Mark Vette – Internationally renowned Animal Behaviourist, Educator, Author and TV personality

Gift ideas for dogs

Gift ideas for dogs

A list of behaviourist approved Christmas present ideas for your dog

Pets are part of the family too, and it’s fun for the whole family when there’s something under the Christmas tree for them! 

I’ve put together a list of fun, behaviourist-approved pressies for your dog that will not only give them a spark of joy when they get to open and enjoy them, but can also contribute positively to your pet’s life. I’m not affiliated with any of these brands (except Dog Zen, of course, and Pet Refuge who I am an ambassador for).

Happy holidays everyone!

Buzzy Bee toy

No Kiwi home is complete without one – New Zealand’s most iconic toy is now available for pets! Created in partnership with Pet Refuge, the proceeds from one of these limited edition Buzzy Bee chew toys will help families escape domestic violence with their pets. It’s the ultimate feel-good gift, with a side serve of nostalgia. $25 from Pet Refuge.

Dog ice cream

Dog friendly ice creams are a fun treat that’s both delicious and cooling for those hot summer days. You can make your own by blending frozen bananas with unsweetened peanut butter and a bit of plain greek yoghurt and freezing in a cute silicone mould. Or check out the range from Scoop Dog, with flavours like bacon, peanut butter and choccy. Your dog will go nuts for this special treat! $10.99 from Scoop Dog. 


Have you tried teaching your dog to chase bubbles? It’s a super simple energy-buster for slow days at home. Blow some bubbles, say “get it!” in a nice high pitched tone of voice, then shower your dog with praise when they catch the bubble. They’ll soon get the hang of it and love this engaging game. Scoop Dog make flavoured bubbles for dogs with enticing options like Roast Chicken and Beef Steak to really help get the game going. $8.99 from Scoop Dog.

Talking buttons

Give your dog the gift of language. If you’re a training whizz and love to try new things and engage your dog’s brain, get your dog a set of talking buttons and teach them how to communicate with you in English! Teach your dog to let you know when they want to go outside, want a walk, want a play or want a cuddle and see your connection grow. I have already starting using these with my 14 week old puppy, Awa, and he’s mastered four so far! Google “talking buttons for dogs” to find a local supplier. A basic starter set can cost less than $50.

Treat dispensing pet camera

I’ve recently noticed an explosion of pet cameras on the market, the best of which have two way audio so you can hear your dog and they can hear you too, along with a treat dispenser so that you can throw a treat to your dog no matter where you are. This is an excellent tool for checking up on your dog throughout the day and being able to give them some extra enrichment when you’re not around. Even better, these types of cameras can help you work through a number of behavioural issues with your dog including separation distress, barking and destructive behaviour. Examples include the Petcube Bites, Furbo Dog Camera, Dogness Smart Camera. Starting around $199.


If your dog loves water, a great summer gift is a sprinkler! You can buy specially designed pet sprinkler mats, but a plain old garden sprinkler from your local hardware store can be just as fun (especially if it has different sprinkling patterns to keep you on your toes!). This is a great summer cool-down present for dogs that love to play in water. $12 for a simple sprinkler from The Warehouse or $39.99 for a dog sprinkler mat from Petstock.

Cool mat or coat

A cooling mat or vest is a great summer gift, especially for those dogs with thick coats that run hot.  There are plenty of options available to buy in pet stores or online, such as this Cooling Mat $19.99 and this Cooling Vest $34.

Portable water bowl 

Walks in the summer sun can quickly lead to dehydration. Keep your pup feeling good by carrying a portable dog water bottle so you can easily give your dog a drink on the go. Thirsty Dog Bottles are a quality, well designed option but more affordable options are available from Amazon too. $63.99 for Thirsty Dog Bottle from Animates. 

The gift of understanding

Nothing could be more precious to your dog than being properly understood. When you know how your dog sees the world and what they’re trying to say to you with their behaviour, your relationship becomes so much stronger! By understanding your dog, you can more easily bond with them, train them, and treat behavioural issues too, so that their life (and yours!) is happier and stress-free. Join any of our Virtual Training Schools to get to know your dog better than ever before. $75 from Dog Zen. 

The gift of time and love

Free for everyone, ultimately spending quality time with your beloved dog is the best gift you can give them! It will help you grow your bond, stimulating oxytocin (the love hormone) in both you and your dog to help you both feel amazing. 

Have a wonderful holiday season everyone!

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