A Pet Gift Guide for Non-Pet People!

Oh Dog! Rumpy Dog here.

Giving gifts to companion animals isn’t as easy as you’d think!

While it’s hard for me to imagine anyone not liking moi, I know there are some of you out there that are just not animal lovers. Yet you respect your family and friends who are animal lovers, and are even considering showing you care by buying a holiday gift for that special person’s special pet.

If that’s you, then I have a few tips for you to ensure yours is a gift happily received and enjoyed for days (or hours) to come!


Not all treats are made alike. Chicken jerky? If it’s made in China, it’s a no-no. Nothing against China, mind you, but some treats manufactured over there have been identified as making pets sick- or even causing death! And some pets have special dietary needs, like our dog DeDe. So unless you know what are the favorites of that particular dog or cat, ask the human caregiver first.

For cats, nothing with string, or yarn, or sparkly streamers unless used with human supervision.  Some cats will eat these items, and it can cause serious illness if they do.

For dogs, stay away from the stuffed squeaky toys. Most dogs love squeaky toys, but those cloth ones are usually destroyed in seconds, and sometimes the contents swallowed, including the squeaker. If such gifts are given, the animal receiving the gift should be supervised during play.

Giving the gift of food dishes? Then stay away from plastic. Aside from the fact that some animals develop allergies to plastic, the plastic can trap odors that make food or water taste funny. Cats and dogs  are all about the smell, and so water that smells like bleach or last week’s tuna casserole isn’t going to be appetizing for that cat or dog.

I deaded this soft ball in about 5 minutes.
I deaded this soft ball in about 5 minutes.

I know what you’re thinking, “If this stuff is so dangerous or unappealing, why is so much of it sold?” I can’t give you an answer, but I can tell you that just because you see it on the shelves of a Big Box department or pet store, don’t automatically assume it’s safe.

So what IS safe? 

-Gift certificates to a pet store, preferably one that does not sell pets.

-Fresh baked treats from local pet stores (yes, most moderate sized cities and towns now have dog bakeries).

-Sturdy plastic squeaky toys.

-Scratching posts for cats.


Oh, and one other thing. Please don’t EVER give the gift of a live animal unless you’re absolutely sure the person you’re gifting it to will be a responsible caregiver. If it’s an adult, ask first. If it’s a child, be certain the parents are on board. Animal cruelty is a crime, and your actions could lead to the arrest and prosecution of a loved one who doesn’t properly care for that animal. 

What about it, faithful readers? Do you have other gift ideas for those that don’t typically buy gifts for companion animals?  If so, leave your ideas in the comments below.

Happy holidays!!!!

63 thoughts on “A Pet Gift Guide for Non-Pet People!

  1. Hey Rumpy dog, we love your post! Those tips are really useful for those that don’t typically buy gifts for pets… 🙂

    Oh, and you do have dog bakeries?? Wow, that’s cool!! Do they have baked treats for cats too??

    Kitty hugs,
    Roxy & Tigerlino

    P.S. How could anyone not like you? You’re beautiful and kind and funny… 🙂

      1. That’s really cool! We don’t have any dog bakeries here. At least we’ve never seen one… Oh, what would we give for a bucket full of freshly baked tuna cookies… 😉

  2. You’re right to bring this up Rumoy cos if peeps aren’t animal lovers and owners, they probably don’t know the basics of what to avoid. Easy to make a mistake if an item is for sale and to assume it is safe 😦

  3. Please be careful when buying small “fluffy” toys for cats. Often these toys are from countries with no animal welfare laws, such as China. When DNA testing was done it showed that many of these toys are made up of, or contain dog or cat fur 😦

  4. Hi Rumpy! Thank you very much for these very useful information! Well…..actually our kitties dishes from plastic….except Shiro’s…Mine is from stainless…so the first thing tomorrow morning, mom should go to get three kittie dishes not from plastic!
    Hmmm… how about blankets for animals? Some dogs or cats like sitting on something, so if there is a blanket, I’m sure we’ll be on it! 🙂

  5. Sometimes the simplest and cheapest gift is the easiest. When I give gifts to other cats, I always take an old white tee-shirt, cut it up to make small catnip pockets. No buttons, no bells. They love it. We always have some lying around and often someone is sleeping on top of one. BTW a long time ago I had a cat who got chin acne from plastic dishes. It cost money to find that out. Now I use either stainless steel or ceramic and put them into the dishwasher. Those inexpensive fleece throws are a good idea too. My cats love soft things.

  6. Great ideas. I would add small blankets to that list for cats, you can get them anywhere and they are fairly cheap. Gift cards are the best really so the pet parents can decide what to get their furry babies. Or ask the pet parent what shelter or rescue they support and make a donation in their name.

  7. The gift cards from pet supply stores, like PetSmart, and even local, small-business concerns, are a great idea. The pet’s owner is always a better judge of their pet’s needs and likes than anyone else. I usually get a PetSmart gift card for my grand-dog and let my stepson pick something out for him when they’re shopping.

    One of your other readers mentioned a blanket. That’s also a great idea, especially for dogs with short coats and for seniors or dogs recovering from surgery or an illness. Ducky will sometimes chew on her beds, so after having to discard two regular dog beds, I got smart and bought a cheap fleece blanket at Target and folded it up to fit in her crate. It’s also a LOT easier to get clean in the washing machine! 🙂

  8. Let me see. Kong are okay… but be aware that some Kongs are made in China. This said, they are usually tested in the US.

    When it comes to pet people, I think it never hurts to do your homework. Meaning, if you do try to give someone something more personal, try research reliable dog toy brands. And never stick to one review source!

    And if you think that’s too much, it’s best to stick with gift cards instead.

