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The essentials

  • Gift-giving is a great idea for you (and your pet)  — Research conducted by Virginia Commonwealth University suggests that people who give pets gifts improve their own mental health and well-being. 
  • There are plenty of safe options out there — Our gift guide is expert-created and vet-approved. Use it to shop in confidence and pick a gift your pet will love!
  • You don’t have to break the bank — Many pet presents are affordable and easy to find.

As the holiday season rolls in, it’s not just our human loved ones who deserve a bit of Christmas cheer—our furry friends need some love too! Whether your pets have been on their best behavior or got themselves on the Naughty List, let’s make this Christmas extra special for them.

This article is your guide to the finding the best gifts that will have your dogs wagging and your cats purring. From comfy beds to healthy (and yummy) treats, we’ve got the lowdown on the perfect presents to make sure your pets are rockin’ around the Christmas tree with the rest of the family.

🎄 We polled the betterpet and PetScreening offices and 89% of employees are buying gifts for their pets this season! Ranging from beds to chews and plush toys to pet clothing, we’re filling our pets’ stockings (of which 73% of us already have hanging on our mantles) to the brim.

We may be the exception — we are a pet company after all — but we believe every pet should be spoiled this holiday. What are you getting yours?

What to buy your dog for Christmas

Not sure what to get your pup for the holiday? Here are our top picks that fit in the stocking or under the tree — 

Dog beds

Beds are an often overlooked gift to offer your pal, especially if you already have one. However, dogs, like humans, appreciate a bed upgrade now and again — and giving them a fresh bed every year is a great way to ensure a comfortable sleep and optimal coziness all year long. 

Plus, this gift isn’t just practical — it’s also offering preventative protection. Old beds can wear out quickly, especially if they’re chewed on. This can lead to padding leakage, intestinal blockages, and other issues for your pet; so it’s best to replace these on a rolling basis. 

Healthy chews and treats 

Everyone loves a special treat around the holidays — and your furry friend is no exception. You can take this as an opportunity to “branch out” from your go-to treat options, or stick with the favorites. The choice is yours! 

If you’re shopping for some new stuff, be sure to check out the ingredients panel to make sure that your treats of choice are safe for your pet. Avoid the major offenders (like fillers, excessive sugar, and fake sweeteners like xylitol) and opt for natural alternatives. Your vet can be a great resource if you’re looking for pet-safe healthy dog treats. 

🧑‍🍳 Feeling crafty? You can also try these DIY vet-approved recipes that are sure to please. 

Dog toys 

The holidays wouldn’t be the holidays without some toys under the tree! Chances are that you know what type of toy your pet prefers by now — but in case you don’t, there are plenty of options out there. If you’re not sure what to buy, consider asking yourself… 

  • Does my pet enjoy toys with noise? 
  • Are they interested in team play (like rope-and-tug toys), or independent play toys? 
  • What do I want my pet to experience when they play with the toy? 

If you’re looking for some toy inspo, we recommend heading over to our extensive favorites list. There are plenty of safe options for your furry friend to enjoy, no matter what style of play they prefer. 

Dog subscription boxes

Subscription boxes are a great way to hit all of the bases for a fraction of the cost. If you’re a pet parent on a budget this holiday season, we can’t recommend this option highly enough. 

The catch?  You have to source your subscription boxes carefully and responsibly to keep your pet safe and healthy. Be sure to check all of the toys and treats before handing them off to your pet, just to be sure that they are 100% safe. 

If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at the New York Times’ summary of the best pet subscription boxes on the market. Or, you can make your own “subscription box,” assembling your pal’s favorite items in your favorite box and bow. 

S(paw) items 

Looking to give your pet some extra pampering this holiday season? Try a pet “spa box” of their favorite luxury items. There are plenty of options out there that can help you to replenish your stash and give your pet something to look forward to in their next bath; ranging from shampoo and conditioner sets to pet-safe coat oil for deep moisturization. 

If you’re not sure what to add, take a look at our expert-approved pet bath guides or ask your vet for recommendations. There are plenty of safe, natural, and chemical-free options out there to help you take your pet’s bath time to the next level.

🛀 Dealing with eczema and general skin discomfort? Check out our list of the best shampoos for dogs with dry skin

FidoTabby Alert Tag

The fear of your dog getting lost is fear for all pet owners. Gift your pup (and you) a FREE FidoTabby Alert tag to give you peace of mind if that day ever comes.

Simply register your pet using the unique FidoID on the tag. If your dog is lost, you can trigger an alert via the FTA app that will send out an alert to everyone in the network within a few miles of you with a you dog’s information so they can help find them. When your dog is found, they can contact you or your emergency contacts to be reunited!

These tags also come in cat sizes to share with the rest of the fur-family.

What to buy your cat for Christmas

Did your kitty make it on the good list this year? Make the season meow-y and bright with these feline favorites —

Cat treats 

If you’re looking to deck the halls, consider slipping a few cat treats into your pet’s stocking. There are a ton of options to choose from at the moment, or you could make your own DIY cat treats of choice. Just like with dogs, though, it’s important to steer clear of any dietary pitfalls. This means no high-mercury fish, no low-quality or overly-carby fillers, and no fake sweeteners (like xylitol) that can be deadly to your pet. 

While xylitol poisoning can be commonly associated with dogs (especially ones that are nosy and love stealing people food), it can be equally identified in cats and kittens. Be sure to read the label and check for xylitol or any other fake sweetener types — and if you find any, toss it out. 

Cat trees 

Cat trees are always a great idea to add to your furry friend’s holiday gift list. Cats love being up high — and cat trees give them a leg up, showing them a bird’s eye view of life around them from a special perch of their own. 

The best part? Cat trees are like a gift that keeps on giving. Many cat trees come equipped with pet-safe particle boards, scratching posts, batting strings, and toys, intellectually and physically challenging your pet. 

In the market for a cat tree upgrade? Check out this list of favorites, courtesy of our veterinary team. 

Cat toys

You can’t go wrong with toys for your energetic pal. Cats are incredibly smart and generally enjoy toys that challenge them or catch their attention in some way. This means that you should be looking for bright colors, cat-safe construction, and some form of engagement that the toy caters to in your pet. 

You can go the extra mile and consider catnip- or pheromone-laced toys as well if you’re hoping to get a dual-effect for your kitty. If you’re not sure where to start, consider asking your veterinarian which types of toys are best and safest for your cat at their current stage of development. You can also shop through our comprehensive list of the best cat toys on the market; assembled by our long-time cat parents and veterinary specialists. 

Cat beds

Your feline friend needs a five-star place to sleep. After all—cats can sleep up to 12 to 16 hours per day, on average. (That’s a lot of Z’s!) 

Keep them cozy and comfortable all year long by finding the perfect cat-safe bed they’ll love this holiday season. 

Ready to find the perfect bed for your cat? As you shop, be sure to consider the following make-or-break spec points: 

  • Size. You’ll want a bed that leaves plenty of room for rolling, head-bonking, and loafing around. Don’t go too big, though, as many cats like the feeling of being ever so slightly compacted. Speaking of… 
  • Shape. You’ve seen the viral videos of too-big cats in too-small boxes — and if this has shown us anything, it’s that cats LOVE square- and cube-shaped objects. Choose a bed that has walls, and that is preferably in a cube or circular shape. The proximity of the walls can offer them additional comfort and warmth as they drift off to dreamland. 
  • Material. No two beds are created equal. You’ll want an option that’s crafted from pet-safe materials you can trust. If you’re not sure what this looks like, consider reaching out to your veterinarian. They can help you find an option that works. 

What to keep in mind when shopping for your pet’s presents

There’s no wrong way to give a gift to your furry friend. You can take it in any direction you want — whether you’re shopping for their personality, stuff on the “to buy” list or you’re picking out another one of their all-time favorite toys. 

There are a few things to put on the naughty list, however, as they can make your pet sick. Avoid buying stuff that includes:

  • Dyes. Colorants and dyes can lead to intolerances and physical reactions in your pet. It’s best to avoid toys with dyes altogether unless they are naturally sourced. 
  • Rawhide or animal hide. These hides don’t digest well and can cause digestive blockages, which can be devastating to your dog. It’s best to avoid rawhide-based items altogether. Or, you can opt for vet-approved beef hide on occasion, as long as it’s given in small amounts infrequently. 
  • Hard pieces (such as antlers or bones ). Much like rawhide, these elements don’t digest properly and can lead to stomach upset, perforations, and blockages—generally requiring surgery.
  • Stringy or “fluffy” bits. Many “pet-safe” toys have stringy or fluffy bits that hang off of the toy. The problem? Pets love to chew — and if they ingest any of these parts of the toy, they can have dangerous stomach issues (like foreign body obstruction or strangulated intestines). Like the others on this list, it’s best to avoid these altogether.

No matter how you choose to celebrate, we’re confident that the items on this list will help you to give your furry friend the best holiday season yet. Need more help? No problem. The team at betterpet is here to support you with vet-approved information and in-depth guides about everything pet ownership. Connect with us today to learn more.

Frequently asked questions

What should I get my pet for Christmas? 

Shopping for the holidays? Consider getting your pet a new treat, toy, or spa set. You could also give them a bed upgrade, keeping them cozy all year round. There’s no wrong way to gift your pet, so long as it’s safe and approved by their veterinarian. Happy gifting! 

What do pets love? 

Don’t plan on gifting your pet this year? No problem. Your pet loves attention and touch from you, which is free to give and healthy for them, too. Research suggests that you and your pet get a rush of oxytocin just from sharing your time and attention with them. 

What percent of pet owners buy their pet a Christmas gift? 

Data cited from People Magazine suggests that 94 percent of pet parents buy their pets a gift. This doesn’t mean you have to, though. If you’d rather skip this year or give them extra cuddles instead, they certainly won’t complain. They’ll be happy with whatever you get them! 

What are good Christmas gifts for a dog? 

Dogs and cats often share the same holiday gift list wish list, and enjoy new toys, treats, or bedding. Dogs might also enjoy a snappy new collar, a new leash and harness set, or a new doghouse (if they spend a lot of time outside). You can also give their food station an upgrade, investing in some mentally engaging feeding tools. 

What is the best-selling pet item? 

It’s hard to pick just one item out of the bunch. However, many choose to invest in pet parents and pet gifts for the holidays. These can look like pet food delivery options, smart feeders, GPS pet cameras, or automatic bathroom tools. These types of gifts enrich your furry friend’s life (and your own), making it an automatic win-win.