What are you getting your dog—and what is your dog getting you this year? What your dog wants: Your Christmas dinner, a warm lap, a room full of tennis balls, a muddy pond to chase geese. What you want: ?? Probably crypto.
As someone who watches the pet care category very carefully, has tons of friends in pet care, and consistently receives press releases about new launches in pet care, it’s very overwhelming to shop when it comes to dogs and dog parents. This year, we’re separating our holiday gift guide into four parts: For dog parents, aspiring dog parents, dogs at home, and dogs without forever homes (because I’ve been spending a lot of time watching shelter dogs on TikTok and I can’t handle it anymore). We’re also veering away from reality (unless your reality is Sotheby’s auctions and Prada poop bags!) because you have plenty of practical gift guides to shop already. Come fantasize about your most extravagant life with your best friend with our #ArtemisApproved holiday gift guide. Like life with your dog, it’s everything you want and nothing you expect.
Dog parents—we love personalization, don’t we? Splash their dogs’ face or name on anything and they’ll buy it. (They = me.) When they’re forced to run errands without their dog(s), let them wear their fur babies close to their heart with a custom pet sweater from Staud, embroidered meticulously by the brand C.Bonz, and even available in cashmere for the poshest pet parent. (And check out our interview with the founders of Staud!) If they’re parents to mutts, give them a conversation starter (they’ll never shut up once they get the results—trust me, I’m one of them) by buying them an Embark Breed + Health Kit, which is the most accurate DNA test for dogs out on the market right now. Upgrade the dog bowls in their home—it should really be a conversation piece if it’s sitting out on the floor all day, and dogs deserve fine china, don’t they?—with the Tiffany & Co. Double Dog Bowl in Bone (!) China or the Hermès Dog Bowl made with the same technique as traditional oak barrels. I recently browsed the Prada accessories at Selfridges and discovered these Prada poop bags in the iconic nylon—why not? Pair with a Prada belt bag and you’ll have the best fit on the block. (Cat walk? More like dog walk!) Nylon is actually relatively practical, when you think about it. (Though I’m such a big fan of stylish poop bags, you can find more in this guide—we’re Boo.Oh and Mr. Dog New York devotees.)
Aspiring dog parents
When you really want a dog, but you can’t have one for whatever reason, all you want to do is consume dog content, or maybe borrow other peoples’ dogs (if your home, at least, is dog-friendly), or jog around the park hoping the dogs will run up to you. Bid on this oil painting of a dog barking into a landscape attributed to Dutch painter Adriaen van de Velde. You can tell the dog is in mid-bark and unlike a real dog, the little bean won’t interrupt your Zoom meeting. Speaking of “real dogs,” you probably already know that I published an essay in a recent HarperCollins anthology about growing up (and falling in love) with robot dogs, and how that eventually led to Artemis (my very real dog who smells like fox poop every morning). Don’t discount one’s ability to fall in love with robot dogs—we are living in the age of Alexa and metaverse real estate, after all—especially since they’ve gotten much more advanced since I fell in love with them 20 years ago. The Sony Aibo is the gold standard (trust me, I lived with a prototype 20 years ago), and there is even a temple in Japan dedicated to celebrating the Aibos that have passed (i.e., broken down). It’s perfect for someone who doesn’t mind that their fur baby is, well, fur-less (and frankly, about the same cost as most purebreds?). And for the friend who’s always wanted a purse dog to tote around, why not a purse in the shape of a dog—in particular, Thom Browne’s Dachshund Hector? If said friend lives in New York City, get them a gift card to dog café Boris & Horton so they can co-work and drink coffee surrounded by other peoples’ dogs. It’s much less weirder than sitting in the dog park without a dog.
Whatever you do, don’t buy them a dog for the holidays. At best, get them a gift certificate to an animal shelter or animal rescue organization (many of them offer these as gift options) that covers the adoption fee, once they’re ready to welcome a pup to their home. That’s a gift to a dog in need, too.
Dogs at home
Every dog deserves their own throne—aka a comfy, expansive bed for sprawling out. If you do it right, your dog will prefer sleeping in their own bed over yours. (Trust me, I have to beg Artemis to sleep in bed with me. One of us has attachment issues and it’s not the one with the tail.) Lovers of Liberty’s iconic prints will love this Small Strawberry Thief Dog Bed, while the flashiest among us will indulge in this Versace Barocco Dog Bed (bonus points if you buy the matching dog robe). Several people have asked where Artemis gets her “dauphine” bed, and it’s the Maximillian Dog Bed in Ocean Blue Velvet, which she prefers to my bed, and is so roomy that I could sit comfortably cross-legged in it. I am partial to rattan furniture (it’s classic and lasts a long time) and am obsessed with this Toba Rattan Dog Kennel, which is basically an indoor dog house, which adds an extra level of security for many dogs. (Personal space!) Artemis would be highly disappointed in me if I didn’t include some food-related gifts. As suggested by our friends at Digestivo, our friends at Maison de PawZ sell Barkuterie Boxes all over the U.S., though you could also construct your own with some treats, cheese, and blueberries. We also love the Bonne et Filou Dog Macarons. They look great under the tree and taste great (according to Artemis), and they recently came out with macarons made with collagen. If you’re of the “buy experiences, not things” mindset, why not take your dog to Soho Farmhouse close to the Cotswolds? (Pro tip: You do need to be a member to book a space, but you can opt for Soho Friends membership for less than $200/year to make a booking. No need to be a full-fledged Soho House member, unless rooftop pools are really your thing.) For an activity you can do right at home, enroll your dog in an at-home community study with Hunter College’s Thinking Dog Center! You’ll learn more about your dog, contribute towards canine scholarship, and give your dog an opportunity to do something fun and engaging. Read about Artemis’ experience (in her own words) here.
Dogs looking for homes
Is your TikTok fyp also filled with sad videos of shelter dogs looking for homes? Do you also tear up when you think about your rescue dog’s life before they met you? Here’s what you should know about animal shelters: The best-funded ones have more free donations that they can use, and they’d really appreciate your monetary donations to allocate it properly to their needs. But okay, you want to do something special for all the dogs who haven’t found their forever homes yet—I got you. I get you. Shelter dogs deserve Christmas magic, too. Here is an extravagant idea based on what I’ve seen on TikTok: Call up your local dog shelter and ask whether they’re preparing a Christmas dinner for the dogs. Maybe they are! Maybe they’re not (maybe they need you to take initiative). If they say, “Yes, we’d love a Christmas dinner for the dogs,” set aside a roast chicken or two, some boiled green beans, mashed or roasted sweet potatoes (or butternut squash or pumpkin), and maybe even some plain rice. (Skip the gravy, butter, salt, and seasonings.)
My personal favorite, though, is to foster a dog if the other dogs in your pack allow for newcomers. Give them a toasty lap and a warm home for the holidays, and prepare them for their forever home. Many American rescue organizations will help reimburse you for expenses (I’ve had cab rides home reimbursed, for example) and if you’re fostering with a 501(c)(3) organization, your expenses for your foster dog are tax-deductible. (Just keep the receipt.)
Don’t worry too much about the gift wrap. It’s the love that counts.