gifts they might actually want

The Best Gifts for Dog Owners, According to Groomers, Trainers, and Other Dog Owners

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

Few things are more rewarding than owning a four-legged friend, but finding a helpful, unique, or simply amusing gift for a fellow dog lover is definitely up there. As one of the Strategist’s resident pet experts, I’ve spent countless hours interviewing veterinarians and testing tons of toys, treats, and grooming supplies with my Great Dane and Australian Shepherd mix (who like to express their approval with a woof or the odd howl). Thanks to their feedback and the constantly updated Rolodex of presents in my brain, I’ve put together the following roundup of the best gifts for dog owners.

Below, you’ll find 21 gift ideas for canines of every size and breed — and for every type of parent. Many of the following products have been culled from our archive, while others are gifts I’ve received — and some are just too pleasing to leave off this list, like an ergonomic device for holding bully sticks and an actually nice-looking, hands-free tool for holding poop bags.

An outdoorsy dog owner will appreciate the length and customizability of this leash from Oakland-based brand High Tail Hikes. Made of woven polyester webbing with a soft PVC coating, its auto-locking carabiner will allow their pet to roam more freely while maintaining an ultrasecure connection.

This soft puzzle tree will keep any dog occupied (mine included) for hours because of its squirrel-filled trunk that mimics a game of hide-and-seek. It’s available in various sizes — the largest includes six squeaky squirrels.

When he’s not playing with the plush toy above, my Great Dane enjoys flinging these replacement squirrels around. We basically have a standing order of this three-pack for when he inevitably pulls out the squeakers, which would make a useful (and affordable) gift for the owner of any chew-happy dog.

I’m a big fan of Wild One’s poop bags and the accompanying dispenser. The plant-based material is extra-thick, and I’ve never had any issues with leakage; plus, the holder has an elastic that can be looped onto a leash or my tote-bag handle for quick access.

The Dooloop
$18 for 2
$18 for 2

Owners of large- or giant-breed dogs will appreciate this hands-free tool designed to hold one or multiple waste bags (a.k.a. a lot of poop). It’s also a gift that gives back: When you purchase a Dooloop through the brand’s site, 20 percent of the profit will be donated to the NAACP.

Speaking of hands-free, this leash has an adjustable slider so I can wear it three different ways: around my shoulder, waist, or wrist. The entire rope also has reflective detailing that provides extra visibility when I’m taking one of my pups for a bathroom break before bedtime.

Photo: Courtesy of the Vendor

These dog bowls won’t throw off your giftee’s highly curated aesthetic when they’re nice-looking enough for human use. Available in two sizes, the speckled dishes are made by the female artisans behind Brooklyn-based ceramics studio Franca.

Keep their house fur free with this easy-to-use brush that strips away dander and removes knots or mats hidden beneath a dog’s coat. It’s a top tool at grooming centers because it has flexible rubber bristles that feel like a soothing massage when combed through a pup’s hair.

For active owner-and-pup duos, I recommend this bottle that dispenses water into a bowl-shaped top that functions like a portable drinking fountain for your dog. I use one with my Aussie mix because it can be carried on hikes or down long trails where clean water isn’t readily available.

After adopting my rescue Shea, I purchased a DNA test to find out her exact breed mix and better understand her behaviors — and years later, I still think it’s the perfect gift for any pet parent in a similar boat. With one simple cheek swab, Embark will screen your dog for more than 350 breeds using research-grade data developed with Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

These tiny Wellington boots would make a great gift for a furry recipient who’s already comfortable wearing shoes — and their owner, who can skip the post-walk chase-and-wipe-down routine. The slip-on footwear is available in six colors, plus the price includes a set of four.


Another hilarious accessory: this comical mop top that Molly Shannon calls her Chihuahua’s “I hate Mondays” wig.

$14 for 2

This silicone Apple AirTag holder, a gift idea courtesy of social-media consultant and dog owner Rachel Karten, will allow your recipient to keep track of their pup using the Find My app. It lies flush when attached to a collar, so it’s less likely to detach during playtime. (Awoo also sells a matching harness and leash for those looking for fully monochrome kits.)

A gift idea that’s more for an owner than their four-legged friend is this delightful set of note cards and envelopes from Mr. Boddington’s Studio. The print is beloved by Elisabeth Weiss, a dog trainer and the owner of Dog Relations NYC, who describes it as “a bit old-world but in a friendly and sort of British humor style.”

Featuring the same cheery illustration as the above cards, this composition notebook contains 192 wide-ruled pages for jotting down notes or drafting their War and Peace–length dog-sitter plan the next time they’re (reluctantly) out of town.

For owners who don’t work from home, this 360-degree camera will allow them to interact with their pup by tossing treats or reassuring them they’re such a good dog with the real-time two-way audio. Along with its rotating view for full-room monitoring, the Furbo can detect barking and send alerts straight to your smartphone for peace of mind.

This ingenious device is a win-win for both owner and pet because it’s a controlled way to give Fido his favorite chew. It tightly secures a bully stick, preventing overeager dogs from choking on the last bit of the treat.

Oreos might be a no-no for dogs, but they can safely enjoy these all-natural Paw-reos from Maison de Pawz, a Parisian-inspired pâwtisserie in New York City. Freshly baked to order, the five-pack only contains five ingredients, including organic buckwheat flour, unsweetened carob powder, and coconut milk.

If nail trims don’t faze their dog, the pooch is ready for a paw-dicure (sorry — we couldn’t resist). This water-based, nontoxic polish pen from Warren London dries in under a minute and is available in 13 shades for more than just French tips.

This ultradurable, veterinarian-approved toy can be filled with peanut butter or a few treats to distract a mouthy puppy from chewing on the corner of your Mario Bellini. I still use the one I bought years ago to entertain my adult dogs while I’m running errands. Pro tip: Try stuffing the Kong using this squeezable, mess-free pouch.

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The Best Gifts for Dog Owners, According to Dog Lovers