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20 Creative Advent Calendar Gift Ideas for Dogs

Advent calendars are all the rage lately. Who doesn’t enjoy opening a little treat every morning in December? But there don’t seem to be many surprise-a-day deals for dogs in the holiday season. Why not create your own advent calendar for dogs? The season is well underway, so here are 20 ideas you can use to provide your canine with holiday cheer this December.

Gift #1: An Extra Winter Walk

Just saying the magic word, W-A-L-K, is sure to get their tails swinging. An extra walk will provide your dog with added mental stimulation, and it will help maintain their overall physical health, too. For tips on walking your dog in the winter, check out our blog.

Gift #2: Holiday Portrait Session with Your Dog

Who doesn’t love cute pet photos for the mantel or the socials? Find a festive corner in your dwelling and stage it with pet-friendly holiday items. Use the timer feature on your camera or ask a friend to snap a few pictures after staging is complete. Your dog will enjoy the additional bonding time and you’ll adore the memorable photos.

Gift #3: Teach Your Dog a New Trick

Training usually involves socialization and, dare we say, T-R-E-A-T-S. Teach your dog new tricks like how to walk on a leash, shake or roll over. You could even refine some of their behaviors that you’ve been meaning to get a better handle on. Dogs will enjoy the treats and positive affirmations for a job well done.

Gift #4: Favorite-Treats Surprise

It’s time to make a trip to your local pet store. Pick up a couple of treats for your canine and hide them around the house as a tasty surprise. Be sure to remember where you placed the treats just in case you need to help your dog find them later. Alternative: instead of hiding treats throughout the house, pick up an interactive toy that you can hide treats in.

Gift #5: Watch a Dog-Friendly Movie

Watch a holiday movie with cute on-screen pets. There are plenty of options to choose from such as How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Lady and the Tramp (they began their romance on Christmas after all) or The Dog Who Saved the Holidays. Your dog might not pay attention to the movie the entire time, but they’ll appreciate the snuggles.

Gift #6: Offer Some Holiday Snuggles

Speaking of holiday snuggles… Get out the warm blankets, hot cocoa (for yourself, not for your dog) and let your dog know there’s a free lap for cuddling. Holiday celebrations or travels can be a little overwhelming for our pets, so all the extra snuggles and love can reassure them everything is alright in their furry world.

Gift #7: Make a Holiday Tree for Dogs

After putting up your holiday tree, consider decorating a separate tree just for your dog. Pet-friendly tree decorations include:

  • Shatterproof or wooden ornaments
  • Photos of your favorite memories with your dog
  • Tennis balls perched among the branches

Short on space or time? No worries. Consider a holiday tree tapestry instead of a pet tree. It can double as a cute holiday photo backdrop.

Gift #8: Make Your Dog’s Space a Festive Space

Don’t let your holiday decorating stop short of your dog’s designated space. Place a festive blanket or holiday-themed toys in your dog’s go-to niche. Take it a step further and swap out your dog’s bowls for more festive pet food containers! There’s no such thing as too much holiday spirit.

Gift #9: A Baking Extravaganza

Get out the mixing bowl and Google dog-friendly treat recipes. Bake your canine some yummy goodies that will have them licking their lips and barking for more. Avoid non-dog-friendly ingredients, but don’t forget to add a pinch of love.

Gift #10: Time for a Paw-ty

Spread the holiday cheer and invite a few of your dogs’ favorite playmates (and their owners) over for a small party. Ask each pet owner to bring an inexpensive pet gift so you can play a white elephant game. Bonus: chasing friends and playing around will provide your dog with additional exercise for burning off any holiday goodies, too. If you have any doubts about your dog’s social skills, we can help!

Gift #11: Let Santa’s Little Helper…Help

Your dog is always up for helping. So turn on the holiday music and pull up a dog bed or chair to include your canine in present wrapping or tree decorating. They’ll likely want to sniff all the new-to-them things, but that’s part of having a pet. Be sure to keep a close eye on your dog during this event so they don’t eat wrapping paper or tape while helping you.

Gift #12: Looking Snazzy

If your dog enjoys dressing up, this idea was made for them! Many businesses sell human pajamas along with matching pet pajamas or bandanas. Dress up in matching outfits and look snazzy for an evening. This idea could double as a great holiday card opportunity. Keep that camera ready. Make sure that any clothing your dog wears is the correct size and dog friendly.

Gift #13: A Present-Picking Pup

Allow your dog to pick out their own present this holiday season. Most pet stores allow your canine to shop alongside you as long as they’re on a leash. Look up store policies prior to visiting. Your dog will feel special picking out a toy they get to take home. Just remember that it might be hard for your dog to wrap their head around the idea of a “present.” There’s a strong chance they’ll want to play with it all the way home as opposed to waiting for the big day.

Gift #14: Prevent Fleas, Ticks and Heartworms

Treat your dog with their monthly flea, tick and heartworm medicine. Despite the frigid temperatures, many pesky parasites are still active during the winter. This gift provides your dog with the protection they need when going outside. Bonus: preventing parasites from entering your home also keeps you and your family safe — it’s a gift that gives to everyone.

Gift #15: Make a Donation in Your Dog’s Name

Most animal shelters are in constant need of supplies or financial support to care for the cats and dogs under their roof. Call your local animal shelter and see what they currently need. Then make a donation on behalf of your dog.

Gift #16: A Doggy Spa Night

By now, your dog might agree that it’s time to relax and unwind this holiday season. Run the bath or grab the pet wipes to get your canine smelling fresh. Next, brush out their fur, paying special attention to their head, chin or back. Lastly, lay out a cozy blanket for them to snuggle up in to round off the pampered evening. They’ll feel like royalty by the end of the evening.

If you need some advice about dog grooming, need no more!

Gift #17: Enjoy the Holiday Lights

Warm up the car and let your dog know it’s time to go for a ride. Drive around your neighborhood to enjoy the holiday lights. Some cities offer drive-thru light displays that are pet friendly as well.

Gift #18: A Doggy Jam Session

Did you know there are holiday pet music stations? It’s true. Turn to Pandora, Spotify, YouTube or Apple Music and search for holiday pet music. You and your dog can have a jam session throughout the house.

Gift #19: Paint Time for Dogs

Purchase nontoxic paint and a tiny canvas from your local art store. Dip your dog’s paw in the paint and help them gently press down on the canvas. If your dog is cooperative with this activity, try adding another paw print or two. Be quick with the pet wipes or have a bath drawn in advance for an easy cleanup. After the paw prints have dried you can go back with a paintbrush or marker to add festive designs like Christmas trees, mishumaa saba or snowmen.

Idea #20: Favorite Faces

Will your dog’s favorite family member be home for the holidays? Schedule a playdate for your dog to get some extra one-on-one time with them while they’re visiting. Something says your dog and his favorite human will be delighted.


We realize that many of these gift ideas for dogs are just as much (if not even more so) gifts for the dog parent. But that’s OK! Your dog’s favorite thing is being with you and making you happy. If you can both benefit from a little daily treat this month, your tails will be wagging long after the holiday is over.




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