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Pet Lovers Gift Basket Ideas for Dog and Owner to Dig Into Bonding and Adventure

Pet Lovers Gift Basket Ideas for Dog and Owner to Dig Into Bonding and Adventure

gift basket ideas for dog and owner
A dog and his human | Image courtesy Unsplash user Yingchou Han

Growing up, we had a good-natured yellow labrador named Woody who happily traipsed through the trees and rolling hills of the neighborhood with us as if it was all his backyard. Being the youngest in my family, I had a habit of often pretending that Woody was my little brother or sister when my siblings weren’t around. I’d dress him up in tiaras when I wanted to play princess fairytales, capes when I was more in the mood for superheroes, a big straw hat or paisley print bonnet when it was time for a tea party.

Woody became my best buddy, the one who’d sit next to my stuffed animals and listen intently when I was conjuring up ideas for a new story or a cookie recipe. The one who was always up for anything, any game, I had in mind.

If you’ve ever had a dog like Woody, you know there’s an inexplicable bond between dogs and their owners—a loyalty, a friendship, an unspoken understanding. In my twenties, my friends started becoming dog owners before they started having babies, and their new furry family members quickly took up space in their hearts—and in mine. I found myself celebrating first birthdays and anniversaries of adoption dates, usually gifting presents I thought would be fun for both pet and human. My pet lovers gift basket ideas for dog and owner fall into one of three categories inspired by my meandering days with Woody: primping, rainy day relaxing, or city adventuring. Read on for some kibbles of dog-spiration so you can also have everyone howling with delight.

New Dog Welcome Basket: Primp With Your Pup

As a kid, I used to host spa days for Woody and myself. He’d sit next to me as I painted my nails and ate a scoop of ice cream—the ultimate in relaxation for me as an 8 year (and still as an adult). I’m not sure if poor Woody felt a little left out of the festivities, but I now send what I call a “Primp With Your Pup” new dog welcome basket to adopted pet parents. It’s a gift basket full of primping indulgence for both owner and pet to help them relax and get to know each other. Here are my spa essentials to include in any welcome home pet gift basket:

paw balm dog gift
Pawsitively relaxing balm | Image courtesy Etsy seller PawsitiveVibesBB
  • Tropical fruit scented shampoo and conditioner: For the pup mama, you can include a mango, passionfruit, or plumeria scented combo. For pup, try a shampoo with a fresh scent specifically designed for a furry friend. Tropical scents will relax and rejuvenate pet and owner, leaving them both in a sea of bliss.
  • Moisturizing balms: Add any sweetly-scented lip balm for the human, but don’t forget the paw and nose balm to keep pup living the spa life, too.
  • Clippers for pawfect nails: Pet and owner will both feel fancy with a manicure and paw clean up. Include a new pair of stainless steel dog nail clippers and a manicure set for the human.
  • Cozy socks: Keep newly clipped paws perfect by including a pair of pup socks—and maybe a matching pair for the dog mama or pops as well.
  • Ice cream: You can find Puppy Scoops Ice Cream mix for dogs in flavors like maple bacon, vanilla, and peanut butter. A pint of vanilla bean, or maple bacon if you can find it, for the human will round out this soothing spa treat basket.

Rainy Day Relaxing Pet Gift Box Ideas

Some of my best days spent with Woody were rainy ones. We’d cuddle up on the couch, his nose wet from the San Diego drizzle, and we’d watch movies, read books, and sometimes, bake a cake or order a pizza. Over those lazy days, magical memories were formed and the idea for this basket was born.

pet treats for gift basket
Comfort food for rainy days | Image courtesy Etsy seller AddiktiveDogGoodies
  • An animal-inspired classic read: Told from the point of view of a dog, The Art of Racing in the Rain is the perfect novel to read on a rainy day. It will encourage gift recipients to cuddle up with their pups and unwind with words. Marley and Me and Because of Winn Dixie are some other classic favorites to toss in your basket because rainy days always call for more than one book.
  • A movie starring a cute canine: Nothing’s better on a rainy day than curling up for a snuggle and a good movie. Watch labrador Wesley on screen try to reunite his humans in You’ve Got the Dog. It will keep a restless pup entertained and fill an owner with warm feelings about the ways in which pups can mend hearts and mold relationships.
  • A snuggle blanket: This one needs no explanation, except to say, make it big enough for two!
  • Comfort food: For pups, this might include bacon-flavored biscuits. For humans, the same.  
  • An indoor game: Celebrate and reward a pup for good behavior if he’s been trapped inside all day. Include mini doggie treats in your gift basket and directions for a game of “Find the Treats.” Thanks to a dog’s uncanny sense of smell, the treats can be hidden, and the pup can search for them. You can also include a cotton rope toy for a classic game of rainy day tug-of-war.

