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5 Gift Ideas for the Dog in Your Life

Most households already do a lot to keep their pets happy, safe, and healthy. During the holidays it's nice to wrap a few presents for the furry members of the family, as well. Inexpensive dog gifts can show love and bring comfort to a pet without stretching budgets too thin. Cost is relative, of course, but from homemade doggy treats to a new memory foam bed, there's something for every dog.

Dog owners who frequent Petco and PetSmart might start their search by checking Cheapism's in-depth comparison of prices, rewards programs, online platforms, and services. Although PetSmart came out ahead in the services category (e.g., daycare and veterinary care), Petco generally posts lower prices, operates a more appealing e-commerce site, and maintains a more rewarding loyalty program.

Here are several ideas that will do you and your favorite dog proud:

Stocking Stuffers.

Sometimes it's the little things that count the most, and stockings are often filled with these. Treats, new bones or toys, and a trendy new collar all make good stocking stuffers for pets. Sneaking in a few vitamins might be a good idea, too (they'll thank you later). Perhaps inspired by the cookies left out for Santa, some pet owners have taken to baking holiday dogs treats. Check here for recipes.

A New Home.

Dogs often become attached to their homes, but sometimes after years of use it's time for a change. Although a new home may be scary at first, it quickly will provide safety and comfort. One master with dimes to spare has installed television, automatic water and food dispensers, temperature-controlled rooms, and a sound system into the dogs' home. The rest of us, though, can provide a favorite dog with an everyday holiday gift that is right-sized, warm, soft, and cheap. Personalize the home with a picture of yourself and a pillow made out of an old piece of clothing. The familiar scent will help keep the pup at ease.

Rest.

After a long walk or a big day at the park, a quick bite and long nap are in order. But when aches begin to plague an older furry companion, resting on a worn-out mattress just won't do. A memory foam bed can be pricey, but mature dogs with joint problems will be forever grateful. High-end holiday gifts start with TempurPedic-branded dog beds, which range from $275-$425. Large pet-centric chains, along with Amazon, offer more affordable orthopedic memory foam beds for less than $40.

Let's Walk.

Getting outside and enjoying a brisk walk is important for dogs no matter the time of year (smaller dogs might appreciate a vest or sweater during the winter). A new ultra-comfy leash is an excellent holiday gift for a dog. Wag.com sells shock-absorbing leashes that stretch to avoid stress on the dog's neck and garner four- and five-star reviews from owners. Leashes start at $17 but the site regularly offers discounts (search for a code if you don't see one) and includes free delivery on orders greater than $49.

Calming Aids.

The holidays can be hectic for everyone, including pets. With guests running around, new smells filling the air, and the excitement of gift-opening, all the activity can be a lot to handle. Pet Expertise offers several options designed to calm anxious, scared, or hyperactive dogs, from training tips and collars to shirts, music, and diffusers filled with "dog-appeasing pheromones." Calming sprays, shampoos, and treats are also available at some pet stores.

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