(Note: This article may include affiliate links) The holidays are just around the corner, and whether you plan to celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, or simply, surviving 2020, I think most of us would agree, our animal family members are to thank for our merriest days this year!
So in the spirit of gratitude, I invited my favorite little elves, Penelope and Delilah, to help me come up with a wish list of our favorite gift ideas. Maybe you want to spoil the dog who seems to have everything, or you’re hoping to stretch your dollar for the best budget finds. We’ve got you covered, with inspiration to thank your dog, and the special dog lovers in your life!
Most of these products we own, use, and have loved for a while. Some are new innovations we can’t wait to get our paws on! If you’re wondering how we’ve narrowed down the incredible, yet the overwhelming selection of dog products, here are a few questions I ask before sharing with you:
- Who is the founder? As a small-business startup entrepreneur myself, it’s no surprise I’m always eager to support other female, as well as BIPOC and LGBTQ founders.
- Where is the product made? I love supporting products made in the USA, or fair trade, with ethical business practices that support the surrounding community.
- What is the value proposition? I look for creativity and innovation! When it comes to high tech products, I carefully examine the item’s features and weigh the cost with its benefits.
- What is the company’s mission? I appreciate brands that are about more than business, with a mission to leave a pawsitive impact on the planet. Many of the companies below are in line with my ethics, and the values of my own Nativo family brand.
So are you ready fur the holidays? Sing it with me!
Snowflakes on puppies and whiskers on kittens
Bright colored dog toys and treats made of chicken
Amazon packages UPS brings
These are a few of my favorite things for your dog:
FAVORITE HOLIDAY TOYS ~ Jax n Bones
I’ve been a big fan of Jax N Bones for years. Their founder, Tina Nguyen is a friend and fellow female founder. She designs, manufactures and ships her eco-friendly products in our home state of California, and she’s a huge supporter of local animal rescues, inspired by her heart dog Jax.
If you’re looking to spoil your cherished dog, their collection of holiday dog toys are the perfect stocking stuffers, and their handmade stylish dog beds are some of the best in the world! Years ago, I made this fun gingerbread dog-house cover for Delilah’s crate with the J&B Christmas toys!
My girls, Penelope & Delilah, love their custom Jax & Bones beds, and if you check out their website, you might recognize three of their models, including our angel, Preston.
FAVORITE DOG TAGS ~ so many artsy custom options, my favs below!
The first thing every new dog parent needs is a collar with an identification tag. I love discovering small business owners who craft custom ID tags.
Here are a few of my Etsy favorites, in no particular order of how awesome they are:
- Tag Me Pet Tags – exquisite personalized, hand painted ID tags, my dogs all have one!
- Metal Heads Boutique – nature-inspired, hand-stamped hexagon ID tags
- The Wooden Willow – earthy, personalized, hand stamped copper ID Tag
- Love Your Pets Company – colorful silicone, soundless engraved Pet ID Tags
- Providence Engraving – slide on, dangle free ID tags… super nice and functional
- Dobie Kustomz – founded by husband & wife team, Melinda & Joshua Mohammed, parents to 3 stunning, you guessed it, Dobies! I’m obsessed with their metal + Swarovski-crystal designs. Their mission is to “make durable dog tags as beautiful and unique as the dogs that wear them.”
FAVORITE CUSTOM COLLAR ~ By The Scruff I recently discovered this awesome small business, from another female founder, Jessica Mattan. She crafts gorgeous, custom biothane collars that are somehow durable and glamorous and made with studs, bling and even Swarovski crystals. My girls have been wearing the same collars for years because, to be honest, I’m lazy 😉 so I am excited to receive Penelope and Delilah’s beautiful new collars. Our adventures include lots of mud hiking, and saltwater, paddleboarding, and I have a feeling By The Scruff’s washable collars will be ready for the challenge of becoming my dogs’ new everyday collars!
FAVORITE ENRICHMENT TOY ~ PupPod
Oh my dog, a “video game” for dogs that reinforces good choices and supports R+ training?! YES!!! Click! Treat! Christmas came early in our household, because my lucky girls were gifted one of the hottest new dog enrichment toys of the season. The PupPod Rocker and Feeder is a set of innovative canine enrichment devices that gamified feeding time with interactive puzzle challenges for dogs. Pet parents can also use the connected devices to access a live video feed and play with their dogs from anywhere via the PupPod Mobile App. I had been researching interactive treat-dispensing cameras, but when I came across the new and improved PupPod, I had to get our paws on it!
The PupPod Rocker gives your dogs the mental stimulation they crave and the game gets harder as your dog gets smarter. Touch the Rocker at the right time and earn rewards. It’s like automated clicker training. Finally, a toy that’s as smart as your dog!
