The Best Gifts for Dog Lovers That Are Fun and Functional

Surprise your canine-loving companion with a special gift

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The holidays are a great time to impress the dog lover in your life by gifting them something inspired by their best canine friend.

There are few ways to approach these presents. It might be a useful gift that makes taking care of their pooch easier, something fun that doggy will enjoy, or something pet-themed for humans who love to surround themselves with dog-themed accessories. As you shop, it's always a good idea to keep the breed of your gift recipient's dog in mind, along with their personal tastes and preferences.

Below, you'll find the our list of the best gifts for dog lovers.

Our Top Picks

iFetch Mini Automatic Ball Launcher Dog Toy

iFetch Mini Automatic Ball Launcher Dog Toy

Courtesy of Chewy

Suitable for both outdoor and indoor use, this award-winning automatic ball launcher takes all the work out of playing fetch. How it works: load the toy with mini tennis balls (included), set the distance to 10, 20, or 30 feet, and watch as it launches the balls for your dog to chase and collect. This model is made especially for smaller dogs, but you can also opt for the larger model for bigger breeds.

BarkBox Subscription

BarkBox Subscription

Courtesy of BarkBox

Subscription boxes are a convenient way to surprise your pup with a wide-ranging selection of toys and treats each month. While there are a number of pet subscription boxes out there, BarkBox is one of the most popular—and for good reason.

Your favorite dog parent will get a themed box of new products for their pup to try out. Past themes include Frenchies in Paris (baguette toys, lamb sticks) and the Muttcracker (cranberry cookies, wearable Santa hat). The boxes are available in month-to-month, three-month, six-month, or 12-month pre-paid subscriptions. You can also opt for a one-time box, which still provides an element of surprise without the investment.

My Face Socks Custom Dog Socks

Custom Dog Socks

Courtesy of Face Socks

For a truly one-of-a-kind gift, opt for these fun dog socks, which are printed with the dog face of your choice! Just upload a pick of the pup of your choice, and it will be custom printed. They are available in a range of colors and styles, including ankle socks, dress socks, and knee socks.

My Face Socks also makes custom blankets with the image of your choice.

Whistle Go Explore Dog GPS Tracker

4.7
whistle-go

Amazon

If your dog is allowed to roam freely in your yard, but you're still nervous about them escaping, invest in the Whistle Go Explore Dog GPS Tracker. This small, lightweight tracker attaches to your pup’s 1-inch collar or harness and is able to determine their location, as well as their active minutes throughout the day by using cellular, GPS, and wi-fi technology. If your dog leaves the designated safe place (say, your yard or your house), you’ll get notified right away via email, text, or through the app. The tracker is waterproof and has a battery life of up to seven days. The app is available for iOS and Android. Subscription plans are sold separately. 

Wüfers Snow Cute Cookie Box

Snow Cute Cookie Box

Courtesy of Wüfers

This pretty box of winter-themed dog treats is sure to please the pup on your gift list. Handmade with human-grade ingredients, Wüfers dog treats are baked in Canada. The collection includes frosting treats and cookie-style treats in a range of sizes. For smaller dogs, the treats can be broken or cut into smaller pieces. To make this gift even sweeter, shipping is free.

The Spruce Waterless Pet Wash in Oatmeal

The Spruce Waterless Pet Wash in Oatmeal

Amazon

Here at The Spruce Pets, we understand that pets are far more than just animals—they’re part of your family. That’s why we set out to create our own pet care collection which we’re thrilled to share with you now. First up: our plant-derived waterless pet wash, which will freshen up your dog without the need for H2O. 

The Spruce Waterless Pet Wash is ideal for cleansing and conditioning and it moisturizes your pet’s skin as it works. The enzyme-activated formula—which is free of parabens, sulfates, and dyes—eliminates impurities like dirt, urine, and feces, and leaves your pup smelling fresh. Our pH-balanced pet wash is available in a handful of scents including Lavender (with clary sage), Oatmeal (with fresh mango), and Fresh (with neroli, apple, and orchid)—each which is formulated with pet-safe natural essential oils and fragrances.

To use it, simply shake the bottle, spray a generous amount on your dog’s coat, let it sit for a minute, then wipe it down with a soft cloth. The formula will dry on its own, so you don’t have to worry about the wet-dog smell!

Embark Breed & Health Kit

4.8
Embark Breed and Health Kit

Courtesy of Amazon

One of the best (and most frustrating) parts of having a mutt is not knowing what, exactly, their breed make-up is. Dog DNA kits are an easy way to find that out and make a great gift for those who might want to know.

The Embark DNA Test is made in partnership with Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. After 2-4 weeks, you'll get in-depth information on your dog's breed breakdown and a detailed family tree that all the way back to their great-grandparents. You can see all these results on a nicely designed dashboard on Embark’s website, or download a report for use at the vet.

Another cool aspect of this test is the social component: once you get your results back (generally after 2-4 weeks), you can connect with other dogs that share the same DNA as yours.