A Pet Lovers Adventure Gift Basket for City Explorations

Growing up in a rural neighborhood, walks with Woody included trots through the citrus groves up the hill or visiting the horses down the street. Though fashion and walkability weren’t exactly our first concern, many of my city-dwelling friends in Portland and San Francisco love this basket—and the adventures it brings to them and their pups.

matching pet outfits
Doggone adorable | Image courtesy Unsplash user Tamara Bellis
  • A leash that helps homeless pups (and looks stylish): The Found my Animal brass leash is stylish for both dog and owner while out for a stroll, and also promotes pet adoption. Including this philanthropic gift in your gift basket gives good feelings to all, from the gift giver to the gift recipients.
  • Matching accessories: Help a pooch and their pal look exceptional when they head out for their city stroll with matching bandanas.
  • Pizza, duh: Every city has a favorite pizza joint. As a funny gift, throw in a plush pizza toy for the pup and a gift card to the pizza place for the owner. For an extra special doggie date, make sure the pizza place is pup-friendly or has outdoor seating, and bring along some Pup-Peroni so everyone gets a savory treat.
  • A portable water bowl: A collapsible water bowl in case pup gets thirsty while you’re chowing down on your pizza.

  • A walkable city map: No matter how long the duo has lived in their hometown, there are bound to be new places to sniff out and explore!

When I help new pet owners celebrate finding another furry family member to welcome home, I feel like I’m honoring Woody, and each and every dog that’s ever been playmate, best friend, or shoulder to cry on for their humans. He was a loyal listener and fun enthusiast who still holds a spot in my heart—and always will. May these baskets inspire you to also celebrate all of the pups who have graced your life.

For more ideas on pup-erific gift giving, explore our Dog Lovers Gift Guide or connect with us on our Facebook page, on Twitter @Elfster, or Instagram @Elfstergram.

An Open Letter From the Easter Bunny

An Open Letter From the Easter Bunny

An Open Letter From the Easter Bunny

To My Adoring Public,

It has come to my attention that my approval rating has taken a dive down the proverbial rabbit hole in recent weeks.  While I’ve still got a good number of “believers, the Facebook polls don’t lie.

My agent seems to think this little slump might have something to do with my escapades in the off-season. (Hey, I’m a rabbit.) He’s even gone so far as to suggest a quick visit to the vet to correct the problem. With my bunnyhood at stake, I feel that I must offer some explanation of my behavior.

Having to live up to the impossibly white and downy fluff of the bunnies featured in Cadbury ads, and the boundless enthusiasm of the Energizer mascot in commercials, I have to say, I’m under an awful lot of pressure. Not normally prone to “performance anxiety”, you can imagine the toll this has taken on my self-esteem.

That is why I humbly ask for a little recognition. I would greatly appreciate your continued support in Easters to come… Those colored eggs don’t hide themselves, you know!

The Easter Bunny

PS- I hear Santa gets cookies…


Photo credits: Ibrahim Iujaz
The Elf Week Reindeer Rally

The Elf Week Reindeer Rally

Antlers Away! Today marks the midpoint of the Elf Week festivities, and we celebrate by paying homage to Elf’s Best Friend. The Reindeer Rally is a challenge that tests our way with the beasts, and also spruces the deer up in time for their Christmas debut.

In addition to rigorously training for the Rally, we elves have been diligently clipping the Reindeers hooves, making sure they produce that festive rooftop “Click, click, click!” sound that we all know and love. But whether your pet is a dog, cat, polar bear or penguin, we say they’re entitled to a little primping every now and again, and the holidays are the perfect time to show your appreciation! Giving your pet a Happy Holidays is easier than you might think. Just follow the advice of these handy Elf Help articles on the matter:

Gifts for the Dog Who’s Naughty and Nice
Ready for National Dog Day!

Now back to our coverage of the Reindeer Rally!

Current Standings

Elf Peter is in the lead, putting his final coat of shellac on Rudolph’s nose. (You didn’t think it shined all on its own, did you?) This task is a necessity for both aesthetic and weather-proofing purposes, and Peter is performing flawlessly. Looks like Rudolph will be named “Best in SNOW” for the 300th Christmas in a row!

