The holiday season is creeping up on us once again and that only means one thing – it’s time for our 2010 gift guide! Here’s the rundown – we’ve handpicked stuff we think you and your dog will love and tested it out first-hand (irrr..paw) and given it our seal of approval. Just so you’re all aware, we don’t *ever* accept money for including any of the items in Dog Reflections – we only choose to include what we feel deserves to be here. So if you’re looking for just *a little* something for that perfect puppy in your life, or if you want to go all out and pamper that pooch, we have some great suggestions to make this year’s holiday’s complete!
Chilly Dog Sweater:
Chilly Dog Sweaters are 100% wool, fair-trade, hand-knit and all natural! We tested out a lovely bright pink one on Pit Bull Princess, Reef and she felt very comfortable and warm on blustery Fall days. At first we were worried she’d find the wool itchy (even though it didn’t feel that way to the touch), but she didn’t do any wall rubbing – her stereotypical move when she doesn’t like a piece of clothing. Chilly Dog has 35 different colors and designs to choose from and their sweaters are designed to fit dogs from 2lbs to 120 lbs. Prices range from $30-$45 and you can purchase directly from their website
Crypton Dog Products:
We don’t understand the science behind Crypton (it sounds very Superman-esque!) but we do know it’s *amazing* stuff! When you combine a super-tough material that’s resistant to moisture, odor and bacteria with stylish William Wegman designs, you’ve got a dog item that actually lasts *and* looks good in your house! We got to test out a Mess Matt – which we need around Lucian, the Dogue De Bordeaux! Even though the Neater Feeder (one of our favorite products from last year) cuts down on his slovenly eating habits, he still manages to drool around the bowl while he peruses his surroundings. With the Mess Matt, we can easily clean up after him by wiping it clean after each meal and throwing it in the wash when it needs a real bath. It also makes his dining area look quite snazzy!
The Crypton beds are the gold-standard of canine sleeping – they retain their poof, clean up easily and if someone drools or happens to have an accident on them, the resistant barrier prevents it from affecting the pillow inside! Think of how many beds you’ve thrown out because the inner cushion has been icked – this isn’t an issue with this line. They even hold up well with fluffers and intense nesters! You can check out all the colors of Crypton dog products here and place orders as well.
The Dog Casino:
Is your dog super-smart? You can usually tell because they’re often the ones getting into trouble, destroying things out of boredom and causing you to want to pull out your hair! Intelligent dogs need to exercise their minds and the Dog Casino is another awesome interactive toy made by Nina Ottosson (you can see a video of one of our staff dogs reviewing another one of these toys last year!). Now the Dog Casino is for *really* smart cookies! Your pup has to figure out how to pull the pegs from the top of the puzzle in order to slide the small trays (that you’ll load with treat) out of the side of the game. The whole thing is made of durable, dishwasher safe plastic. However, it’s only for supervised use and isn’t for chewers. You can learn more about the Dog Casino (and other Nina Ottosson games) here.
The Anxiety Wrap:
While this might not be the most conventional gift, trust us, when 10 noisy revellers arrive on your doorstep and your dog starts displaying signs of nervousness (which can be anything from hyperactivity to timidness), the Anxiety Wrap is a comforting, humane (drug free!) choice to aid your pet. We were absolutely amazed with the results during our test runs with our Dogue De Bordeaux that gets very anxious during the days when we’re packing for a vacation. After conditioning him to the Wrap (which he liked immediately), we all noticed he was instantly more settled and wasn’t jumping up to investigate the suitcases. He didn’t whine or leap towards the door every time we loaded the car – it was a fantastic showing by the Anxiety Wrap!
Make sure you read the directions on how to properly fit the Wrap to your dog – there are videos on how to adjust the “butt flaps” if you’re confused. Lucian was able to go for walks, nap and play all while wearing the wrap, as it’s form fitting and flexes with your dog’s body. It’s debatable if this is more a gift for your dog or for you! Ordering and sizing info is available on their website.
All Natural Dog Soap:
I don’t like using anything that isn’t all-natural on my dogs and this small batch, handcrafted soap for canines is exactly that! Made by the same family that came up with the concept for my all-time *favorite* leash, these soaps are tested on their own Cane Corsos. We tested a few of their bars on our crew and besides smelling fantastic and looking squeaky clean – there was no wasted shampoo as there is when you pour from a bottle. Using bar soap allows easy access to all those hard-to-reach areas. These soaps make great stocking stuffers; Brad and Virginia have worked to produce everything from calming bars to a stinky piggy (for that extra odoriferous pup!) – you can check them out and order here.
Who doesn’t like soup on a cold winter’s day? I bet your dog would enjoy some! If you’d like a healthy and unique snack for your pooch after they’ve been playing in the snow all day, you may want to give them a bowl of Souplements, or pour some over their kibble. It’s great to get ailing dogs to eat or just a good way to help your dog rehydrate after a day out in the snow. The Ingredients are simple: Chicken Stock, Chicken, Carrots and Whole Grain Brown Rice (no artificial ingredients, flavors, coloring or preservatives). You can heat it up until it’s warm or even freeze it into a kong for a boredom busting treat. We packed some along with us when we went camping to keep the pups going all day. You can learn more about Souplements here.
D-fa Dog Coats:
It gets really cold in New Zealand, which is why we went to D-fa when we were searching for the ultimate in dog coats to include in this year’s gift guide. Their gear is designed and tested in New Zealand and after the winter we had last year, we needed something warm! The Puff-Doggy coat is the canine equivalent of a puffer jacket – filled with Thinsulate with a Pertex® shell, this is serious winter gear! We tested the Puff on Reef, the 9 year old Pit Bull. While she’s still spry once she gets moving, the cold weather is rough on her aging joints. The Puff-Doggy covers all the important areas – hips, spine and elbows, but is exceptionally lightweight which makes for a comfortable fit and easy acceptance once the dog has it on. Another bonus of the coat is the material doesn’t collect fur! If it gets dirty it’s machine washable. For such a puffy coat, it stuffs down into a small built-in stuff sack for easy carrying. You can check out the Puff-Doggy and D-fa’s other offerings on their website.
Stella and Chewy’s Freeze Dried Patties:
While you technically *can* feed Stella and Chewy’s patties as a complete diet, please don’t tell my dogs that or else they may go on strike! These certified safe, raw, dehydrated patties make an excellent treat, but I use them most when traveling or camping with my pups – they’re INCREDIBLY light! They contain cage-free chicken ground with bone as well as organic fruits and veggies and all ingredients are sourced in the US. You can add water to rehydrate and mash them up into a stew of sorts or just feed them as is. Dogs go crazy for them (and my cats broke into a bag recently and helped themselves until they were foiled!). Check out this list of online retailers and explore the Stella and Chewy’s website to learn more about their products.
If you’re looking for some yummy stocking stuffers and want to do some good for great causes at the same time, look no further than Rescue Chocolate. My personal favorite is “Peanut Butter Pit Bull”, but there are 7 different varieties to choose from and the sweetest part? – 100% of the net profits are donated to various animal rescue groups around the US! The chocolate is made in Brooklyn, NY and is Kosher and Vegan (dark chocolate *is* vegan, it doesn’t make it any less rich). You can check out their site and order online here!