The holidays are the perfect time to show your four-legged friend how much you love them.

By Kristi Valentini
October 09, 2020
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With the holidays just around the corner, don’t forget to spoil your pup too! Arguably your favorite family member, your dog may hog all the covers but he’s awesome at cuddling and making you feel 100 percent loved. 

“The human-animal bond is incredibly powerful,” Angela Hughes, DVM, PhD, veterinarian and senior manager of Global Scientific Advocacy at Mars Petcare, says. “Pets provide us so much companionship and comfort and it’s all unconditional.” 

Science shows those warm, fuzzy feelings aren’t just all in your head either. Petting your pooch actually decreases the stress hormone (cortisol) and boosts the happy hormone (oxytocin) in both you and your dog, according to research

So it only makes sense that you’d want to share some holiday cheer with your furry friend. Check out these fun picks that’ll spark lots of tail-wagging joy.

Toys Worth Their Time

Playtime is an important part of a dog’s development, and helps pups burn energy and stay occupied. And while we love the trusty tennis ball for games of fetch, these toys offer a little extra oomph in the doggy entertainment department.

Courtesy of Amazon

Want to see your dog turn into a puppy again? Toss the motion-activated ball and watch him cock his head to the side when it squawks, growls, and chatters before pouncing and playing. 

To buy: $8; amazon.com

Courtesy of Amazon

Some toys are easily destroyed (looking at you, Mr. Fuzzy Squirrel). But this squeaky plushy has less stuffing and an inner, knotted rope that makes it practically indestructible—ideal for mutts who love tug-of-war. 

To buy: $19; amazon.com

Courtesy of Chewy

This device does double duty, and gives your pup something to do while he snacks. “Treat-dispensing toys are great for keeping dogs entertained. They challenge dogs to figure out a way to get at the treats,” Jessa Paschke, pet behavior and training specialist with Mars Petcare, says. This one is a dishwasher-safe, rubber ball that spills treats as it rolls. Tighten the screws to make it harder to get the treats out for longer playtime. Just make sure to supervise your pup while they play since some determined dogs may try to chew through softer materials to get to the treats!

To buy: $9 (was $12); chewy.com

Courtesy of Amazon

Power chewers will have something tasty to gnaw on for a long time with this bone made of tough nylon. Nubby textures and the savory bacon flavor will keep your pup coming back for more. Just keep in mind that you’ll want to be careful when picking out a chew for your dog. Some may be too hard for your pup’s teeth, and toys that are not malleable have been known to cause tooth fractures. Hughes says a good rule to follow when choosing a chew is to try digging your thumb nail into it to make sure it’s not too hard. If your thumb won’t go in, it’s probably not the best option.

To buy: $10; amazon.com

Paw-some Apparel

Cooler weather means the holiday season is near, and you know what that means: Chilly walks and photo ops! Keep your pup warm and your Instagram account adorable with these super-cute apparel options. 

Courtesy of L.L.Bean

Get your pal a quilted parka for added warmth on the coldest winter days. This reversible one features reflective piping for better visibility once the sun goes down.

To buy: $25; llbean.com

Courtesy of Petco

Your mutt will look like a mountain adventurer in this classic striped coat that’s fleece on one side and quilted cotton canvas on the other. 

To buy: $40; petco.com

Courtesy of 32degrees.com

Shorthaired pups are sure to appreciate this handsome, lightweight fleece layer on chilly days (and the budget-friendly price doesn't hurt, either)!

To buy: $10 (was $20); 32degrees.com

Charming Collars

Sure, the standard, solid-colored nylon collar does its job keeping your pooch’s ID tags attached. But why not make a statement with these fashionable-yet-functional dog collars that let your pup’s personality shine through instead?

Courtesy of Etsy

This eye-catching pattern with bold florals will make it extra difficult to resist Miss Daisy’s sad, I’d-like-some-too, dog eyes at dinnertime (but you still should!)

To buy: $25; etsy.com

Courtesy of Etsy

Dogtags, schmog-tags. This charming leather wraparound collar has an engraved nameplate so nothing dangles (perfect for quieting the clinking as your pup pads around the house in the wee hours).

To buy: $15; etsy.com

Mealtime Must-haves

Upgrade your fur-baby’s standard dish on the floor to something more stylish. From an on-the-go thirst quencher to a customized food and water bowl, there's no better way to celebrate their favorite time of day...dinner! 

Courtesy of Amazon

Whether strolling the neighborhood or hiking the hills, this portable water-bottle-dog-bowl combo makes it easy to give your pup a drink of water anywhere you go. 

To buy: $15; amazon.com

Courtesy of Etsy

There’s no mistaking who’s kibble is who’s with a personalized bowl like this one. Handmade and glazed in cream and brownstone speckled clay, this sturdy bowl won’t tip over no matter how enthusiastic the eater. 

To buy: $39; etsy.com

Stuff for Snuggles

When you’re sharing your space with a furry roommate, it’s important both of you are comfy and cozy to optimize cuddle time.

Courtesy of paw.com

This waterproof, machine-washable blanket is so stylish, you won’t mind throwing it over your couch to create a nesting spot for your dog (and to protect your furniture from dog hair and scratches). 

To buy: $119; paw.com

Courtesy of Amazon

Although humans won’t smell anything, filling the air with pheromones can make your dog happier and more content. “Pheromone plug-ins mimic the chemicals released by dogs when they nurse their pups,” Paschke says. “So they can help calm anxious dogs.” Paschke suggests setting up a pheromone plug-in in the weeks prior to the holidays to help anxious pups when company comes. Less barking and more cuddles? Yes, please!

To buy: $27; amazon.com