We’ve been travelling the UK as full time pet sitters for six years, and during that time we’ve cared for over 150 dogs! We’ve been able to put almost every kind of dog food, toy and accessory to the test as we’ve completed dog sits for all breeds and ages, and have slowly curated our own kit of dog sitting essentials. With that in mind we’ve put together our ULTIMATE list of Christmas gift ideas for dog lovers, whether they own dogs or pet sit them! The following are either items we’ve invested in for ourselves over the years, or ones that are on our personal wish list for Christmas! When you’ve finished reading, head to our Christmas gift guide for dogs!

Dog walking

Our first item is our absolute MUST-HAVE for dog walking and we’ve been recommending them to dog owners and sitters for years! Dicky Bag is a portable, odour-proof dog poo bin with two compartments: One for storing empty poo bags, and one for holding full poo bags. Dicky Bag has been a game-changer for us as we go on walkies across the country, mostly in rural areas where there aren’t any poo bins for miles around. We love Dicky Bag so much that we now own 3 different kinds, though our favourite is the neoprene style as rain and mud wipe off the surface easily. All Dicky Bags are machine washable at 30 degrees and you can add Dicky freshener Disks to help combat odour inside the bag.

If you want to create a cohesive dog walking kit, we also highly recommend the accompanying Dicky treat bag. Use the zip to fill this small but roomy pouch with dog treats, then access them via a slot at the top for quick-to-grab treats on the go! Like the Dicky Bag, it’s machine washable in case you need to give it a freshen up after lots of use with stinky dog treats.

Some doggos just never seem to tire of a game of fetch, even when your arms feel like they’re going to fall off! We always recommend the super bouncy, durable and highly-visible Chuck-It ball, and we’d also suggest getting the Chuck-It ball launcher to save those aching arms! We’ve encountered dozens and dozens of ball launchers over our 6 years of pet sitting, but NONE compare to the quality of a Chuck-It ball launcher. This thing really sends a ball flying and is super strong for good, long ball throws to keep dogs running and tire them out!

For those times when a dog has been splashing through puddles and mud on your Winter walkies, there’s nothing like the Mud Daddy to wash off those mucky paws, whether it’s when you arrive home or if you’re hopping back in the car. The Mud Daddy is a portable shower, with a 2 metre long hose and a shower head brush at the end for removing stubborn mud from paws. Simply fill the bottle with water and get cleaning! If you’re using warm water, the bottle keeps it warm for up to 2.5 hours – perfect if your pooch likes a longer walk. The original Mud Daddy has a 5 litre water capacity, though larger ones are also available for washing multiple dogs. It’s easy to use and it’s a travel-friendly size, which is much appreciated for full time pet sitters like us!

Speaking of cleaning muddy paws, for a quick wipe after a shorter walk we keep a microfibre towel in our van cab. Microfibre towels are super absorbent and machine washable too, making them great for the job. This compact design from Dogs Trust, with its own storage pouch, is a winner as we can keep it in our dog walking kit without taking up valuable space. Plus if you purchase this towel, you know you’re donating to a good cause!

One of our biggest fears as dog sitters is the thought of a dog getting lost on our walks. This is why a few years ago we invested in a set of Apple AirTags, and a holder that slides onto a dog’s collar, so we’re able to track our dogs while out on walkies using our phones. All dogs we’ve put AirTags on have been happy to wear them, and it gives us extra peace of mind when we’re caring for excitable dogs that like to run!

Another fantastic alternative is Tractive – though this may be more suited to dog owners over sitters as Tractive requires a subscription. We’ve encountered Tractive trackers at multiple house sits, and the owners have temporarily added us to their devices in order for us to track their dogs while out on walkies. The system works well and the tracker simply clips onto a dog’s collar with the included plate, and is rechargeable, so there’s no swapping out batteries.

Clothing and accessories

As animal people we own our fair share of dog-themed clothing! On Suze’s wishlist this year is this super cute jumper from the RSPCA – ‘I just want to pet all the dogs’ pretty much sums up our lifestyle! The RSPCA have so many fantastic designs that would make a great gift for dog (or animal) lovers!

While we’re talking getting cosy, we can’t recommend the Oodie enough! These super snuggly, oversized hoodies are one of the best purchases we made this year, and dogs love to curl up in them with us as they’re incredibly warm! Oodie have a range of dog-themed patterns, and also make Oodies for dogs too – so you and your four-legged friend can wear matching ones! We also love these cosy Dachshund pyjamas to complete a festive, dog-themed look on Christmas Eve.

