By Louis DeNicola, Cheapism.com
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.
Related: Petco vs. Petsmart comparisonDog biscuits make excellent stocking stuffers.
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 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.
Related: Inexpensive holiday pet giftsA memory-foam bed might be worth the investment.
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.
For more ways to save, follow Cheapism on Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook.
To stay on top of the latest posts, read the Cheapism Blog.