The Talent portion of the competition has been dominated by Elf Shannon, who in Second Place, has choreographed quite an impressive routine for ole Blitzen. We can honestly say we’ve never seen a Reindeer figure skate and saw a halibut in half, but somehow the spectacle became especially moving when the beast began his tuneful karaoke rendition of “Silent Night”. Bravo, Shannon and Blitzen!

Finally, in Third Place is Elf David. He had the unenviable challenge of prepping Comet for the swimwear competition. We’ll just have to leave that one to the imagination…

Stay tuned the rest of the week for more Elf Week fun!  Tomorrow’s event: The Mall Duty March!

Photo credits:  Kevin Dooley , stevendepolo
Gifts for the Dog Who’s Naughty and Nice

Gifts for the Dog Who’s Naughty and Nice

If your dog had a laptop, chances are, he’d be working on his Elfster Wishlist right now…

It would be mighty convenient to know just what present your pooch had his nose on this Christmas, but let’s not fool ourselves. He’d probably ask for a lifetime membership to the “Fire Hydrant of the Month Club”, or a provocative AKC Championship pin-up calendar for his dog house. (Typical.)

So to help you choose a more sensible gift, we compiled a list of traditional pet presents based on what’s new on the market today. Now, we know that most pups are pretty eager to please, so we say every dog deserves a present. That’s why we’re including a few “Naughty Dog” options, too. Either way, your pup won’t be able to keep his paws off of these great gift ideas!


For the Nice Dog: Premier Liver Biscotti Treats
For the Naughty Dog: Isle of Dogs Breath-Sweetening Treats

Reading Material

For the Nice Dog: The Bark Magazine
For the Naughty Dog: Cat Fancy

Exercise Equipment

For the Nice Dog: The Kygen Dog Agility Starter Kit
For the Naughty Dog: The PetZen Motorized Exercise Treadmill

Dog House

For the Nice Dog: The Merry Pet Wood Room with a View
For the Naughty Dog:The Den Haus Indoor House Table

Don’t forget, the Elf Week Reindeer Rally is just two weeks away!  Time to start polishing Rudolph’s antlers…

Photo credits: Zach Klein,
Planning a Halloween to Bark About

Planning a Halloween to Bark About

This week, as we stock up on sweets and play the "Monster Mash" on repeat, our four-legged friends are making their own holiday preparations.  We invited special guest blogger, Barkley, to give us a pooch’s perspective on the Halloween tradition. Here’s what he had to say…

Sure. It’s easy to “blame the dog” for holiday mishaps. I’ll admit, I was out of line to drink up the last of the Christmas tree water. And freaking out at the sight of your festive Fourth of July sparklers was, in retrospect, uncalled for. But I maintain, last Halloween I was only trying to help enhance the festivities.

You may or may not remember, but I put an awful lot of effort into “setting the mood.”  First, I secured the perimeter of the yard, laboriously marking our territory in no uncertain terms. Pranksters and trespassing troublemakers abound on Halloween, and I wasn’t about to let them have their jollies…

When that job was done, I commissioned the work of Snickers the cat to spruce up the draperies with a “tattered and torn” motif. I still think that it was appropriate design choice for the haunted house feel I was going for. It must have worked too, judging from Mom’s screaming!

"Snow day!"While Snickers was busy with the blinds, I put my own paws to work in the yard. Thinking I’d go all-out on the macabre Halloween theme, I dug a decorative grave or two, which I have to say, looked pretty authentic. To kick it up a notch, I filled each trench with the mangled remains of a few long departed squeaky toys.

After a good while of digging ditches, I hopped on the couch, where I decided it was time to start shedding. The original plan was to craft a miniature army of “furball monsters” to drift mysteriously around the house. Unfortunately, this attempt was thwarted when some wise guy (Dad) dragged out the vacuum.

Next, I warmed my vocal chords to provide an eerie ambient soundtrack to the night’s festivities. Barricading myself in the bathroom, I howled until I was practically blue in the face. The makeshift echo chamber really lent a ghostly resonance to my moans, which couldn’t help but chill the spine. But I didn’t stop there. Even when settling down for a nap, I made no effort to conceal my usual snoring. Believe me, this made some pretty scary sounds too!

Reflected Candy CornSo, here we are a year later, and believe it or not, I’ve yet to receive a single “thank you”. But I won’t let that dampen my mood. I’ve got big plans for this year!

I think I’ll start by knocking over the candy dish…

Photo credits: istolethetv on Flickr, Cory Schmitz, Liz West