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From collars and food bowls to chew toys and training gear—dog ownership requires a whole lotta of stuff. Which can be something of a double-edged sword when it comes to holiday shopping for the new dog owner in your life. Yes, you have options a-plenty, but sometimes all those choices just complicate things. How do you determine what’s essential (hello poop baggies in bulk) and what’s not? What gift does the new dog owner in your life really want—and probably need?
We’ve simplified your gift search by weeding out the fluff and picking 12 items any new dog owner would love to receive.
These must-have gifts for new dog owners were selected because they make dog care easier and, ultimately, more joyful. Most of the items in this round-up would suit a puppy just as well as a senior dog, and a few products are the personal favorites of Rover writers and editors.
Read on to discover which items made our cut for the top gifts for new dog owners. And don’t worry—your secret is safe with us if you decide you need a few of these yourself.
Our Favorite Gifts for New Dog Owners
This handy gadget allows pet owners to communicate with their dog through an easy-to-use app. You can even toss treats to your pet while you’re in the office—all with the touch of a button.
Pet tech has come a long way in recent years. The Furbo offers 1080p full HD live streaming, a wide-angle view, and night vision. There’s also an option to set up barking alerts on your phone, although you’ll need a subscription to the Furbo Dog Nanny to receive them.
Verified review: “The Furbo is the ultimate ‘didn’t know I needed it until I got it’ pet tech. This treat-shooting pet spy gear is easy to set up and has a user-friendly app. You can shoot treats at your pet, talk to them through the microphone, and sneak a peek at them while you’re away via the built-in camera.
I love it because (1) I now have confirmation that my dog seems pretty content when I’m not around. (2) It sends me a push notification whenever he’s barking so I can turn on the camera and see what’s up. (Spoiler alert: It’s always the mailman.) And (3) I can remind him any time, from anywhere, that I love him. That’s definitely the best part.”
The more you know about your dog’s origins, the better you’re able to understand what makes him tick—and how to keep him healthy long term. If you’re gifting to a new dog owner with a rescue pup, they might appreciate learning about their pup’s ancestry with a Wisdom Panel DNA kit.
These tests offer a fascinating snapshot of a pup’s parentage and shed light on his potential medical risks and genetic predispositions. A DNA kit makes a thoughtful gift for the dog owner who already owns most of the pet basics. We had a great time when we tried a genetic test on our own pups.
Every dog needs regular exercise, and a good harness makes walking a joy rather than a (literal) drag. This versatile Ruffwear harness is a solid go-to option for everyday use. It’s comfortable, adjustable, and offers both back and front leash attachments to reduce pulling.
This harness was designed with your dog’s safety in mind: reflective stitching keeps him visible during evening strolls, and neoprene-lined straps mean your dog will stay comfy for the long haul. It also includes car restraints for safer adventures together.
Of course, this is far from the only harness out there. If you’re overwhelmed with options, we hear you. To narrow down the choices, check out our review of some of the top no-pull dog harnesses—for every type of dog (and new owner).
Gift the new dog owner in your life peace of mind with a dog GPS collar that keeps tabs on their pet’s whereabouts.
With a Whistle Go Explore, dog owners create a designated safe space and receive notifications if their pet wanders off. One of our favorite features of the Whistle Go Explore is its longevity: with just a single charge, the battery can run for 20 straight days. This device also provides a weekly health report, making it easier for your dog to reach his fitness goals.
Keep in mind that a monthly or yearly subscription is required, so you may want to consider covering the service costs as a bonus gift.
Some dogs find adjusting to a new home challenging. Make the transition as nerve-free as possible with the comfort of a snuggly heartbeat plushie. With its simulated pulsing “heartbeat” and dog-safe heat source, this stuffed toy naturally eases separation anxiety, stress, and loneliness.
By keeping dogs calm, it also curbs unwanted behaviors like chewing and barking—a definite win for anxious households in need of some relief. They’re wildly popular with new dog owners and make a sweet gift to welcome a new pup.
Here’s a practical training tool that any new dog owner would find useful. Conveniently worn around the waist, the Ruffwear Treat Trader ensures that healthy rewards are always nearby during lessons.
We love that this pouch features a magnetic closure for easy access. It’s durable yet lightweight, and it makes multi-tasking a breeze—a great gift for dog owners being pulled in all directions.
Sometimes dog owners need a reliable kennel to corral curious pups or to give their pet a safe place to nap or play. This portable playpen by BestPet is highly versatile: it’s suitable for indoor or outdoor use, you can configure the eight panels in multiple ways, and it’s easy to set up and tear down. The heavy duty rust-resistant design also means this kennel is meant to last.
You can’t go wrong with a classic Kong toy. Made with durable rubber, they make the perfect gift for eager chewers and dogs with anxiety. Kongs can be filled with peanut butter, pureed pumpkin, or any other dog-friendly treats to keep dogs occupied, alleviate boredom, and reduce stress and separation anxiety. Available in six sizes, there’s bound to be a Kong toy that’s just right for your own furry friend.
Verified review: “I use my Kongs (yes, I have multiple) constantly, not just to give my dog Buster something to do at home alone but to make him use his doggy brain to eat his meals. This thing can be frozen and put in the dishwasher, plus it bounces and floats. Buster loves it.”
For the new dog owner who’s pretty well-stocked with canine essentials, a challenging puzzle game makes a unique gift. Puzzle toys are a great way to distract a nervous dog while working his mental muscles at the same time. Plus, they’re just plain fun! (Doubly so when treats are involved.)
This interactive game by Nina Ottosson puts your dog’s natural searching skills to the test. Every time he finds a hidden treat, he’s rewarded not only with a tasty bite but also a welcome boost of confidence.
Lick mats are a useful tool for distracting nervous dogs during high-stress situations like bathtime or grooming sessions. Smeared with tempting treats like peanut butter or pureed pumpkin, they keep dogs busy and out of trouble. This Mighty Paw lick pad is BPA-free and features 4 different textures and suction cups to keep it where you want it.
For the gift that keeps on giving, consider signing your new-dog-owner friend up for a monthly dog subscription box. After all, who doesn’t love getting the occasional package in the mail?
When it comes to dog subscription boxes, BarkBox is a fan favorite—and rightly so. Every month, subscribed doggos receive a themed collection of customized dog toys, treats, and chews. You have the option to tailor your monthly goodies, or just let BarkBox do the picking for you.
New dog owners are bound to have some questions. How much paw-licking is too much? What does a runny nose mean? Why does my pup’s poop look like . . . that? That’s where Pawp comes in handy.
Their 24/7 telehealth service allows pet parents to talk with a veterinary expert within minutes no matter the hour. It’s good for everything from minor concerns and niggling doubts to advice in a catastrophe. Pawp’s vets can help you figure out what constitutes an emergency and what you can treat at home (like they did for us when one of our pups swiped some forbidden chocolate off a counter).
It’s a nice gift for a new dog owner who could use a helping hand as they learn the ropes.