Tried and true: Last-minute gift ideas for pets recommended by Best Friends caregivers

Best Friends caregivers share their best (aka, tried-and-true) gift ideas - toys, treats and supplies - for dogs and cats this Christmas.
By Kelli Harmon

We take care of about 1,700 animals on any given day at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, and we love to spoil them. In the 35 years since we began taking in pets, we’ve learned which products never fail to bring comfort and joy all year long to our cats and dogs.

This holiday season, we asked caregivers at Cat World and Dogtown for their favorite tried-and-true pet products. These are the items that stand up to everyday use and are universally loved by a variety of kitties and pups with unique likes and dislikes. So, consider the following pet-approved list that’s sure to make your special pet’s holidays merry and bright.

Cat World favorites for good kitties

  • Kitties go nuts for Da Bird, an excellent toy for encouraging cats to chase, leap, and perform feline aerobatics.
  • Food puzzles and treat dispensers aren’t just for dogs. The cats at Best Friends can’t get enough of this rolling puzzle.
  • For those extra inquisitive kitties, this cat food, toy and treat maze is a caregivers’ go-to.
    Cat playing with a maze toy
  • Cats love drinking fresh, moving water, and kitties at the Sanctuary flock to this water fountain made specifically for cats.
  • Scratching is natural, normal and healthy for cats, and giving them lots of things to sink their claws into will not only keep them happy, but it will help save your stuff from kitty’s claws. This classic vertical scratcher is a favorite at Cat World.
  • Cats also love to scratch surfaces on the floor, and this scratcher with a roller ball and replaceable cardboard center for easy cleaning is a go-to at Best Friends.
  • Offering plenty of cozy hiding places keeps cats feeling safe and secure, and this cardboard cubby is a scratcher on the inside and comes with fun design options on the outside (which is fun for people in the room).
    Cat lying in a kitty cardboard house
  • What’s better than having a good scratch and then curling up in a cozy hammock? Not much. That’s why cats at the Sanctuary love this scratcher-hammock combo.
  • Cats can never have too many soft, cozy, easy-to-wash blankets. These lightweight fleece throw blankets are a favorite at Cat World.
  • This self-warming kitty tent is a must-have for giving cats plenty of places to curl up and snooze.
  • These coveted 100% organic catnip-filled Yeowww toys are favorites for cats to sniff, chew on, toss in the air, roll around on and otherwise adore.
    Yeowww catnip toy banana

Dogtown’s recommendations for extra special pups

  • This super-thick blanket has microfiber Sherpa fleece on one side and silky soft fleece on the other. It’s warm and cozy and perfect for dogs who like to nest.
  • There’s nothing like a classic enrichment toy, and for dogs that’s the Kong. Made of rubber and available in different strengths and sizes, the Kong can provide hours of entertainment. Pro tip: Stuff it with yummy filling and freeze it for an extra long-lasting treat.
  • Snuffle mats are an excellent and fun way to get dogs using their noses. A few minutes of snuffling will tire out some dogs more than the same amount of physical activity.
    Brown French bulldog smelling a Snuffle Mat
  • Slow feeder bowls are not only a more enjoyable way for dogs to eat, but they also help prevent dogs from eating too fast, which can lead to health problems. This bowl is easy to wash and looks great.
  • Caregivers can turn dinnertime into playtime with this combination food puzzle/tug-and-toss toy.
  • A twist on a classic, the KONG Wobbler is easy to fill with kibble or treats and securely close. Dogs love to paw at it and roll it around to make goodies fall out along the way. When playtime is over, it’s easy to wash.
    Red rubber Kong Wobbler toy for dogs
  • Extra-active dogs can’t get enough of the Jolly Ball. It comes in different sizes and colors and is perfect for flipping, shaking and tossing.
  • Super chewers at the Sanctuary adore deer antlers, which are healthier than nylon bones and rawhides.

Best-selling items from the Best Friends website

If you’re looking for more gift-giving inspiration, these are the top-selling options from our web shop.

  • This Moon Shot L/S Unisex T-shirt is part of Best Friends’ “moon shot” collection, inspired by our goal to make the entire country no-kill by 2025.
    Man and woman wearing Moon Shot long-sleeve shirts
  • Best Friends’ Crewneck Sweatshirt is so comfy that it soon will become your favorite. And with the Best Friends Animal Society logo on the front, you feel warm and cozy, inside and out.
  • Do you like snuggling? Who doesn’t, right? The Adopt Change full zip hoodie will keep you warm, cozy and ready to nuzzle with someone furry.
  • These Cactus pet toys are stuffed with organic catnip or mint. Both provide succulent fun (minus the thorns) for your favorite feline or pup.

Give a gift to the animals at Best Friends from their wish list

Photos by Lori Fusaro, Cat Amazing, ASPCA, Yeowww, Tamu Style, Kong and Best Friends staff

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