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By Jill Showalter
We know your dogs been a good boy this year. He such a good boy, yes such a good boy! Who's a good boy?!?! Who's a good boy!?!? Yes you are, Yes you are. Such a good boy. Sorry. Got carried away there. Let's just say we know your dog is not on the Naughty List and, of course, you have an extra stocking that the kids have noticed is just a bit bigger than theirs. Now let's fill that bad boy up.
For all dogs: Kong Chew Toy
Looking for something to please every dog on your list? Consider a Kong chew toy. You've probably seen those odd-looking cylinders in pet stores and wondered why any dog would want to play with that instead of, let's say, a stuffed, crinkly squirrel. Wonder no more. The Kong line of toys, available in sizes for all dogs, come with an open space for a treat, which mean your dog will spend a significant amount of time rolling and chewing and pawing the Kong until she's able to get to the goody inside. Sure, it might seem a bit sadistic—"Want this bone? You can have it if you can get it out of this hard-rubber grenade?"— dogs have a blast playing with them and owners get a kick out of watching them engage in their treat-seeking quest.
Available for $7 to $15 at chewy.com.
For dogs who love to chew (or have a thing against Rudolph): Elk Antlers
Tired of your dog going through bones and chew toys at a ridiculous rate? Then get them a little chewing challenge this Christmas. Elk Antlers last a long, long time and your dog will spend hours keeping himself busy trying to make them disappear. Unlike some animal bones that get a little funky after a week, Elk Antlers don't smell. You also won't find their shards and shavings around your house since their extra durability means they'll stay in one piece longer than normal bones. And yes, we know Rudolph's a reindeer and not an elk. And yes, we're just kidding, kind of).
Available for $9.99 to $41.99 at buckboneorganics.com.
For the dog who loves the water: Kopeks Foldable Outdoor Pet Pool
Summer may seem far off in the distance but it will be here soon enough. Help your dog enjoy some serious splash time with the inexpensive Kopeks Foldable Outdoor Pet Pool, which provides your pet with a great pool experience from the comfort of her own yard. It's the must-have item for outdoor lounging dogs everywhere. Best of all, you don't need to sacrifice yard space with a permanent or plastic pool. These pools are easy to put up and collapse down to the size of a small box when not in use, so you can tuck it away in the garage until your puppy's staycation begins.
Available for $25 to $60 at mykopeks.com.
For high-energy dogs: Snug Rubber Dog Balls
Like a fourth-grader with an iPhone, all the cool dogs play fetch with Snug Rubber Dog Balls. Virtually indestructible, these dogs have great bounce and will keep your dog occupied for hours. And unlike those chewed-up tennis balls you've been using the past few years, these balls won't camouflage themselves in your lawn. Thanks to their bright colors, it's easy for your dog—and more importantly, you—to find them..
Available for $10 for a 3-pack at amazon.com.
For dogs who love their teeth: Nylabone Dental Dinosaurs
Most dog owners don't do a great job tending to their dog's teeth so Nylabone Dental Dinosaurs can provide some much needed assistance in the effort to improve a dog's dental health. These plastic chew toys, covered in small nubs that help clean teeth and massage gums, have natural flavors that encourage dogs to keep chewing. It's a gift designed to help them but they won't even know that because, well, it's a gift.
Available for $5-to $8 at chewy.com.
For high-energy dogs who love their teeth: Kong Rubber Frisbee
Playing frisbee with your dog provides great exercise for her and even better entertainment for you but that "Miller Lite" hard-plastic frisbee you've had since college may not be dog-friendly. In fact, if your dog is catching your frisbee toss at full-speed, there's a good chance she's taking some shots to her teeth. The Kong Rubber Frisbee is sturdy enough to survive your dog's playtime energy and flexible enough to keep her teeth safe.
Available for $12 at chewy.com.
For dogs who love to bond: Mammoth Floss Chews Rope Tug
Playing tug with your dog is a great way for the two of you to bond. It's a face-to-face activity that can be challenging and rewarding for you and your dog. And if there's another dog in the house, even better. Dogs will use the rope tug to play with each other, establishing and strengthening their bond between them. Also good in multi dog families to create healthy play between dogs in the same house.
Available for $8 to $25 at chewy.com.
For the bored dog and the time-constrained owner: A Professional Dog Walk
Dogs need activity, especially during those months when they're less likely to stand out in the yard. Whether your schedule is filled with school drop-offs and pick-ups or last-minute sprints to the Metra to get to work on time—or both—you may not have the time or energy to walk your dog. If you're like most dog owners, you feel bad about it. A subscription to Yuppie Puppy Dog Walking is the long-term gift that helps you and your dog. You'll get some peace of mind to alleviate that guilt and your dog will get some much-needed activity to improve her health and mood.
Available for $16 per walk at yuppiepuppydogwalking.com
For the dog who has everything: Tiffany Dog accessories
If you have a dog who loves the finer things in life or—more likely—if you're an owner who can't stand that purse dog down the street who thinks she's so special, you know, with that little pink sweater and bow in her hair, and, well, your dog has nice things, too, like really nice things, you might want to check out Tiffany's new line of luxury pet products, including dog tags, bowls and more. You'll get to pamper your dog with some swag in that distinctive "Tiffany Blue" and in the process, feel a lot better about yourself.
Available for $150 to $2,500 at tiffany.com/accessories/pet
For that big, boujee dog in your life: Custom Dog Collars
That Tiffany collar may work for some but your 200-pound mastiff won't be letting you put that around his neck anytime soon. He will, however, love sporting a big, custom collar that highlights his livin'-large lifestyle without selling out his street cred. We love these custom collars for our big dogs. They're durable, they look great and can include custom engraving.
Available for $50 at mastiff-dog-breed-store.com/.
Jill Showalter owns Yuppie Puppy and Doggie Day Play in Oak Park. She has personally tended to more than 100,000 dogs since 2007 and has shared stories and advice with numerous dog owners.
For more information on Responsible Dog Ownership and Dog Care go to: