There are few moments in life more exciting than bringing home a new puppy. In my life, I have been lucky enough to bring home three of the best dogs in the world. Very different dogs with very different personalities, but over the years each one taught me about love, loyalty, and friendship in ways that only the most devoted four-legged friends can. They also taught me a lot about surviving the energetic puppy years and thriving into the sunset ones. So, when a friend or family member is adopting a new dog into their family, I love putting together a gift basket with some of the essentials that have helped our household to maintain happy puppies and happy dog-parents. If you’re looking for gift ideas, below is the list of my favorites. If you’re thinking, “Why would I give a puppy gift?” then just watch this GIF for a bit:
Without further ado, here is your ultimate new puppy gift guide:
1. Anything that Squeaks
The first couple months with a new puppy are basically about saving your house from destruction, both from accidents and from sharp little puppy teeth. The squeaky toys won’t last long, but they are essential to distract the new pup from chewing on everything else. I learned this the hard way. Daisy, my first dog on my own, destroyed my first apartment when she was bored. The molding – gone. The carpet – toast. The curtains – what fun she had pulling those down! Some dogs will even eat drywall. And you won’t believe how quickly they can do it. Vigilant supervision, endless entertainment, and exercise – these are the keys to saving your home from a new puppy.
2. The Gift of Exercise
A tired puppy is no longer a destructive puppy. The Huck ‘N Tuck by Nite Ize is my all-time favorite ball launcher. It comes with the LED GlowStreak ball so you can play into the night without losing it, and the launcher is a life-saver for shoulders (if the puppy has any retriever or herder in it, throwing the ball at least a thousand times a day will be necessary). The launcher is also collapsible so it’s convenient to tuck into your pocket or keep in the glovebox for quick stops at the dog park.
3. The Quickest Way to Their Heart is Via the Belly
Puppies are typically uncomplicated creatures. They simply want your attention, affection, and delicious treats all day long. Include a pack or two in your gift basket. I like to shop local, and we are lucky enough to have I and Love and You based in our Boulder backyard. They make tasty puppy food and treats that are perfect for bribery, distraction, and training.
4. Light ‘Em Up for Safety
Dogs are great at getting into trouble and wiggling away unexpectedly. Nite Ize makes a host of products dedicated to keeping pets safe at night. The SpotLit LED Collar Light and NiteHowl Rechargeable LED Safety Necklace are two of my favorites. Not only do they keep pets safe, they are just plain fun to watch at night.
5. Safety, Safety, and More Safety
I can’t reiterate enough that dogs are great at getting into trouble. I have made more trips to the emergency vet than I’d like to admit. Throw a pet medical kit into your gift basket, especially for first-time or very outdoorsy dog owners. These ones from Adventure Medical Kits are my favorites and the larger ones have an instructional book written by a veterinarian to guide you through using the kit components in an emergency. If you are a really good friend, you can even gift your buddy pet insurance for the first year - a great option for pet owners.
6. The Essentials
Every dog needs a good collar and leash – why not knock out two birds with one stone. The Nite Ize RadDog is a collar with a retractable leash built in – perfect for hitting the trail or dog park, places where you’ll want to be able to go quickly from unleashed to leashed and vice versa. Nite Ize even has a better way to attach dog tags to the collar too – S-Biner TagLocks. These might be my favorite/most practical item on this list because I hate the snug little split rings that come with dog tags. They are too little to actually attach to collars in any sort of reasonable way that doesn’t end in bleeding fingernails. Just throw these in the gift basket, the new dog owners will thank you endlessly.
7. Give The Gift of Silence
It turns out the jingling sound of dog tags drives my husband to near insanity. Hence, I discovered Quiet Spot Tag Silencers. Super easy to use, these just wrap around dog tags snugly to keep them from clinking together. In our case, they were a marriage saver.
8. Poop Prep
Yep, it’s just a fact of life, and responsible dog owners need to be prepared on the go. The Pack-A-Poo has a super easy-to-use design that clips on with an S-Biner, but what I especially love are the compostable bags that come with it. When wrapping up your dog’s poo, it seems better not to be preserving it for 10,000+ years in a plastic bag.
The adorable puppy enjoying this gift basket in the photos is named Sweet Pea. She was recently adopted from The Humane Society of Boulder Valley, which houses a host of other wonderful furry companions. The family who adopted her received the gift basket along with their new forever friend.
We’d love to hear about your favorite dog products. Please leave your suggestions in the comments section below for other readers.