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If you’re like us, the holidays present a rare opportunity to treat your pup. Our dogs work hard all year to make us smile, and there’s no better time to give back than the festive season. But it’s hard to know just what will make your dog’s heart sing—or survive beyond Christmas dinner. That’s why we’ve put together this collection of our all-time favorite Christmas gifts for dogs.
The writers and editors of The Dog People have tested a lot of dog products over the years. This is a collection of the winners: our own dogs’ favorite toys, beds, and gear. Every product has been tried and tested by our team’s four-legged friends and gotten two paws up.
So from our pups to yours, a few of our favorite things—and our warm wishes to you and yours for a season that’s merry and bright.
The Best Christmas Gifts for Active Dogs
From Niki and Pepper, the Hyper Pet Flippy Flopper Dog Frisbee
It was love at first sight with this awesome disc. A cattle-dog mix, Pepper is coming into her own as a “frisbee dog,” leaping to catch anything flying towards her. This thing glides through the air really well, floating lightly and landing solidly. The rubber tube edges are easy for my dog to pick up, shake around a bit, and bring back.
It’s also hard to destroy, a key feature for a chewer like Pepper—she has a habit of trying to pick up flexible frisbees by their middle, then gets distracted and attempts to chew through them. She tried that with this one a few times, but so far, so good, with that nylon exterior hanging tough and no punctures. I put it away when we’re done playing to avoid further chewing.
Pepper gets excited as soon as she sees it come out. If your dog likes to play catch, this makes a great gift.
— Niki and Pepper
To chew or to carry? That’s the dog-brain question when it comes to this beloved soccer ball.
Pepper is a pupper who will routinely go for the tags of any toy as a first order of business—tear that off first, then play with it. She’s also a hardy ball fetcher. So it didn’t take any coaxing to get her interested in this ball—she loved it and alternated between prancing around with it and shaking it, then pinning it and trying to gnaw off the tabs.
She chewed the handle off quickly, and no matter how much I moved to keep the ball in play, she successfully gnawed a few of the green tabs off as well. That’s okay, though, since the ball itself is extremely sturdy and seems resistant to punctures as she tries to grab it in her mouth.
It’s a good, durable ball with lots of interesting parts to interact with. It’s well loved in our house!
— N & P
From Margeaux and Merlot, the Hyper Pet K9 Kannon Dog Ball Launcher
If you have a ball-obsessed dog like I do, a ball launcher like the Hyper Pet K9 Kannon makes an awesome Christmas gift. Unlike a manual ball launcher that relies on your arm strength to make balls fly through the air, the launching power of the K9 Kannon comes from its gun-like barrel. This means your dog should get tired before you do! (Less human energy needed to launch a ball = more balls launched and more playtime for your pet.)
To use the K9 Kannon, you only have to load the included ball into the launcher’s barrel, pull back on the ram to your desired length, and press the trigger to launch—and voila! The ball goes flying.
Merlot (and some other family members) enjoy chasing a K9 Kannon-launched ball in the Instagram video below.
If you’re debating between purchasing a K9 Kannon and a lower-cost ball launcher, there are several features that I think make the K9 Kannon worth the investment. Unlike some launchers that require you to use a specific size ball, the K9 Kannon can be used with any regular tennis-sized ball. This is a big advantage because my dog doesn’t always bring balls back—and with the K9 Kannon, I don’t have to worry about buying more specially-sized balls to work with the launcher.
I also like that the K9 Kannon allows you to adjust the distance you want to launch a ball. For my backyard, I adjusted the ram to a shorter distance so the ball wouldn’t accidentally go over a fence, but the longer option would be great for a park setting where my dogs have more distance to run.
Last, the K9 Kannon offers a hands-free way to pick up balls. You only have to press the bottom of the barrel over a ball, and seemingly by the power of physics, it gets sucked into the barrel. (No need to pick up a slobbery, dirt-covered ball ever again.) My dog and I would highly recommend the K9 Kannon to any ball-loving dog!
— Margeaux and Merlot
If you want to play fetch with your dog while simultaneously enjoying a beverage out on your backyard patio, the Hyper Pet Go Dog Go Fetch Machine is what you need!
The automated ball-throwing machine is a game-changer, allowing you to launch balls with the click of a remote, or automatically with a 4-, 7-, or 15-second timer. The machine is easy to use and has a built-in rechargeable lithium battery. You can also use it with the included AC adapter should you have a power outlet in your outdoor play area.
It comes with five balls, but if you have any balls laying around, those will likely work too. On its highest setting, the Fetch Machine can launch a ball as far as 40+ feet away, but I found that the lowest setting worked well for my backyard.
Here’s Merlot enjoying the Fetch Machine in our backyard.
As the many videos of dogs playing fetch with themselves on social will attest to, the biggest perk of the Fetch Machine is that, with some training, a dog can learn to return a ball back to the top of this launcher and effectively play fetch independently! This makes it ideal for high-energy pets who love to chase tennis balls 24/7.