For the perfect, personalised clothing gift for a dog owner, we LOVE these socks that can be customised with a photo of a pooch’s face! More exciting than the usual boring pair of socks, these are a great novelty gift with a personal touch that are sure to bring a smile to any dog owner’s face. Dogs often love to steal socks, and we’re sure these will be their favourite ones to run off with!

Battersea’s online shop is bursting with so many wonderful gift ideas, from books and bags to mugs and aprons, but we especially love these Dachshund earrings! Suze has a pair and they are super sweet and elegant – a lovely nod to how much we love sausage dogs!

We’ll be the first ones to admit that our reusable shopping bag hoard is getting a little out of hand – not least because we keep finding adorable doggo designs to add to our collection! We love Wrendale’s classic design for a foldable shopper bag, as well as this more playful, larger bag. Wherever we go, people know we love dogs!!

Activities for owner/sitter and their dogs

It’s no secret that we love a good photoshoot with dogs when we’re pet sitting. For owners and sitters that are equally into Instagram-worthy shots, Dogs Trust has you covered with these cute milestone cards to mark big events in a pooch’s life. From ‘First time I settled on my mat’ to ‘First Christmas in my forever home’, these sweet cards are sure to add a heartwarming touch to a Christmassy pawtrait.

For a fun gift that an owner can enjoy with their pooch, we love this talking pet starter kit! We’ve spent hours watching Instagram reels of dogs using these buttons to communicate with their owners after some training – check out @TheChatty Lab to see the potential for this incredible toy! Dogs that are trained to use these buttons have told their owners everything, from asking ‘Where’s Dad?’ to letting owners know when they’ve hurt their paw, or need to go outside. These buttons can even record an owner’s commands for a set of phrases tailored to the dog or owner’s needs.

If the dog owner in your life is in need of a getaway, why not suggest a dog-friendly holiday together with Paws and Stay! They are the UK’s only dog-first travel website, where owners won’t need to check if a place is dog-friendly – they all are! Paws and Stay have curated tonnes of holiday accommodations where dogs are not only tolerated, but welcomed, and designed with furry friends in mind.

For the home

Before we gave up our rented flat to begin nomadic pet sitting, our home was FILLED with dog decor! While we do have a few dog-themed items in our van, we could really get carried away with all the fantastic doggo home decor out there! If we had more wall space, we’d love this colourful and expressive dog print from Oliver Bonas which is sure to brighten up any dog owner’s home!

For a quick and easy way to make a home more snuggly this Winter, this adorable dog-patterned blanket is perfect! We bring a blanket to all our Winter house sits for extra cosiness – the only trouble is sharing it with doggos that are blanket hogs!! Another cute piece for any dog home is this sweet dog-shaped rug from IKEA. We had our eyes on this rug for so long, only to discover that it’s just too big for the floor of our camper! We’re sure any van life pet sitter would love it for their home on wheels too.

We love to drink copious amounts of hot chocolate and tea in the Winter to keep us extra toasty, and these Emma Bridgewater mugs are not only a good size for the perfect hot chocolate, but they come in a variety of dog breeds too! For dog owners, you can pick the specific breed of their pooch, but for sitters like us we love the general ‘Dogs’ style featuring lots of different breeds. One house sit we completed in Norfolk had a whole cupboard full of them, and it was always fun to choose specific doggo mugs for each other every morning! And what better biscuit to dunk in a cuppa than these handcrafted dog-shaped biscuits from Honeywell Bakes – the pawfect accompaniment!

Amongst Battersea’s many varied gift options for dog owners this Christmas, we really love this quirky dog-themed shopping bag! An affordable little gift that supports a brilliant cause, and the wellbeing of dogs and cats waiting for their furever home.

As pet sitters, there are times when we both need to leave pets at home for a short period while we run errands. For peace of mind while we’re out of the house, we use our Ring camera set up as a nanny cam, to make sure dogs are all ok until we return. We mostly use this to check in, as we can view the live camera feed from our phones, but we do appreciate the microphone function – we once used this in the middle of Tesco to tell a cheeky Jack Russell to get down off a dining table!! For a camera with an additional bonus for the dog, especially those who don’t do so well if their owner steps out, the Furbo dog camera has a function to release treats from the camera base! The camera is designed specifically for dog owners, so has two-way audio as well as the ability to rotate 360 degrees, so you’ll never lose sight of your pooch.

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