Holiday Gift Ideas From Den Herder Vet’s Pets

Need some last minute holiday pet gifts? How about for the pet lover in your life?

Holiday pet gifts don’t have to break the bank. And the best thing about them? You can give the same thing they got last year. Or for their birthday. Or Valentine’s Day.

Charity, one of our Certified Veterinary Technicians, goes all out for her dogs! Each dog gets a new toy in their own stocking! Spoiled pets are the best pets, Charity.

Dogs and Christmas stockings

We’d love to share with you our staff favorites for holiday pet gifts. We aren’t paid spokespeople nor do we get any kick backs. These are just items we personally buy and our pets enjoy.

Holiday Pet Gifts For Dogs

Dr. Cherney’s dog, Ted, is obsessed with a light up ball toy. Bonus it has little nubby areas on it for good dental massage. He goes crazy for it.

Gorilla chew toyDr. Taylor’s dogs have a current favorite, the Gorilla Chew. It’s made of a wood that’s really hard, but softens as they chew. You might think “not a good idea” here, but Tom said that the dogs (he has a Vizsla and a Golden) can’t really chew it up because of the shape. It isn’t like a stick and doesn’t have sharp splinters.

As with all dog toys, do keep an eye on them. If it breaks a part into smaller pieces for some reason–then you need to pitch so it isn’t eaten!

Dr. Rogers’ dog, Doc, has two favorite chew toys. One is a treat ball where you can put in a bit of kibble or treats and he has to work to get those out.  The other favorite is a soft squishy bunny. Awww. She hides Mr. Rabbit around the house for him to find.

Kirsten is giving her dog relatives Veggie Dent chews (grab ’em from our office!) and anVeggie Dents elk antler. Her dog niece and nephew are both big dogs and big chewers so the elk antler is a perfect choice because it lasts several months. And, they don’t splinter. She buys the split in half kind because as they chew, a hollowed out area forms—perfect for a smidge of peanut butter.

These are tried and true for bigger dogs or chewers: the basic Kong or Starmark’s Everlasting Treat Wheeler or Bento Ball. These last a long time and keep dogs occupied. For the Kong, you can fill it with all sorts of things. Try our staff member Rachel’s Homemade Frozen Yogurt Kong recipe!

We love anything interactive (where you can fill it with treats). Maybe this is the year to try a puzzle for your dog and get their brain going! When picking a puzzle, pick it based on your dog’s size and ability to destruct things.

Jackie’s dogs love puzzles. Take a look to see them in action!

Food And Treats For Dogs

We love Nudges treats. We use these in the clinic during exams and the majority of dogs like them. You can break them up into small bits so a little goes a long way. Bonus: they are made not far from here in Independence, Iowa! Another good gift is green beans in a can, or a case of low fat i/d canned dog food.

For healthy treats, try freeze-dried chicken. Pro Tip: if you know your dogs like this, get human grade freeze-dried chicken from a camping supply place (or Amazon). You can purchase a huge can (17 ounces) for $40. Otherwise if you get something specifically labeled “dog treats” they raise the price–you are looking at $10 for a single ounce.

We’ve been using freeze-dried chicken in the clinic to help reduce stress during a visit. You don’t need to reconstitute the chicken. Just offer the freeze-dried bit and let them gobble it up–YUM!

In the food related department, we recommend using stainless steel bowls for feeding and watering your dog. When was the last time you got them new bowls?

Gifts For Both Of You

For a more practical idea, how about a Gentle Leader to help with pulling on walks? Or a new collar and non-retractable leash? Dr. Rogers loves her dog’s collar with the ID tag built in. She got it at She says it has held up for 4 years. The bow tie didn’t come with it, but how handsome!

dog and collar with ID tag

The best gift ever? A walk. A talk. A long cuddle on the couch.

The worst gift ever? Doc Rogers says, “A Bath!” But, his mom likes a nice smelling dog for the holidays.

dog after bath

Holiday Pet Gifts for Cats

Keep all the Amazon boxes. Put them out in the living room all at once. Free, upcycled holiday pet gift! Meowy Catmas.

Moving beyond boxes…

Our staff member Kirsten’s cats have been trying catnip spray. Overall, the spray isn’t as potent as dried catnip, but it is “enough” that the cats notice and will engage with the toys. And much less mess!

scooby upside down

Post cat nip “high”.

Another fun surprise is cat grass. It comes in a kit (from Pet Supplies Plus), takes a week or so to fully sprout, and not all that long for her cats to chow through it! And they didn’t barf afterwards!

Her crew is also getting a new Turbo Scratcher cat toy. A must have for any cat owner.

cat and turbo scratcher

For The Cat Owner

Two must haves in the litter box front. One is a special litter scoop, K-Kat’s The Scoop. Yes, this sounds insane, but it cuts cleaning time in half. It is worth every penny.

The other is a litter catching mat, specifically a double-layered one like these by Blackhole or iPrimio. The top layer is soft, squishy foam. This has holes so the litter drops to the bottom solid layer. From staff experience, spend the money to get the bigger size mat. These mats catch 85{cc651acb8fd21d18461bab90e3951e117ad976e0f5f2bec6fa2ec763fee94208} of the scattered litter. Not perfect, but they catch far more than any other “sticky” mat on the market and the surface doesn’t irritate cat paws.

Both are must haves for the multiple cat owner.

For The Birds?

Dr. Cherney is not only an excellent exotic vet, she’s an exotic pet owner as well. Her bird, Baloo, loves these DIY “treat in a tube” toys. Lori takes a very hard cardboard tube, like what you’d use for shipping. She stuffs those with nuts in the shell (peanuts, almonds). She uses paper towels to keep everything stuffed inside. Baloo loves these treats and keeps him engaged.

What else did we miss on the holiday pet gift list? Let us know! We’d love to hear what works for you and your pets.