Your 2021 Holiday Gift Guide for Healthy, Happy Dogs
Updated: Dec 15, 2021
It’s the time of year when we start eyeing gifts and tokens of appreciation for the most important influences in our lives. As any dog-lover can tell you, our pets rank near the top of that list. Our dogs shower us with love throughout the year—it’s only fair that we return the favour! Here at Red Dog Blue Kat, we know the joys—and struggles—of spending as much time as we can with our furry friends over the busy holiday season, so we’ve compiled this dog gift guide that will encourage you to make the most of the winter and bond with your favourite canine. Whether you’re lazing by the fireplace or tackling the elements, every doggy gift listed here is intended to enrich the time you and your dog get to spend together—and make the time that you can’t spend together pass that much easier.
Gift Guide Categories
1. Outdoor Essentials For Your Dog This Holiday
As the sun sets earlier and the temperatures drop, make sure you and your dog are ready to brave the weather in style.
Dog Boots Made for Walking (and running, jumping, and exploring)
Some dog owners have been using dog booties for years, and some are just learning about them from the scorching summer temperatures of the past few summers. In any extreme temperatures—hot or cold—your pet’s pads need to be protected. Sure, your dog may do some fancy high-stepping while getting used to them, but consider the following…
Does Your Dog:
Have lots of fur sprouting between their pads?
Go on long excursions and romps through snowy fields?
Walk on pavement treated with salt or ice melter?
We think most dogs would benefit from booties in the winter, but if you answered yes to any of the above questions, then you should seriously consider shoe shopping with your dog! Fur between the toes can collect compacted snow and ice, making it difficult for them to get a grip on slick surfaces, and the salt and ice melter that collects on their paws can cause skin irritations—or worse, severe GI issues or kidney failure if they lick it off.
Shop for your dog’s shoes the same way you’d shop for your own: make sure they’re snug enough to stay on but not so tight as to pinch their toes. Carefully measure your dog’s paws before ordering, or bring them into a shop to try on before purchasing. Also, remember: back paws are usually smaller than front paws, so measure all four before committing.
Here Are Some Winter Specific Dog Booties We Love!
Deep Snow Booties The last few years have seen a boom in the outdoor industry—suddenly, everyone has a new pair of hardcore hiking boots for every season. Why not gear up your favourite adventure buddy the same way? The Polar Trex Winter Dog Boots by Ruffwear are for those who won’t deny their BFF the joys of snowshoeing, cross country skiing, or other deep snow activities. With Vibram® Icetrek™ soles, you can be sure your dog is running, not skating or slipping, over the ice, and the stretchy gaiter ensures snow stays out—so you can both stay out longer, too!
Can’t find the size you need, or just want to shop local? Muttlucks is a Canadian brand with an impressive selection of dog booties and sizes!
Bundle Up: Dog Jackets
The Canadian winter makes coats necessary for some breeds—is yours one of them? It might be if you have one of the following:
A small dog (they can be miniature or simply low to the ground like a Corgi)
A senior dog (much like people, dogs can’t retain heat as well when they get on in their years)
A lean dog (like a greyhound)
A dog with short hair (consider: their hair may be naturally short, or perhaps they’ve been shorn down in their most recent visit to the groomers)
If any of these sounds like your dog, then you might be in the market for a winter coat! Consider the activities you do most often with your dog in the winter—do you go hut-to-hut cross-country skiing? Or do you mostly stick to the rainy (or snowy) streets of the city? Other factors may include:
A portal for leash or harness attachments
Reflective materials or attachable lights
Waterproofing or water resistance
The amount of coverage and insulation you want—chest and belly protection can be especially important in snowy conditions!
Finally, make sure you follow the measurement guide by your brand of choice to make sure you get one that fits appropriately.
Doggy coats from any of the following brands make great gifts for dogs or dog owners!
RC Pets Canadian made here in BC, RC Pets offers base layers, ponchos, or alpine puffers. There’s so much selection, you’re bound to find something you like. And with all the fun colours their coats come in, you’ll be able to easily find your pup in the snow, too.
Canada Pooch Did you know you can buy doggy snow and slush suits? They’re just as comical (and efficient) as you’d imagine, and a welcome comfort for the dog who thrives on frolicking through knee-high powder but can’t stand the cold on their legs. Or maybe you’re looking for something a little more runway-esque—Canada Pooch also sells faux-fur lined hooded coats, so you and your dog can hit the streets in matching fashion.
Ruffwear Often considered the go-to for performance dog gear, Ruffwear has a style of jacket for every outdoor pursuit. If you’re spending significant time in the backcountry with your dog, you’d be remiss if you didn’t check out some of their selection.
Don't Get Caught In The Dark...
Chances are, your day-to-day outdoor activities with your dog are taking place in the twilight hours this time of year. Put your mind at ease knowing that everyone can spot your dog as they burn off energy with an extreme case of zoomies at the park.
Clip On Collar LED Lights If you’re in the market for a glowing collar, you’ll find you have no shortage of options in styles, sizes, battery-charged or rechargeable—it can be a little overwhelming. These small clip-on lights, however, make the decision easy. The carabiner means you can attach them anywhere, and the simple one-button controls make it easy to cycle through solid and flashing patterns. It’s worth picking up a variety of these LED collar lights for dogs: if you have more than one dog, you can now tell them apart in the dark; alternatively, you can clip one light to their collar and another to the back of a harness, so your pup is easily seen from both sides. They’re not just for dogs—you can attach one to your key ring for personal use, which can also serve as a backup for your dog while out walking.
Nite Ize Glowstreak LED Ball Just because evening walks will take place in the dark for the next few months doesn’t mean you need to forgo a good game of fetch with your dog. The Glowstreak LED ball is the perfect gift for dogs who live to fetch; it’s the same size as a tennis ball, made of durable rubber, waterproof, and floats. It comes in solid red or a shifting disco arrangement of colours and will glow up to 35 hours before you need to replace the batteries, which is easy enough with a flathead screwdriver. Gone are the days of games cut short by the loss of a ball in the bushes!
Staying Safe: First Aid Accidents happen when we expect them least, and that can include when out adventuring with your dog. Just because accidents are unexpected, doesn’t mean you need to be blindsided by them: come prepared with a first aid kit on every outing. Wild Med Kits is a Canadian company that specializes in wilderness first aid supplies, and they make a first aid kit specifically for pets. It’s small enough to clip onto a belt or leash, but comes with all the necessary tools plus a pet first aid guide to support your treatment of your pet in the field. They also offer “build your own kit” options if you want to bolster what’s already included. If you’re headed into the backcountry for a few days, consider bulking up with a kit of your own.
2. Food- A Gift for Any Dog!
‘Tis the season of feasting. When we all gather around a table with our family and eat to our heart’s content, don’t forget to offer something special for your four-legged family members!
A Bone to Pick
If you struggle with walking the line between including your dog in the family Christmas meal and having them beg for table scraps, consider getting a raw bone to occupy them throughout the evening. Raw bones are like little, delicious puzzles for your pet to gnaw their way through, and since it can entertain them for hours, this means this gift benefits their brain, teeth, jaw muscles, and—one can safely assume—their levels of love for you.
There are two types of raw bones: consumable and recreational. At Red Dog Blue Kat we offer a variety of proteins to select from within those two categories—get decadent with kangaroo tails or elk bones, or stick with the comfort classics like beef knuckles and whole herring, just to name a few. Not all raw bones are suitable for certain pets, so be sure to check out our Bone Feeding Guide and make sure you get the treat your dog will love best!
**An Important Disclaimer About Bones:
Never, ever cook raw bones. Once cooked, the bone itself becomes brittle and can snap into tiny sharp shards when your pet bites down on them. Keep the treat raw—the way it was meant to be!
New to feeding raw bones? Get the lowdown with our post on
Bones 101: Bone Feeding Basics
Treats Without the Guilt
Like an indulgent grandfather with a pocket full of candy, sometimes half the fun is dishing the treats in small, unexpected doses. When you want the treat-giving to be ongoing but healthy, dehydrated treats are the way to go. RDBK’s treats are minimally processed and sustainably sourced with free-range kangaroo and wild-caught salmon—that’s two reasons you can indulge your dog guilt-free!
Find a Red Dog Blue Kat Retailer Near You!
For the DIY Master, Treat Molds and More!
If you’re the type to spend your snowed-in days baking up a storm, then making your own pet treats might be the method for you. They can make great gifts for other dog-lovers in your life as well. There are tons of great recipes online that are easy to make and healthy for your dog—and they’ll love the taste of them too! That being said, with all the different baked sweets flying around the holiday season, you need to make sure your dog’s treats don’t get mixed in with your own, or vice versa.
