7 of the best gifts for dogs this Christmas

According to the Petplan Pet Census, nearly half of us always buy birthday and Christmas presents for your pets. If you want to show your dogs how much you appreciate their companionship this year, but you’re stuck for gift inspiration, fear not! We’ve put together the ultimate shortlist of gifts for dogs that will please even the pickiest pooches.

1. Tease their brain with a dog puzzle toy

A chew treat is great, but doesn’t require much brainpower – and every dog needs mental stimulation! Why not get your dog’s mind working with an interactive dog toy or puzzle feeder? There are countless designs to choose from, but if your pet is new to brain teasers, go simple to begin with. Dogs aren’t patient – if something’s too complicated, they’ll either ignore or destroy it! Hollow rubber toys you can stuff with hard-to-reach treats are great for all levels, from beginner to brainy. Puzzle feeders with manoeuvrable levers will not only provide a serious challenge, but also slow down fast eaters, reducing gassiness and helping digestion.

2. Treat them to something flashy

As well as adding festive cheer to your dog’s look, a light-up LED collar makes walks safer, especially on dark winter days. Drivers, joggers and cyclists will see your pet coming, and if you have a dark-coated dog, you’ll avoid those heart-stopping moments when he seems to vanish into thin air. Pick a light-up collar that’s sturdy enough to withstand your dog’s usual roly-poly shenanigans.

3. Invest in a dog activity tracker

Dog obesity is on the rise, and making sure your hound is getting enough exercise is one of the best things you can do for his health. Which makes these exercise-logging devices more than just a gimmick. You’ll just need to strap the activity tracker to your dog’s collar, download the accompanying app, and link it up with your smartphone or tablet. A tracker with in-built GPS will also help you locate your dog if he spots a squirrel and goes off-piste.

4. Choose the best dog bed for your pooch

Providing at least one comfortable bed for each dog in your home is a must. Opt for one that suits their personality and sleeping preferences. New or nervous dogs may particularly enjoy snuggling down into a nest-style bed with high sides, which makes them feel enveloped and secure. Senior dogs with joint issues may benefit from an orthopaedic bed that provides extra support. Cosy blankets make great gifts for dogs, too. Many dogs love to 'make' their beds before settling, so pile some blankets on top for them to paw over.

5. Pick out the perfect new collar

Your dog's collar should feel so comfortable, he’ll barely notice he’s wearing one. If your dog deserves an upgrade, key collar considerations include his neck measurements, breed, whether he is long or short-haired, and how sensitive he is in the neck area. Once you’ve sussed out the basics, go forth and shop! Dog accessories have never been more fabulous, from personalised and designer collars to diamanté or hand-tooled leather.

6. ‘Wine’ them and dine them with dog treats

Even the fussiest dog has his foodie favourites. And chances are, the stinkier these seem to you, the more appealing they’ll be to your pooch! There’s a drool-worthy range of gourmet dog treats on the market these days – or get creative and make your own. As it’s the festive season, why not offer them a special non-alcoholic dog ‘wine’? Just remember, treats should be an occasional reward that count towards your dog’s daily diet– not something he gets every time he looks at you with those big, soulful eyes…

7. Keep it fresh with a dog water fountain

Not all gifts for dogs are good for their health, but a pet drinking fountain will give them access to a constant supply of fresh, filtered water. Get one that’s right for your dog’s breed and size. Dogs with flat faces will need a different kind of bowl to a Lab, for example, while very tall dogs will prefer a higher model. It will not only help them stay hydrated, but also stop you worrying that you forgot to refresh their drinking bowl this morning.

Above all, perhaps the best way to show your dog you love them is to keep them safe and well, through the holiday season and beyond.

What are you buying your dog for Christmas? Post your dog gift ideas with the tag #PethoodStories on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.