  9. Great post Rumpy! My granny bought a super cute decorated big pot of cat grass for her brothers cat. Sadly Morris was ungrateful and used the pot as litter box and decorated the living room with the earth of the pot :o)
    I think a cute gift for cats is one of this cardbox cathouses. They mostly have a scratching pad inside and they have a nice christmas design.

  10. I did get my nephew-dog, Thurber, a plush talking Mr. Magoo doll for Christmas. Last year, I got him a plush talking Curly (from The Three Stooges) and in 2010, a plush talking Mr. Bill. In 2011 I got him a hard rubber mallard. He hated it. He just seems to prefer plush squeaky toys and balls. He’s a little guy (an 18-20 pound Poovanese — a Poodle crossbred with a Havanese) so he doesn’t really destroy his toys. My sister and bro-in-law also keep a close eye on him, so the second something is showing signs of falling apart, it’s dumped. They also rotate his toys all year round. Right now he’s on his Christmas-themed batch. That said, after reading your post, this year might be the end of him getting squeaky plush toys from me. He turned seven this year and I want him to stick around.

      1. It would memorably mar our holidays if when Thurber intends to yap, he opens his mouth and we hear, “Oh Magoo, you’ve done it again!” Seriously, you give good advice.

  11. I never thought about the concern regarding plastic food dishes. Thanks for the info. Maybe Maya & Pierson will get new dishes for Christmas. I already know they got a stuffed toy from a friend, so I will be sure to supervise them when they play with it.

  12. Always home made treats are great…a simple cardboard box would drive my girls crazy..hahaha cats and boxes..maybe a warm coat for a cold doggy potted catnip and the best of all how about a donation to a shelter or sponsoring a cage at a shelter on behalf of your pet friend..take some food to a shelter on behalf of the persons pet..i don’t think any pet owner would not be touched by such a gesture..maybe even offer to sit for the pet for a day if the friend ever needs it…I agree be careful about the death trap presents or ones made where animal welfare is a foreign idea. Great post Rumpy 🙂 huga Fozziemum xx

  13. Hoomanz buy us presents but one of our favorite things is an empty cardboard box. Love Cali, Andy, Tater and Shelly (C.A.T.S)

  14. Similar to my “I’ve-got-no-idea-what-to-get-them” for humans I makes something. If they are people I’ll buy a mug and then make home made toffees or peppermint creams and put a small bag of those in it. Then a small sachet of hot chocolate and packet of marshmallows, tied with a ribbon and you’re done. You can pick a cute mug to really personalize it for the person.

    For an animal I will buy a nice treat or food bowl and then, depending on the animal, will bake or buy treats to fill it. Then a small gift voucher for a pet shop and I have the perfect gift!

    It’s something I use for almost anyone because I can adapt it. Last year I bought my Dad a beer mug and filled it with his favourite wine truffles and a voucher to go to a steam railway. This year my Aunt is getting a christmas themed mug, with an eye mask, a hot chocolate packet, marshmallows and a necklace with her name on it.

    It really is so easy to adapt and looks like you have put a lot of effort into it, even when you haven’t!

    ~ Amy

      1. Well I can make dog treats, rabbit treats, guinea pig treats, hamster, rat, mouse and gerbil ones but I really struggle to make anything for cats. I tend to give vouchers if it’s a cat.

        Human treats are much easier! (unless you eat most of them *ahem*)

        ~ Amy

  15. Great post! The mom is always touched when someone remembers presents for her kitties. This year she’s baking holiday cookies for kitty and woofie friends. Of course, there will be all human ingredients and she’ll know exactly what is in them.

  16. its a good guide for sure, but shudder non pet people ugh! I also have to say we love stuffed squeaky toys and rarely destroy them, even Norbert. In fact we dont really like other squeakies very much so I do think some of this depends on the dog

  17. Hi Rumpy, this was a great post and very helpful, too! Our dog, Copper (lab), is getting new Nylabones. They are the only “bone” that he can chew on and not destroy, nor be hurt by them from choking…they’re good for his teeth and gums. I found out about these from a friend who is very conscious of what she gives her dogs…Copper used to love the rope tug toys, but then he would start tearing them apart. We call him “Copper Chopper” because of his pearly whites! 🙂 I think he’s part T-Rex or Jaws, not sure which one, but you’re probably pretty similar in your chewing strength, too :)…anyway, I love these bones and for some odd reason, their appeal lasts for a very long time, even the unflavored ones…do you have thoughts on these or have you heard of them? They run about $15-20 each…Anyway, thanks for the tips and info. and we hope you have a wonderful and fun Christmas!

  18. 2 pawz up fer diz bery impawtent bloggie Rumpy!!
    Mum iz bery carefull bout giftiez sent to me n treetz are a no-no ’cause of da Bowel Disease so da feral kittehz are enjoyin dem….at leest dey not go to waste. Sumone wanted to give Mum ANOTHER KITTEH last week n den another sumone emailed Mum 2 nitez ago sayin dey had a kitteh fer Mum to ‘consider’ n Mum almost had a hearty-ttack!! She waz bery grayshuss n politelly reefused BOTH *ahem* giftiez….Mun nose peeple tryin to help butt WHAT DA KAT??? Me NOT gone to Summerland yet 😦
    Catmess can be bery stressfull can’t it Rumpy??
    Lub Nylablue xx

  19. Give a donation to the local Pet Rescue group, on behalf of the animal. That is a more worthy recipient of the gift, and they will love the idea that they are shown as the donor. Alternatively gift cash , so the owner can buy exactly what they know the animal needs. This is especially the case for the elderly and those on low incomes.

  20. We stumbled over here coming from a different page and thought I may as well check things out.
    I like what I see so now i am following you. Look forward to finding out about your web page
    for a second time.

What would you like to add to the conversation? Bark at me in a comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s