Stay tuned to my @LauraNativo IG and YouTube to watch Delilah Jane’s journey learning how to play. I predict the PupPod will be top of every dog’s wish list for Santa this holiday!
FAVORITE Treats & Chews ~ Nativo Naturals’ NumNums & ChillinChews
Ok, maybe, I’m biased, but I am so proud of my family brand’s recent launch. NumNums are a long-time dream of mine. After 17+ years of home cooking human grade meats and green veggies for my heart dog, Preston, I wanted to develop a training treat of the highest quality, ethically-sourced ingredients available. Our freeze-dried raw NumNums are made, sourced, packaged in the USA and formulated by a respected integrative veterinarian, Dr. Laurie Coger. Our Chillin Chews are healthy, delicious single-ingredient snacks to support relaxation.
We give back a portion of sales, through our #LoveDoggedly initiative. NumNums’ tiny size are ideal for positive reinforcement training, and high value rewards, perfect for snuffle mats and enrichment feeders.
FAVORITE PET SUPPLEMENTS ~ InClover
InClover was founded by biochemist Rebecca Rose, another one of my female founder inspirations. Rebecca has dedicated her life to the study of how nutrition supports overall health. A pioneer in clinical research, she is the author of three patents, and her published works continue to inspire scientists and developers around the world. She carefully formulates innovative supplements using evidence-based research and the finest natural ingredients.
Penelope & Delilah love their allergy and immune support, BioResiliant. One of the greatest gifts we can give our dogs is support for their wellness.
Bonus points for Rebecca being really fun to meet up with at pet industry trade shows!
For your home:
FAVORITE DOG CRATE ~ It’s a three-way tie!
Admittedly, my healthy middle-age dogs only use a crate on set, or when we travel in the van. So I have to test new dog crates on my client dogs! I haven’t tried my two top picks yet, but gosh, they are gorgeous! If you’re looking for a designer crate that is aesthetic AF, check out these two options from Diggs and Fable. And if you’re in need of a more budget-friendly option, Midwest makes some of the most sturdy and versatile crates around. I really like their Ovation double door for crate training.
Knowing how many of you adopted new pandemic puppies and rescues pups, I had to include three of my favorite dog crate options. I’m a huge proponent of crate training, for dogs of all ages. Whether you’re helping a young pupper learn bladder control, acclimating a rowdy rover to a safe space, or need to confine a dog who is recovering from accident or injury, I think it’s important to help our dogs feel comfortable, for anytime they’re better off in a crate.
FAVORITE POTTY INNOVATION ~ BarkPotty
Whether you just welcomed a new puppy, need a portable potty option for your travels or you’re helping your senior dog age with dignity there are many reasons to consider simple, disposable bathroom facilities for our dogs. But say it with me, No more potty pads! Unless you don’t mind your dog mistaking the door mat, area rug or carpeting for a super plush potty palace. Dogs can’t easily discriminate between fabric flooring and potty pad materials.
For the last couple of years of Preston’s life, I experimented with balcony alternatives. We tried everything from expensive sod patches to recycled paper kitty litter in plastic kiddie pools. When I discovered Bark Potty, I was intrigued. According to their website, “Bark Potty is made of real bark and like real grass, contains the natural smells that compel dogs to “go.” The tray is lined to prevent leaks, the proprietary bark naturally neutralizes odors, and one Potty replaces up to sixty pee pads.”
I had to try it! Preston did really well with it, at 17 he was blind, deaf and had limited mobility. I like that he could still smell BarkPotty, and recognize it as an “outdoor alternative” at the same time, its low profile height made it easy for a tiny, arthritic Pomeranian to walk himself onto. I highly recommend this for both puppies and older dogs who need a potty pad alternative.
FAVORITE HOME SPLURGE ~ Ruggable
Where are all my multi-dog household friends?! If you want a home that welcomes dogs, but doesn’t smell like dog, you need this rug in your life! Ruggable makes washable area rugs in all sizes that are both durable and aesthetic AF! Mine have withstood pee, poop, vomit and yes, even a glass of wine 😉 I’ve had a 6×9 in my living room for over a year, and it still looks good as new after multiple washes.
PS, for all the senior dog moms ~ I was worried about the nonslip rug pad when my 17-year-old Preston was alive, because he peed wherever he wanted multiple times a day, and the under section isn’t as easy to clean, when you live in an apartment without a hose or washing machine. I discovered a cool Ruggable hack, by using the washable rug cover over a waterproof area rug pad from Amazon. That was far easier to sanitize after Preston’s 17-year-old every day oops moments. I would do anything for my baby boy back, and cleaning a zillion accidents a day 😉 if you have a senior dog who is incontinent, get this rug, and cherish every messy, happy, wonderful day together. This is a perfect gift for dogs of all ages!