Embark Breed + Health Kit

The Spruce Pets / Suzie Dundas 

"We really loved everything about Embark’s dog DNA test. It was easy to collect and send in our dog’s DNA sample and it gave us way more information—on both his health and breed—than we were expecting. While we read the results of other tests in 10 minutes flat, we explored Embark’s site for over an hour learning everything we could about our dog’s family tree, drug sensitivities, and even relatives who’d also been tested." —Suzie Dundas, Product Tester

BarksBar Luxury Pet Car Seat Cover

BarksBar Luxury Pet Car Seat Cover

Courtesy of Chewy

If you tend to take your dog on frequent adventures, investing in protection for your car will help with any muddy, mucky, or wet mess from your furry friend. The BarksBar Luxury Pet Car Seat Cover is ideal for cars without a trunk that they can hop into. The cover is convertible between a regular seat cover or hammock-style with full protection over the middle seats and back of the front seats, as well as the floor. There is enough space for your pooch to sit, lay down, or stick their nose upfront. With a built-in rubber backing and seat anchors, the waterproof cover won’t slip around even as your dog moves around.

Outward Hound Port-A-Bowl Collapsible Bowl

4.2
Port-A-Bowl Collapsible Bowl

Courtesy of Chewy

For the active pup, a portable bowl is a must, especially on hot days or in dry areas. Use the Port-A-Bowl collapsible food and water bowl from Outward Hound. The bowl is made from durable, quick-drying nylon that is lightweight and folds flat. Size includes a 24-ounce bowl that holds 3 cups of food and is 3 inches high and 4.5 inches in diameter, as well as a 48-ounce bowl that holds 6 cups of food and is 3.5 inches high and 6 inches in diameter.

Ruffwear Approach Dog Pack

Ruffwear Approach Dog Pack

Courtesy of REI

Dogs love having a job to do, and with the Ruffwear Approach Full-Day Hiking Pack, your dog feels like they are working hard and you don’t have to carry their extra food. The saddlebag style pack has two larger pockets for food and other gear needed for an overnight trip, as well as smaller stash pockets for treats and poop bags. Integrated into the pack is a harness to keep the pack centered and sturdy, and allows for a leash to be attached on the front or on the back. The pack also has a padded handle and is made from a lightweight, durable material. Available in a range of sizes and colors, this hiking pack is sure to please pets and their owners!

Dog Lover: Adult Coloring Book: Best Coloring Gifts for Mom, Dad, Friend, Women, Men and Adults Everywhere

Dog Lover: Adult Coloring Book: Best Coloring Gifts for Mom, Dad, Friends

Courtesy of Barnes and Noble

For your dog-loving human friends, gift the Dog Lover Adult Coloring Book. This coloring book uses intricate designs and patterns to create beautiful dogs that you can spend hours coloring in. Each page will help you relax more, just like your pooch does after a long afternoon spent at the park.

Wigzi Dual Doggie Gel Rope Dog Leash

Wigzi Dual Leash

Courtesy of Wigzi

Walking two dogs isn’t always the easiest task. With Dual Doggie Gel Rope Dog Leash by Wigzi, your dogs won’t get tangled and neither will you. The leash comes in two different sizes (Small and Medium/Large, which accommodate two dogs up to 175 pounds) and uses two leashes attached to one holder for less mess. Both extend 4.5 feet, and the built-in 360-degree coupler ensures a smooth, tangle-free walking experience.

Each of the rope leads also comes with highly reflective stripes for increased visibility—keeping both you and your pooches safe during low-light walks or hikes.

Design Imports Dog Show Printed Chef's Apron

Dog Print Chef's Apron

Courtesy of Walmart

Whether they're making dog treats or cooking Christmas dinner, dog owners will love this printed apron. Adorned with playful silhouettes of various different breeds, its neutral black-and-white print, and functional pockets means that it'll still get plenty of everyday use—whether or not there's an actual pooch in the kitchen.

Wild One Harness Walk & Play Kit

Harness Walk & Play Kit

Courtesy of Wild One

For a gift that's both useful to owners and fun for dogs, consider this great kit from Wild One. In includes a harness (available in four sizes), a leash, a poop bag carrier, and three fun dog toys—all in a matching tone. It's available in four Instagram-worthy colors: navy, tan, lavender, and blush.

What to Consider When Shopping for a Dog Lover

Breed

If you're picking out a gift that's to be used by your gift recipient's dog, it's a good idea to consider that dog's breed. If the gift is dependent on the dog's size (like harnesses and carriers), you'll want to choose accordingly. It's also a good idea to check to see if the manufacturer lists any information about what breeds or sizes their products are not suitable for.

If you're buying an accessory for a person, it's also nice to match the product to the pet. The owner of a toy poodle might be less excited to receive a pillow with picture of a golden retriever, no matter which dog you might prefer.

Taste + Use

As with any gift, it's always a good idea to keep your recipient's taste in mind. It's also wise to think about how a gift will be used and the kind of message it might send—for example, shampoos and grooming gear might be welcome gifts to some, but other dog owners might think these gifts are a way of saying you think they have a dirty pet. Finally, if you're considering giving treats, you may want to find out if the dog in question has any dietary restrictions.

Why Trust The Spruce Pets?

As dog lovers ourselves, we're always on the hunt for the best products for dogs and the people who love them. To make this list, we picked a mix of top dog products and dog-inspired gifts for people.

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