Silicone Molds This 3 Pack of Silicone Mold Trays has one dog paw print and two bone molds. Silicone molds like these are versatile—you can bake them, freeze them, and throw them in the dishwasher. Plus, they make it easy to pop out the finished product without ruining the pattern!
Bone Cookie Cutter Alternatively, make things extra special with this Personalized Dog Bone Cookie Cutter by ‘Aint She Sweet Cutters on Etsy; these come in different sizes and thicknesses so that you can match the cookie size to your dog’s size.
3. Brain Stimulating Toys For Dogs
If your dog has a lot of energy, you already know that having toys that make them use their brains is crucial for tiring them out. Even dogs that aren’t trying to run up the walls will love these fun, puzzling, and rewarding toys. Here are our top suggestions that make great holiday gifts for dogs:
Interactive Feeders No dog gift guide is complete without a KONG. Arguably the world’s most popular dog toy after a brand new tennis ball, KONG’s are made to be indestructible, machine washable, and an endless source of entertainment; in this, the Kong Wobbler does not disappoint. Weighted at the bottom, so it’s always self-righting, the Wobbler has a hole on one side to slowly dispense kibble or treats and unscrews for easy filling. Your dog will spend ages rolling this toy around and watching it bounce back up!
Lick Mats There are so many uses for lick mats that you probably already need one without realizing it. Similar to slow feeder bowls, these are flat, silicone mats with raised patterns to encourage your pet to lick up their food, meaning not only can you slow down a gulper, but you can offer a whole variety of textured foods: peanut butter, yogurt, dry food, raw food—it all benefits from lick mats! They’re designed to calm and distract pets, so you can use them while trimming your dogs’ nails, during bathtime, fireworks, or vet visits. We like the Messy Mutts Lick Bowl Mat, as it combines the best worlds of a flat, textured mat with a nubbly-textured bowl that can hold up to 1 cup of liquid! Bone broth treats, anyone?
Snuffle Mats Even with all the booties and jackets you and your dog could ever want, sometimes the winter weather just won’t cooperate. While you may be content to stay in and curl up with a book, your pup still needs to burn off the energy they spent all day building up! Fortunately, as little as 15 minutes of intense sniffing and foraging can tire your dog out as much as an hour-long walk, making snuffle mats an essential enrichment tool that any pet and owner will be happy to have. Malamoose is a Canadian company that makes these mats with a thick rubber bottom with long lengths of fleece strips meant to mimic grass; they come in enough fun colour combinations too, so you can match to your (and your dog’s) aesthetic preference. Simply shake some dehydrated treats or kibble into the strands and watch your dog happily snuffle away!
4. Fashion Staples for Dogs
Basic gear doesn’t have to be a basic gift! It’s tempting to get our dogs unique gifts for the holidays, but the wear and tear on their everyday gear means the holidays is the perfect time to splurge on a nicer version of something they really need and will use year-round.
Akita Handmade Of anything you could get your dog, a collar is the one thing they use the most, so why settle for a generic brand and colour? Akita Handmade collars are a step above the competition. They feature an incredible assortment of beautiful patterns printed on a sturdy canvas. They’re wide, easy to grab, stain-resistant, and they come with a silver D-ring and a small silver tree of life charm. Additionally, they come in various sizes, and the company is willing to make adjustments to their pre-arranged sizing to accommodate any adjustments needed. The hardest part will be choosing a pattern you love the most! (While you’re there, don’t forget to check out their collection of colourful biothane leashes as well!) **Disclaimer:** Akita Handmade will be closing for the holidays on December 1st, so if you see a design you absolutely must have/gift, then get your orders in ASAP!
Wilderdog When you need a leash that can take a beating, Wilderdog has you set. Their leashes (and collars!) are made of colourful climbing rope, making them the most durable products on the market. The larger leash can come in either 5ft or 10ft of 3/8” climbing rope, while the smaller version only comes in 5ft of 5/16” rope. Some come with four strands of reflective tape woven through them, and all come with a locking carabiner. This carabiner makes clipping and securing easy, so you can rest knowing your dog can’t do a funky move and somehow come untethered. As a bonus, all of their rope leashes come with a lifetime warranty.
Copper Paws If you were overwhelmed by the choices of Akita collars, then brace yourself: Copper Paws makes hundreds of stylized metal pet ID tags, and they range from adorable simplicity to whimsical complexity. Each one is hand-stamped, and you can cho