Finding a gift for a dog is admittedly not all that difficult – a squeaky toy, chewy bone or half a pound of ground beef will make most dogs delirious with happiness. Gifts for humans are a bit trickier. With so many things to choose from out there, how do you pick the perfect gift? I have selected 5 of my favorites for pets and their people.
Whole Dog Journal
A subscription to WDJ is a perfect gift for the holistic-minded pet lover/owner on your list. I am a long-time reader, and this monthly magazine/newsletter has opened my eyes to so many alternative options for maintaining (and regaining) health (coconut oil, arnica, Willard water to name a few) that even if I didn’t love the magazine (which I do), I would never dare to cancel my subscription out of fear of what I would miss. Each issue talks about such things as alternative therapies, training, and behavior problem solving, as well as reviews of food, toys and gear. Right now, subscriptions are $ 20/year, and you can get 2 free issues by filling out a form on their website.
Rescue Remedy, along with 38 other flower remedies, was “invented” by Dr. Edward Bach, a British MD who, after many years of practicing western medicine, turned his attention to curing and preventing illnesses in a natural way. Rescue Remedy is a 5-flower blend that helps calm both people and animals in times of stress. We use it all the time – for the dog before going to the vet, getting a bath, or getting groomed; for us humans before going to the dentist, flying, trying family situations; and for our plants to keep them alive and healthy even when we forget to water them as often as we should. You can find it online and in stores like Whole Foods.
We live in the Northeastern US, and the winters take quite a toll on all of us – especially on our dog’s feet. Not only do we have sidewalks covered with ice for months, people and businesses around us tend to use salt very liberally. I tried putting every kind of boot available for dogs on our girl, but she just wouldn’t have it. We used to carry her across overly salted areas until we discovered Pawz. These superlight, disposable and biodegradable natural rubber boots have saved her paws and our backs! They look like tiny balloons; you just pull them over the paws, they fit like socks, and even the fussiest of dogs will accept walking in them (albeit a bit awkwardly at first). They are available online and in many pet stores across the country.
Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home
Rupert Sheldrake’s collection of stories supporting his theory that animals communicate via telepathy, have a strong sense of precognition, and are capable of sensing changes in their human over great distances is a long-time favorite of mine. Tales about pets getting restless when their owner is in an accident far away from home; seemingly knowing when a certain person is calling when the phone rings; warning their owners of impending seizures, and even air strikes during WWII, make it very difficult to not be mesmerized by this book (or to read passages out loud to anyone who happens to enter the room).
Dog Activity Toys by Nina Ottosson
When Nina Ottosson became a Mom, she found that she wasn’t able to spend as much time training and entertaining her dogs as they and she were used to. Knowing how important mental stimulation is to dogs in order to keep them young and alert, and to prevent destructive behavior, she invented a few interactive toys to keep her dogs busy. They were a hit with her two dogs and she soon found herself turning her idea into a company. The (mostly wooden) toys are all puzzles of varying difficulty, hiding treats which the dog has to figure out how to get to. We have the “Dog Spinny”, which is a round disk with holes and a rotating top with one hole, and it certainly keeps our dog busy! At the moment, Paw Lickers is the only seller in the US, and they have over a dozen varieties on their website.
I hope I’ve given you some inspiration for your gift shopping list, and that you all have a tail-waggingly fun holiday season.