

• Treat tossing by phone: With all the new ways you can control your house and spy on your dog via smartphone, it’s not surprising that someone has found a way to give your dog treats by phone. Enter the Furbo Dog Camera. It’s probably best for little dogs because the treats are small, but you can fill the contraption with treats and then, using your phone, it’ll spit one out to your dog remotely. As mentioned, it has a camera so you can watch your dog go for the treat. It also detects barking so you can get messaged when your dog is sounding the alarm, and the camera will show what’s going on at home.

• Flirt pole: A flirt pole is something that gives high-energy dogs a good workout without you having to take them for a long walk. It’s kind of like a fishing pole with a dog toy on the end, only sturdy enough for a big dog to chomp down and tug on the toy. It’s made by Squishy Face Studios, is available at a number of online retailers, and there’s a V2 version based on feedback from dog owners about the first incarnation.

• Leash holders: One of the most used devices at our house is a dog leash holder that hangs inside our front door. It can also be used for car keys, but we’ve got a lot more leashes hanging there than keys. You can find tons of fashionable wooden leash holders – including personalized ones – by searching for “dog leash holder” at Etsy.com. A local option for leash holders and other pet-related gifts is Copper Cat Studio in Sparks, at 300 Kresge Lane.

• Dog science: Alexandra Horowitz has written a couple of recent best-sellers about dogs. She teaches canine cognition (and creative nonfiction) at Barnard College at Columbia University, where she runs the Horowitz Dog Cognition Lab. I’d first recommend “Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know.” More recently, she published “Being a Dog: Following the Dog into a World of Smell.”

And, of course, your dog’s favorite treat is always a big winner and will keep him or her distracted while everyone else is opening their presents.

Mark Robison is co-executive director of Maddie's Pet Project in Nevada. He lives in Reno. Reach him at mrobison@humanenetwork.org.

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