My first Christmas with Ace was very special, because Christmas is special to my family. Ace was part of the festivities and got to meet her many new human relatives. She was included in Santa Claus’s gift giving, and her new family couldn’t help but treat her, too.
If you have new pet parents on your shopping list this Christmas, it might be hard to choose a gift –- you’d have to think waaay back to when you were a new dog mama or papa. Fortunately for you, I’ve compiled a list of perfect gifts that new dog parents might not even realize they need!
1. Orbee-Tuff Bulb and Lil’ Bulb by Planet Dog ($8.45 to $10.95)
Puppies love to chew, and chewing is a great way for adult dogs to relieve stress and clean their teeth. Planet Dog makes a whole line of nontoxic chew toys, many of which are made in the U.S.A. (including the Bulb).
To encourage chewing, add a tasty treat inside the Bulb (Ace recommends natural peanut butter).
2. Eco Nap Dog Mat by West Paw Design ($29.99 to $99.99)
Every dog needs a place to snooze, especially in a new home. These soft, padded mats come in a rainbow of colors. New pet parents will be happy that these beds are made in the U.S.A. of recycled materials, and they’ll be even happier that you can throw the whole bed in the washing machine.
3. Smarter Toys IQ Treat Ball by OurPet’s ($7.99 to $11.99)
Treat-dispensing toys get two jobs done at once: They feed a dog while exercising it (instead of treats, try filling the ball with part of the dog’s kibble meal). This toy has an adjustable insert that allows a new dog parent to gradually increase the challenge of the game, so it keeps holding the dog’s attention.
4. Aloe Vera Grooming Product Special by Organic Oscar ($29.99)
This grooming kit includes shampoo, conditioner, and pet wipes to help a new dog parent keep a new dog clean through all his misadventures. Organic Oscar offers a range of grooming products for various fur and skin needs, but what makes them special is that their products are mostly organic and made in the U.S.A.
5. Hide-A-Squirrel by Kyjen ($12.99 to $29.99)
The bee version of this toy was one of Ace’s favorites when we brought her home as a puppy. This engaging puzzle toy includes a stuffed tree with three squeaky squirrels to hide inside. New dog parents will be relieved to take a break while their dog figures out how to get to the squirrels.
6. Getting Started: Clicker Training for Dogs by Karen Pryor ($16.95)
Show off your infinite dog wisdom to your new dog parent friends –- introduce them to easy and awesomely effective clicker training. This seminal manual includes step-by-step instructions for basic commands and useful behaviors like walking on a loose leash. Pair it with the i-Click Clicker ($8.95 for a five-pack) –- Ace and I use this model because it’s easy to press and makes a clear yet quiet click.
7. Pawprints Ornament by Pearhead ($14.95)
What a great way to remember a new dog’s first Christmas! This kit includes all the materials a new pet parent will need to create a unique tree ornament from the impression of the dog’s paw. I reviewed Pearhead’s Pawprint Frame and found it easy to use for even artistically limited dog mamas like myself.
8. Stuffed Toys by Fluff & Tuff ($8 to $26.95)
New dog parents don’t yet know the dark secret about stuffed toys -– most of them last about five minutes if you’re lucky. Introduce them to Fluff & Tuff’s line of magically durable stuffed toys in a variety of unique shapes and sizes. Since I wrote a review of these toys in August, Ace has played almost daily with Rocket the Raccoon ($19.99), and though it’s missing some fur it is still whole and squeaking.
9. Crate Covers by Molly Mutt ($40 to $80)
Many new dog parents use a crate for potty training and to help the dog get acclimated to a new home comfortably. Unfortunately, most crates are unattractive metal cages. Your new dog parent friend will be delighted by these covers, which come in a variety of sizes and modern prints.
10. The Organic Dog Biscuit Cookbook Kit by Bubba Rose Biscuit Company ($14.95)
For the new dog parent who already has everything, this unique kit is sure to please. It includes three cookie cutters and 25 of Bubba Rose’s favorite recipes, so new dogs can be included in holiday baking and cookie batter tasting.
Dogster readers, will you be shopping for a new dog parent this year? Add to this list with your own ideas in the comments section.
Top image: Basenji with Christmas Tree Decorations by Shutterstock.com
About Ace’s Mama: This East Coast transplant enjoys the bounty of San Francisco, including its micro-climates, farmers’ markets, and secret stairway walks. When she’s not walking with, talking about, or kissing the face of her Boston Terrier, Ace, she blogs about Ace’s adventures. Product reviews writer and guinea pig at Dogster.