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Written by leading veterinarians to provide you with the information you need to care for your pets.

The Daily Vet by petMD

The Daily Vet is a blog featuring veterinarians from all walks of life. Every week they will tackle entertaining, interesting, and sometimes difficult topics in the world of animal medicine – all in the hopes that their unique insights and personal experiences will help you to understand your pets.

Dr. Patrick’s Top Five Canine Holiday Gifts

Despite the sheer glee dog owners achieve by giving holiday gifts, most canines will be similarly enthusiastic about nearly any offering, regardless of holiday or occasion. Dog caretakers might as well provide presents aimed at enhancing canine health or safety instead of that massive red and white, artificially colored, rawhide candy cane.

I have no contractual allegiance to promote any of the following products. The suggestions stem from my experience in how relationships between dogs and their caretakers can be improved through their use.


Accidental or intentional removal of a collar and identifying tags can leave your pet prone to becoming lost in our vast and treacherous world. A microchip (Home Again and Avid are two of my top picks) is a cost effective means of increasing the likelihood that you and your dog will be reunited following an unforeseen separation.

If your unidentified pet is brought to a hospital or shelter, the microchip is scanned and the chip’s manufacturer is contacted. If your personal information is kept up to date and you are able to receive communication, then you will be notified of your pet’s location.

Microchip implantation can be performed at any life stage, is minimally painful, and should be part of your dog’s next wellness exam.

Bags on Board Leash Handle Dispenser


Fusing form and function, the Leash Handle Dispenser has a sturdy, rubber lined handle, which also serves as a combination bag dispenser and holder for waste filled bags. As Cardiff and I often stroll Southern California’s picturesque beaches, there are many times when a trash can is not immediately available to proper dispose of his bowel movements.

The Leash Handle Dispenser is a better option than stuffing the poop bag in a pocket and leaves my hands free to maintain control over my enthusiastic canine.

Kyjen Outward Hound Designer Pet Saver Life Jacket


If your dog likes water sports, then it is your obligation to promote safety while kayaking, boating, and jet skiing. Wait! Jet skiing dogs? I don’t condone canine jet skiing, as you’ll see in my TeddyHilton.com video in which I plead for Enrique Iglesias to better consider the welfare of his German Shepherd Dog.

When kayaking with Cardiff on my parent’s Massachusetts lake, we both wear life preservers. The Kyjen Outward Hound Designer Pet Saver Life Jacket fits him comfortably, allows for easy movement and has a convenient handle. Plus, Cardiff looks handsome while partaking in his "Lakewatch" responsibilities.

Firsttrax Noz to Noz (N2N) Sof-Krate


Dogs should always be properly restrained inside a car during transit. Your dog faces life threatening danger from being tossed around inside, or thrown out of your car.

Additionally, an unrestrained dog is a considerable driving distraction.

To transport Cardiff, I use the Firsttrax Noz to Noz (N2N) Sof-Krate. Cardiff is safely confined to a well aerated space in my car’s hatch back and exhibits minimal signs of stress (agitation, panting, etc.) as compared to being tethered with a seatbelt harness. The Sof-Krate can also be used inside the home, hotel, or any other place an additional canine den is needed.


Image via 3 pups in a pop-up

I am generally not a fan of extendable dog leads (see Will West Hollywood Follow UK and Fine Dog Owners for Using Retractable Leads?), as handlers have inadequate control over their dogs’ movements when the leash is extended beyond a few feet.

My opinion is circumstantially changing after being introduced to the LeashLocket at the BlogPaws 2011 Conference. Ingeniously, your canine companion holds the coiled leash when not in use, as the LeashLocket conveniently snaps onto a neck collar. Provided you can reach your dog, the LeashLocket is easily grasped to reestablish control. Your hands are also free to quickly unholster your smart phone for a choice photo op.

Although our tendency is to frequent beaches where leashes are not required, Cardiff and I are now properly equipped to comply by regulatory bodies while having a fun and safe time.

Preparation H Wipes


As a holistic house call veterinarian, many of my patients are geriatric dogs in need of hospice care. A challenge facing many senior dogs and their owners is maintaining the skin and coat health around the anus, vulva, and prepuce (the sheath housing the penis). These areas often accumulate bodily secretions, which cause skin irritation and increase potential for infection (skin, urinary tract, other).

Besides keeping hair trimmed appropriately short, using a non-irritating wipe can help promote cleanliness. I like Preparation H Wipes, or comparable witch hazel and aloe products, which have natural antiseptic and soothing qualities.

These wipes can also be used to clean feet, faces, and ears. Packages can be kept in your home, car, or office and make great stocking stuffers.


There are so many more products available to dog and cat lovers that can make great gifts. Before purchasing or accepting just any pet product, consider the potential positive or negative health implications. Ultimately, your pet will thank you for it.

Dr. Patrick Mahaney

Image: KellyNelson / via Shutterstock

Meet The Vets