— M & M
The Best Christmas Gifts for Dogs Who Chew
From Kelsey and Her Puppy, the KONG Extreme Dog Toy
Finding toys for dogs that are heavy chewers can seem like an almost impossible task. Every purchase comes with gnawing doubt and guesses at how long it’ll take for your furry friend to tear the toy apart. So what do you give to a dog that destroys everything? KONG’s Extreme Dog Toy made for chew-happy dogs.
Recently, my puppy decided to go on a chewing spree and destroyed almost every dog toy in our house. Stuffing was everyone. Squeakers were ripped to pieces and scattered all over the floor. She even destroyed a few of the classic red KONG toys, so I knew it was time to upgrade. Initially, I was hesitant to purchase the Extreme Dog Toy because it’s slighter pricier than the other KONG rubber toys, but I’m relieved to report it has held up after weeks of use. Now I feel confident that my dog’s nightly routine of enjoying a KONG filled with peanut butter won’t end in disaster, and the toy will live to see another day.
— Kelsey and Co.
From Allie and Oscar, the Hyper Pet Lick Mat
When it comes to toys, Oscar is a chewer. He has very sharp small teeth, a surprisingly powerful jaw, and an unholy passion for destroying plushes. While I’m shamelessly happy to sacrifice toys to Oscar’s entertainment, the process does require careful supervision. I needed something fun for him to do when I’m not laser focused on him. I tried rope toys (couldn’t be less interested), rubber squeaky toys (deeply disturbing to him), and chews (meh).
Then I found this lick mat. Lick mats are ingeniously textured rubber boards that you spread your favorite wet treat onto. You could try Kong filler, dog-safe yogurts and peanut butters, or Buddy Budder (Oscar’s personal favorite). The raised ridges make getting all the food a challenge for your pet, and they have the added advantage of cleaning your pup’s teeth when he uses them to scrape the mat clean.
Oscar licks and even chews the mat, making some alarming gnawing sounds—but it’s held up to his assault every day for the last three months. It takes him about 15 to 20 minutes to clean up a tablespoon of Buddy Budder, and his tail wags the whole time. It’s an A+ Christmas gift for dogs in Oscar’s book, and I agree.
— Allie and Oscar
The Best Christmas Gifts for Older Dogs
From Carolyn and Logan, the Playology All Natural Peanut-Butter-Scented Plush Squeaky Ball
I don’t usually spend $20 on a single ball, but the Playology Peanut-Butter-Scented Squeaky Ball Toy was worth it. With a ball-obsessed senior dog and tile floors, I liked the idea of a soft, not-perfectly-round ball that wouldn’t bounce or roll as much as a standard tennis ball.
Plus, it seemed sturdy; other soft balls we’d tried were no match for a Labrador’s constant love and strong jaws. The Playology ball is formed from four corduroy panels stitched together with tight seams. It’s quilted for added strength.
We got the large, which is about the size of a softball. It’s just big enough that it doesn’t constantly disappear under the furniture, requiring less human intervention for continued play. The squeaker inside is buried deep within the stuffing, so we don’t hear it often.
The ball is scented, too, though I overlooked this detail until months later. The smell of peanut butter is clearly not particularly noticeable to the human nose. The ball also comes in a beef scent.
After several months of play, the now-favorite toy is proving to be as sturdy as I had hoped, with just a few loose strings. It’s dirtier than it started, of course, but the seams and panels remain intact. We give it two paws up.
— Carolyn and Logan
From Jaimee and Enzo, the PetFusion Ultimate Orthopedic Dog Bed
I’m not usually one to splurge on a dog bed, but as my dog gets a bit older, I wanted a bed that would be more supportive after long days of adventuring. The PetFusion Ultimate Orthopedic dog bed has four inches of luxurious memory foam, and its comfort definitely rivals my mattress (don’t ask how I know). The cushiness reduces joint pain, especially for senior pups, and the bolsters around the edge provide the perfect chin rest or pillow to snuggle against for security.
With a tear- and water-resistant liner and a machine-washable cover, this bed is extremely durable and easy to clean. My dog can be an occasional bed-wetter when he’s in a deep sleep, and rather than having to throw the entire bed in the washer, I can simply remove the liner for a quick wash.
The 36- x 28-inch bed is bit roomy for my 40-pound cattle dog, but he likes the extra space to store toys and blankets. For larger dogs in particular, be sure to review the dimensions and consider not only their weight, but also whether they like to curl up or stretch out—mine definitely prefers to be a donut.
If you’re looking for a bed to meet your pet’s needs, the PetFusion Ultimate Memory Foam Lounge is worth the investment—both for the quality and durability and for the reward of seeing your pup at their most comfortable.
