As the renowned therapy dog organization in the United States, The Alliance of Therapy Dogs knows that if you are a dog owner, you are most probably including your pup in the holiday festivities. And, as a member of the family, your dog likely receive gifts this holiday season. Not all gifts are dog-friendly and, in this article, we will discuss the best gift ideas for your dog this holiday season.

Consider a Spa Day for Your Dog

Your dog is just as much a part of the family as anyone else. Dogs offer a comforting look, a playful wag, and soft ears to pet when we need a distraction—saying they are man’s best friend is often wholeheartedly true. Here are a few of the best gifts for your furry friend to keep them moving, healthy, and loving you as much as they can.

One of the hip pastimes of doggy trendsetters is a trip to the latest chic dog spa, however, it can be quite expensive. Instead of dropping a load of cash at a fancy dog spa, you can do give your pup a wonderful spa day yourself at home. Here’s how to treat your pampered pooch to a personal spa day in the comfort of his own home.

  • Begin with a workout. A spa day feels even better after a workout. The same is true for your dog, but also comes with an added bonus; it will help burn off some excess energy, making him easier to handle when it is time to bathe and groom. Depending on the activity level of your dog, the workout could mean a walk around the block or a romp in the dog park.
  • Gentle massage. A light massage will do wonders for his relaxation. When you are giving your dog a massage, set up an area on the floor, a table, the couch or a bed, whatever is most comfortable for the both of you. Start at the top of your dog’s head and work your way down his neck, making circular motions with your fingers. Be mindful not to press too hard, instead, keep your touch light. Stay away from his stomach area and take your time and listen to your dog’s body language.
  • Nail clipping. If you are new to nail clipping, keep it short and sweet. Cut a little off each nail and keep a spoon of peanut butter or other treat handy to distract your pooch from what’s going on. With the two of you sitting on a flat surface, grip your dog’s paw firmly, with clippers in your dominant hand and your dog’s paw in the other (your thumb should be on the bottom of his pad). Once you place the clippers where you want to cut, squeeze the trimmers in one swift motion. If you accidentally cut into the quick, immediately compress the wound for at least two minutes with a clean cloth or paper towel. If the bleeding is minor, try rubbing a bar of clean, scent-free soap over it. If the bleeding is steady, wrapping ice within the compressed cloth or paper towel will help lessen the blood flow. Next cup your hand and pour some styptic powder or cornstarch into your palm. Gently dip the dog’s bleeding nail into the powder, repeating if the bleeding does not stop. Do not wipe away the blood before dipping as this will aid coagulation. Once bleeding does cease, continue to compress the wound with a paper towel or cloth, being cautious not to squeeze the paw. Try to keep the dog off his feet for at least 30 minutes.
  • Bath time. Before you run the water, have everything you need ready to go. That includes towels, shampoo/conditioner, and a comb or brush and the peanut butter. If you want to entice your dog to stay put, smear a bit of peanut butter on the back or side of the tub. This will keep him busy while you scrub. Before getting wet, go over his coat with a light brushing to get the tangles out. Rinse him off with water and get scrubbing. If you want him to really sparkle, try the Honest Kitchen Sparkle Bar. It is a hard shampoo bar that is hand-made from a base of organic goat’s milk and blended with olive and coconut oil plus herbs and botanicals. Not only will your dog have nourished skin and coat, he will smell amazing.
  • Dry time. Grab a towel and rub your dog down. Regardless of how much towel drying is involved, your dog will still shake the excess water from his fur. If you are using a hair dryer, always set it to the lowest heat setting and the slowest speed intensity. Keep the hair dryer a few inches away from him, as it does not take much to burn his sensitive skin.
  • Finish with a treat. Your dog did such a good job, he deserves a treat!

Get a GPS Collar for Your Dog

Because your dog is a member of the family, it is important to keep tabs on your pooch’s whereabouts, especially if she might need your help. Today, there are as many different uses for dog tracker technology as there are dogs and besotted owners.

Some of the most common reasons dog parents invest in a GPS tracker for dogs include:

  • Give their pup some freedom to roam on their land safely.
  • Travel with their dog.
  • Guard against dog theft.
  • Keep a dog from trespassing on a neighbor’s property.
  • Make it easier to retrieve their canine escape artist.
  • Be able to let their dog off a lead during hikes and long walks.
  • Better understand why a dog runs away (gets startled, feels disoriented, scents another dog, et al).
  • Understand their dog’s daily patterns and habits.

A GPS dog collar can be a great choice as long as you do not remove the collar. Many dog owners get in the habit of removing their dog’s collar for comfort reasons, and there is nothing more heart-breaking than realizing your lost dog was not wearing his collar when you became separated.

Get a New Dog Bed

Though many people think dogs can curl up and sleep most anywhere, your pup really should not sleep on the floor. You also probably do not want him climbing on your beds or sofas. Dogs need beds just like we do, and they are beneficial for a variety of reasons.

  • A place to sleep. Giving your dog a place to sleep will keep him from sleeping where you do not want him to. Dogs will try to find as comfortable a place to sleep as possible, and will often end up cozying in bed with you, scratching up your nice furniture, or tracking dirt on the nice carpets. A dog bed that fits your dog’s sleeping needs will keep him from bothering you or damaging anything else as he tries to nap.
  • Health. Sleeping on a floor or other hard surface can be damaging to a dog’s health. Orthopedic dog beds can be used to help ease the pain and discomfort of hip dysplasia, arthritis, or other structural ailments.
  • Cleanliness. Giving your dog a bed will help keep him clean. Should he track mud and dirt from outside onto his sleeping space, don’t worry. Most dog beds come with removable liners or other features that make them easy to clean. This is markedly easier than cleaning all of the furniture in your house with a hand roller or vacuum.

One of the joys of gift giving during the holiday is the excitement once it is opened; this joy is not relegated to humans. To learn more about safe gifts for pets, or how your dog can become a therapy dog, contact the Alliance of Therapy Dogs.