Dog-parents can relate… it’s time for the office Secret Santa or you’ve just received a birthday gift from a relative. How much do you want to bet it’s those terrible Bichon Friese oven mitts, or yet another “cute” dog figurine and not a perfect gift for dog owners?
Don’t get me wrong, buying perfect gifts is just plain hard. Plus, any gift given takes thought on the part of the giver, which should always be appreciated. It’s a bit easier when we know the recipient is madly passionate about something. We can just gift them something that reflects that love, right?
Unfortunately, madly passionate people usually share that passion fairly loudly–which means their entire circle of friends and family have already been tapping that gift theme for years. As a lifelong dog gal and rescuer who also works full time in the pet industry, this means I probably already have the oven mitts, matching t-shirt, hat, bedsheets, plates and assortment of shelf items.
As my home takes shape around me year after year, I’m less likely to need unmatched mugs, rugs printed with puppy faces, “wipe your paws” welcome mats, dog plus wine t-shirt sayings, and I only need one hook for the dog’s leash (well–maybe I could put one by the back door).
But that doesn’t mean I hate getting dog stuff. It just means I really appreciate it when a friend, colleague or family member finds something that matches both my personality, style and my passion.
Here are 6 tips for finding perfect gifts for dog lovers.
1. Don’t trust us if we say “awwww…” Your friend did smile at a puppy-printed welcome mat at the store when you said “look at this!” It IS cute (therefore the “awww”) but that doesn’t mean they really want it on their own doorstep. Don’t mistake a momentary smile for delight unless a dog-lover positively gushes over that sort-of-cool-sort-of-cheesy faux-vintage metal Boston Terrier treat jar. I mean, they do look cute on the kitchen countertop!
2. Go unusual! If you’ve seen a dog-themed gift in two stores, chances are your dog-focused friend has seen it in five more, plus in the countless online ads on their dog-centric Facebook feed. If you are determined to “go dog” with perfect gifts, be sure to go unique as well.
Thinking clothes? Give t-shirts a pass unless you find something truly different—I’ve got so many dog-themed t-shirts I’m planning to have a quilt made out of them someday. How about some funky-cute dog socks for a female friend? Maybe some stylish chic scarves for your friend? Accessories can be great because they can be swapped out daily and give your friend a nice little extra flair.
Did you ever think homegoods could be perfect gifts for dog owners? If your friend has a particularly large dog, a set of super absorbent bath towels would be helpful. No one buys the dog his own towels–it’s sure to get an appreciative laugh, and we can toss out those ragged rejects we’ve been using. In fact, I still have dog towels and enjoy using them for over a decade. Such great, practical and perfect gifts!
3. Look us over carefully. When you hang out with your dog-loving friend, take a close look at their home, clothes, jewelry and car to learn precisely how well stocked they already are, and what KIND of dog enthusiast they are.
Do they like all dogs, or just THEIR dog? If images in their home are all of personal pets, chances are good they’ll welcome a custom pet portrait, but probably aren’t into generic canine artwork. A custom etching of their best friend is an unusual gift that will be cherished.
It’s good practice in your search for perfect gifts for dog owners to check out the jewelry-wearing habits of the friends in your personal posse, whether or not they are dog lovers. Do they like cute earrings? A Siberian Husky Necklace? Greyhound stud earrings in sterling silver or 14k gold? No jewelry at all? Any female dog-lover over age 20 has already been given scads of dog earrings, necklaces, and pins. If they sport dog-themed earrings every time you see them, chances are good they’ll welcome a unique addition to their collection. But if not, avoid buying a lovely gift that just doesn’t really match your friend’s taste.
Are they niche dog lovers? Is it all about rescue dogs, or sled-dogs, show-dogs, agility dogs—who knew that “dog” could break out into so many passions? Be sure to pick the right one! Just ask–they’ll love to tell you which one, and why. (I’d suggest avoiding plaques with sayings. Your rescue-loving friend probably already has a few “rescue my heart” plaques sitting in the attic.)
4. Go trendy. What’s new in the pet world? Cutting edge stuff will always excite a pet lover.
I have yet to talk to a pet owner who isn’t somewhat curious about CBD, but is a little wary about the price just to try it out. CBD definitely has a price that is in the reasonable-gift range, but a little higher than the “just curious” range for people who are pinching pennies. If your friend has mentioned their dog can be anxious, or has aches and pains from an injury or age, they probably will be delighted at the gift of CBD tinctures or maybe some CBD treats.
In the age of COVID-19, a matching mask for your friend and bandana for their dog is sure to get conversations started when your friend and dog are out for a walk.
I hope this list helps you in finding perfect gifts for dog lovers! Let me know in the comments if you would like more perfect gifts blog posts.