12 gifts for healthier, happier cats and dogs (and their owners)
Gifts that will spoil your fur babies, keep them healthy and make caring for them easier.
Wrap something under the tree for your furry loved ones too.Branston and Twiglet / Getty Images
By Brianna Steinhilber
Our editors have independently selected the items featured in this article because we think they’re worth knowing about. NBC News has affiliate relationships so we may get a small share of the revenue if you buy something through our links.
Our pets are a part of the family — we might even like them more than the humans on our list. They keep us company, boost our happiness and lower our stress levels (just the sound of your cat's purr can calm your nerves). With everything our pets give us all year long, it comes as no surprise that we want to put something special under the tree just for them. Here are some of our top picks for a gift that will spoil your fur baby, help keep them healthy and happy and make caring for them easier than ever.
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Studies show that dog owners are more active: They are more likely to reach their fitness goals than those without canine companions. Chances are, if you’re taking your pup along for those weekend hikes, you’re cramming a clunky water bowl into your backpack. Lighten your load with this collar that has an embedded water bowl that zips out for an instant bowl whenever your dog needs a drink.
You may not be able to spend every day on the couch with your pet (one can dream, right?), but you can check in with them throughout the day thanks to pet cameras. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to any devoted pet parents; who wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to call and check in during a long workday? While there are many on the market, we love Furbo for it's streamlined design that blends right in with your living room decor. Furbo allows you to see what your pet is up to (even at night, thanks to a full HD camera with night vision), two-way chat with them, and dispense treats. Anecdotally, we found it to be great for dogs with separation anxiety. You'll get a notification to your smartphone (via the app) when it detects barking so that you can talk to your dog and calm them down.
No more unsightly scratching posts or cat toys strewn about the living floor (which you pick up frantically as guests arrive). The new line of feline furniture from Catit offers a streamlined design (in white or walnut) that will blend seamlessly with your living room, while combining all your cats nap and play needs into open functional piece of furniture. The box offers entertainment with a scratching post and a ball, and cozy spots to lounge and rest. The cushions and scratching mats are removable for easy cleaning, and the boxes come in a variety of heights and configurations to fit your space.
Price: $79 (plus $9.95 /monthly service fee), Amazon
Fitness trackers aren’t just for us step-counting humans. While there are a few on the market, Link AKC’s smart collar boasts some impressive celebrity fans, including Kate Upton and Christie Brinkley. Why do they love it? Not only does the collar track your dog’s location and activity and provide personalized fitness recommendations, but it organizes their medical information (no more forgetting to make vet appointments!), warns you when their environment is too hot or cold and even has an app-activated light and sound function to keep them safe outdoors at night. Plus, it looks fashionable, too.
Make holiday and New Year travel (and indulging their wanderlust all year long) a little less stressful for your favorite pet parent by gifting them a year membership to the pet and house sitting service. The membership provides access to hundreds of thousands of verified pet sitters who are ready to travel the world and watch members’ pets in exchange for a stay at their homes. Not only will your pets be cared for full-time while you away (not just your cats and dogs, but chickens, lizards, horses and even llamas!), but someone will be there watching the house as well.
For the pet-lover who cherishes their furry best friend so much they want to commemorate them in a portrait, we have the perfect gift: a trip to Muse Paintbar (which combines painting instruction with a restaurant and bar). Their paint-your-pet classes are among the most popular sessions and are offered 2-3 times per month at each of their 30+ locations on the east coast. Simply upload a picture of your pet, and they will backlight it on a canvas for easy tracing. An instructor will then walk you step-by-step through the painting process while you sip a wine or beer and enjoy some snacks. The recipient will appreciate a night out on the town that comes with a party favor to take home that they painted themselves.
Whether you have to stay late at the office or have happy hour plans that keep you from getting home to feed your pet, this smart feeder will get the job done. Simply download the app, load the feeder with food, and you can feed them anywhere, anytime with the click of a button. The feeder recommends healthy portions, based on your pets age, weight, and activity. You can also set up automatic feedings for your pet — no more scrambling in the morning to feed them when you're running late — and it can save cat parents the need to hire a sitter when spending a night away from home.
Anyone who has walked two dogs at once knows how quickly a nice, leisurely walk can turn into a twisted, tangled nightmare. The Might Paw leash has a swivel attachment that allows you to walk two dogs at once without having to stop and untangle their leashes, while also freeing up a hand (hey, your significant other may be more likely to do the morning walks if they can take their coffee with them). The bungee technology also reduces unneeded stress to the wrist, elbow, shoulder and neck if you have dogs that pull (or chase squirrels). We love this gift for dog lovers!
Doesn’t your cat deserve to get some mail every now and then? (She spends enough time knocking yours off the counter!) Opt for a one-, three- or six-month subscription and receive a monthly box of 4-6 items, including all-natural treats, fun toys, cool gear and sometimes even a little something for the crazy cat mom, too. Plus, the company supports animal shelters and rescue efforts – and we always love a good gift that gifts back. (For every MeowBox you buy, the company gives a can of food to a shelter cat on your behalf, and you can even track where the can goes.)
Most at-home baths are far from a luxurious experience: You wrestle your dog into the tub, end up as wet as they are and then spend the next 20 minutes chasing them around the house with a towel. Make at-home cleanings way easier with Kibble Pet's waterless products. Yes, you heard us right: A bath, no tub required. Perfect for travelling with your pet (or a quick cleaning after a messy hike), the line includes a Brush-in Shine Waterless Shampoo (made with organic ingredients), a Dematter Leave-in Spray (for dogs that like to roll, swim and frolic outdoors) and even Soothing Wipes in Lavender, which help clean paws after a walk on icy, salty sidewalks or on the beach.
Your pets love toys. But many of the standard versions are made with synthetic materials and chemicals that can actually be harmful to them, especially if your pet likes to rip and tear toys apart. That’s why Pam Wheelock launched Purrfect Toys, a line of organic, dye-free and natural dog and cat toys. They offer everything from balls and tugs for playful pups, to jingles and catnip toys for curious cats. Opt for one of their gift baskets for your own pet (or your favorite cat or dog owner), which includes a few of their most popular toys and a bag of healthy treats. (Another company that gives back, Purrfect donates 5 percent of every sale to no kill/rescue organizations.)
Bath time can be stressful for pets (who don’t particularly like being washed) and owners (who are juggling soap, a hose and an unruly dog). Aquapaw takes some of the stress and discomfort out of the equation by allowing you to strap a washer pad to one hand which keeps the water focused on your pet (and away from flooding the rest of the bathroom) and also provides a nice massage. The best feature may be your ability to control the flow of water simply by opening and closing your hand. Bath time game changer.
Losing a pet is always heartbreaking, but it can be especially hard during the holidays when we spend more time at home with loved ones, and are under the added-stress that this time of year can bring. Let someone who is dealing with a loss know you are thinking of them — while also giving them a way to honor their pet. The candle is made of 100 percent natural soy wax and is infused with a blend of citrus oils that gives off a light citrus, honey and vanilla scent. (They also have candles in holiday scents like Apple Cider and Sugared Cranberries that are designed to help neutralize odors in homes with cats.)
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