Brace yourself! Christmas is a month away.
I know, I know it’s scary but take a few deep breaths and repeat the mantra: “My dog is my happy place, my dog is my happy place.”
I stopped participating in the Christmas holiday consumerism chaos many, many years ago. Instead of a material gift, my friends get my time and for those who really know me, they know how valuable that is.
But I admit, I do shop for my dogs and the dogs of my friends. If there is one creature on this planet that is deserving of the blood, sweat and tears shed during the Christmas holiday gift hunt, it is the poochies!
As often as I can, I shop locally. The small private and personalized pet stores have a plethora of amazing gifts for all the Fidos and FeeFees out there, as well as for their owners. Your local pet store will have high quality items that reflect the unique canine culture of the neighbourhood, with fair and competitive prices. They often can be found supporting local shelters and rescues with fundraisers such as photos with Santa! Shopping locally reduces shopping stress and your carbon footprint!
Some of the more popular gifts for dogs these days are the brain game toys. These toys are contraptions that force your dog to think to find a way to get the treats that are locked inside. There are many to choose from and are a great way for a dog to entertain themselves for a short period of time. Of course, how much time completely depends on the dog. Raider had his figured out in less than two minutes while Carter shoved his around the kitchen floor, bouncing it off walls for about 20 minutes until I got fed up with the racket and gave it to Raider to figure out. These toys are not meant to replace daily exercise but rather to provide some alternate mental stimulation for the busy brained dogs.
Plush toys are always popular and tend to be a splurge as they are pricey and most dogs destroy them within a matter of moments. Carter is a stuffy kind of dog. He loves his plush squeaky toys and to my surprise does not destroy them! So far the Kong plush toys are his favourite but again, there are plenty to choose from.
For the dog owner, gifts can be both practical and impractical. A couple of practical gift ideas that most dog owners rarely buy for themselves are biodegradable poop bags and a dispenser to carry them in. A treat bag to carry training treats instead of carrying them in pockets and then having them go through the laundry.
Is the dog lover in your life a hiker? How about a portable canine water bottle or a backpack for Fido to carry his water bottle and treats? A safety vest, reflective wristbands or collars and leashes for walking during the night are great stocking stuffers.
Impractical but fun gifts are a dog mug or picture frames. My local pet store has some super comfy slippers, mittens and toques with cute dog images on them.
Going to a Christmas party over the holiday season and not sure what to bring as a hostess gift? If there is a dog in the home, how about a bag of posh dog treats? If the host is a wine lover how about a bottle of wine from the See Ya Later Ranch? Many of their wines are named after dogs- such as the Rover Shiraz/Viognier.
I’m not one for online shopping but there is one online service that I have to admit is super-duper fun and is probably the best gift for the dog and dog lover in your life. It is called Barkbox. For a nominal fee you get a box of dog toys, treats and goodies delivered to your door once a month. For more information visit barkbox.com.
Christmas shouldn’t be as stressful as it is, and the commercialization of Christmas has, in my opinion, blasphemed the season and turned it into a hedonistic holiday.
But if you are able to avoid the hustle and the bustle, spend time with your pooch then maybe you will be able to find the peace, love and joy the season was meant to celebrate.
Joan Klucha has been working with dogs for more than 15 years in obedience, tracking and behavioural rehabilitation. Contact her at email@example.com