— Jaimee and Enzo
A nice supplement to the PetFusion bed is this cooling blanket, which is perfect for pups who love to be snuggled but tend to run hot. My dog is visibly uncomfortable and panting when he’s overheating, and he’ll often opt for the much-less-comfortable hardwood floor over his bed during the warmer months. This blanket was the perfect solution for easing his discomfort—it’s soft and magically stays cool to the touch. It comes in a variety of sizes (we opted for the large 41 x 53 inch version) and has stayed in great condition after weeks of constant use. This blanket would make the perfect Christmas gift for a dog or cat who gets too toasty.
— J & E
The Best Christmas Gifts for Puppies and Anxious Dogs
From Kelsey and Co., the SmartPetLove Snuggle Puppy Heartbeat Stuffed Toy
My American Eskimo is an energetic and social pup, but it’s crossed my mind a few times that some of his quirks might stem from anxiety. When I saw SmartPetLove’s Snuggle Puppy Heartbeat Stuffed Toy made for anxious pets, I thought it would be a great toy to test out with him to try and reduce some of his anxious tendencies.
The stuffed toy is designed with a real-feel pulse that is supposed to recreate a dog’s pack mentality, similar to how they slept in a pile with their littermates as puppies. Since my dog sleeps in a crate in our room, I started giving him the stuffed animal at night (also so his chew-aggressive sister wouldn’t destroy it) and turned on the pulsing heart to see what would happen. Over the next few days, I noticed he was sleeping more soundly throughout the night, and he even started using the toy as a pillow to fall asleep on. I knew it was a win when he brought the toy out of his crate in the morning and presented it to me, something he does with his most prized possessions.
While I’m hesitant to get one for my chew-happy puppy, I would definitely recommend this as a Christmas gift for dogs who tend to be anxious to help relieve stress—and for the heart-melting pictures you’ll capture as the two snuggle up.
— Kelsey and Co.
From Katie and Ruby, the Best Friends by Sheri Calming Bed
Soft, plush, and supportive, calming dog beds are one of this year’s most popular pet products. This bed is stuffed with clump-resistant Airloft fibers and covered in very soft shag fur that’s been finished with double-overlock stitching. The the whole thing is machine washable and dryer safe. (In fact, the company recommends that you machine dry the bed to maintain the soft, fluffy look and feel. Bonus!)
It might not be a magic pill for anxiety—but it did earn our admiration as one of the coziest soft spots for dog naps that we’ve come across. I would recommend it as a high-quality piece that looks and feels luxurious. Ruby and Sabine love to lounge in it, and it gives them a nice landing pad in the living room or bedroom. (And as an added bonus, the kids love it too!)
For more, check out Ruby’s full review.
— Katie and Ruby
The Best Christmas Gifts for Clever Dogs
From Niki and Pepper, OurPets Treat-Dispensing Puzzle Toy (Sushi Version)
Our pup likes anything involving treats (or even, frankly, her kibble—she’s an easy one to please), and she regularly eats her meals out of a Kong or Bob-a-Lot. I was eager to see how she’d come at this toy, which is a plastic tray with compartments you can hide small pieces of food in. Sliders made to look like sushi rolls cover the compartments.
This toy takes a different approach than Pepper’s other puzzle toys, which respond well to brute force and being tossed and flipped to get the last treats out. It encourages nose work—she sniffed around and quickly figured out she needed to nudge the sliders with a nose or paw to get her treats.
After a bit, she attempted her tried and true method of flipping the whole thing, but a gentle redirect stopped that—plus this toy doesn’t really reward the flipping. It’s a fun diversion, and the only downside is it that Pepper mastered it pretty fast. But she still enjoys it, making it the perfect mid-afternoon brain activity.
— Niki and Pepper
From Allie and Oscar, the Paw 5 Wooly Snuffle Mat
My Miniature Dachshund is a speed-eater with a delicate stomach. If he doesn’t have to work for his food, it’s a pretty safe bet that it’s all going to come back up.
The answer is this snuffle mat: a 12- by 18-inch strip full of soft fabric fingers—a little bit like a wooly sea anemone. We scatter dry food or treats across its surface, then work them in with our hands so they’re hidden from view. Once we give the command, Oscar lunges for the mat, nose working like a bellows. His snuffles as he digs out his breakfast are audible from the next room over, and it takes him a good ten minutes to hunt down the last lonely kibble.
We like it because it slows him down and gives him the chance to do some brain- and nose-work—especially important for older dogs.
But my favorite thing about the mat is how much Oscar likes it; when he’s not eating off it, he enjoys sitting on it or rolling around in its cushy tentacles. He’s also been known to drag it from its home in the laundry room to oh-so-subtly remind everyone that it’s mealtime.
— Allie and Oscar
The writers and editors of Rover hope you’ve found inspiration among their dogs’ favorite things. From our pups to yours—wishing you joy, peace, and lots of dog snuggles this holiday season.