FAVORITE DOG BOOK ~ Working Like a Dog
The perfect coffee table book for dog lovers! One of my best friends and fellow dog trainers, Nicole Ellis, traveled America photographing service dogs and capturing their stories. Working Like a Dog gives you a window into the world of working animals, reminding us that, first and foremost, a dog is truly a human’s best friend and co-worker. This book showcases canine superheroes, and is sure to inspire every dog lover!
FAVORITE ENRICHMENT BONUS – DogTV Subscription
Full disclosure, I’m proud to be DogTV’s official training advisor 😉 treat your fur family to a free trial, and check out my upcoming series of free, DIY dog training videos. DogTV’s scientifically-based programming offers dogs a variety of sounds and visuals, created to help stimulate them, or support relaxation. I love pairing DogTV with nutritional enrichment to promote healthy and positive desensitization.
For you — the person who adores his or her dog!
FAVORITE GENETIC TEST ~ Embark
Perfect for everyone who adopted a pandemic rescue pup! If I had a dollar for everyone who asked me, what kind of dog is Delilah Jane? I would be one wealthy dog mom; for all of us lucky mystery mutt parents, I’m sure you’re curious about their heritage. What I love about Embark, is it tests your dog’s genetics, as well as potential health risks.
Embark is one of the sponsors for my new TV series, Dog Masters, and I was lucky enough to get all three of my canine kids tested. I could not believe how accurate the results were, nailing Preston’s 100% Pomeranian, Penelope as Pomeranian Chihuahua, and each of the dogs’ adult weight — all from a saliva swab! Delilah’s results were fascinating. According to Embark, she’s a blend of German Shepherd, Collie, Akita, Husky, Chow, Rottweiler, Pittie and mystery mutt. She truly acts like a Darwin, best of every dog!
FAVORITE DOG + DOG MOM GROOMING ~ PinkSqrl
I love supporting other dog mom female founders. Pink Squirrel is another deserving small business, founded by my friend and veterinarian, Dr. Dana Bleifer. She created a natural line of chemical-free, made in the USA grooming products that you can use on your dog, AND yourself!
I absolutely love this concept. I look for the healthiest, highest quality shampoo, conditioner and natural bug repellent for everyone in my home. Why not simplify life with a brand that is safe for both two- and four-legged family members?
As a brave breast cancer survivor, Dana used her medical background to create skin and hair products that give back, with a percentage of profits donated to breast cancer research. Get your SQRL on!
FAVORITE HUMAN GEAR ~ Woof Cultr
If you’re looking to update your WFH Zoom wardrobe, I’ve got the perfect stay at home dog mom gear! My friends Mandy and Josh of Woof Cultr are professional dog trainers, passionate about positive reinforcement.
They created a line of super cute, super nerdy dog apparel: shirts, hats, mugs, masks and more. Its goal is creating awareness for humane training methods, they deserve our support.
I can’t get enough of their fun sayings like: snack leader, cookie pusher, reward your dog, and dog hair don’t care.
*Enter the code LAURA20 at checkout, for 20% off your purchase of $50.00 or more! Discount expires on NYD, 1/1/2021
FAVORITE DOG CARRIER ~ K9 SportSack
Do you have a tiny dog with a big spirit for adventure? Are you one of the millions who recently adopted a pandemic puppy? Do you have a senior dog who can’t always keep up, but wants to stay part of the action? As soon as I discovered the K9 Sports Sack, I fell in love. This forward-facing backpack dog carrier is the perfect way to safely include your dogs wherever life takes you… Hiking, biking, skiing, snowboarding, shopping, the possibilities are endless.
I have a sentimental connection to the K9 Sport Sack. The company was generous enough to send me one, after meeting them at a pet trade show. Right after we unboxed it, I was camping with my dogs in Yosemite. Preston was able to join the fun at the age of 17, then two weeks later, he passed away. I had no idea that would our last outdoor adventure, but I am so grateful he was a part of it.
If you are one of the lucky dog parents who has a senior dog, or a new puppy who needs safe socialization, this is a gift that will always give back.
No more leaving your best friend behind!
Cream pomeranians and black standard poodles
Adorable mutts and cute fluffy doodles.
Dog angels who fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things…
So what do you think? Are you adding anything above to your wish list?
Please comment below if I missed anything 🙂 and let me know if our list is helpful. Please tag us on IG @LauraNativo @NativoPetFamily @DogTV as your dog unwraps their Christmas, Hanukkah and non-religious, just-because gifts!
We hope you have a safe and merry season. Give your dog a NumNum from us!
Love & Licks, ~Laura Nativo & the Nativo Family Zoo