Best Gifts for your Bulldog this Holiday Season

December 11, 2020In LifestyleBy Katey

One of my favorite traditions of the holiday season is giving gifts to friends and loved ones – including my bulldogs! But finding the right gifts for them isn’t always easy. Finding toys that will entertain and not be destroyed within 8 minutes can be a bit of a challenge, as many bulldog owners know!

In this article, I’ll share some of my favorite gifts to keep your babes cozy, comfy, and entertained well into the new year. I’ll also share a few to watch out for and recommend some great alternatives.

For the Active Mind

Some of my favorite dog toys are the kinds that are interactive and dispense treats. The best part about these toys is that they’re great for expending mental energy! If your dogs are anything like mine, sometimes physical exercise just doesn’t cut it. Much like people, dogs can get bored, especially if their day-to-day routine is the same. Challenging your pup’s mind will keep her from getting bored and can even help cut down on destructive behaviors like chewing on furniture and destroying your shoes!

One of my favorite interactive toys is the Starmark Treat Dispensing Bob-A-Lot. This toy comes in 2 sizes to accommodate both big and small dogs and provides mental stimulation by challenging your dog to figure out how to get the treats out. One of the best features is that you can alter the difficulty level by adjusting openings to control how easily (or not) the treats come out.

And here’s an added bonus – if you have a dog that scarfs down his meals, the Starmark Bob-A-Lot is a great way to get him to eat slower and burn some mental energy at the same time.

For the Eager Eater

While the Bob-A-Lot may be useful for pups who eat kibble, I know a lot of bully parents feed their babes raw, homecooked, or dehydrated food. For these families, we love the Outward Hound Fun Feeder Interactive Dog Bowl.

This bowl not only engages with its ridges and mazes, it also lengthens mealtime by up to 10x, which can help prevent bloat, regurgitation, gas, and obesity.

The fun feeder comes in sizes for both small and larger dogs, is made with high quality, food safe materials, and is BPA, PVC, and phthalate free. Your pup will love the non-slip base that keeps the bowl steady while she eats, and you’ll love that it’s dishwasher safe for easy cleanup!

For the Cuddly Snuggler

What pup doesn’t love a good nap after a fun and engaging meal? For those dogs, I recommend a calming bed. Calming beds come in different shapes and sizes but generally offer the same benefits. They’re specially designed to provide extra comfort and warmth for your pup with raised bolsters and interiors lined with soft, luxurious Sherpa or faux fur.

Have you ever seen a pile of puppies sleeping and just “Awwwww-ed” your face off? Did you know that the natural inclination to pile up is actually biological? Newborn puppies need to stay warm and often sleep in piles to keep their body temperatures up. The snuggling also creates a sense of security after leaving the safe, warm womb.

These instincts often stay with our pups, which is one reason they love to sleep on top of us. Calming beds recreate the safety and warmth of a puppy pile when our human laps are unavailable. A couple of my favorites are the Best Friends by Sheri Donut Cuddler and Bessie + Barnie’s Bagel Bed.

For the Avid Chewer

For years I rode a wave of frustration over the droves of dog toys my bullies would quickly destroy even though they claimed to be “indestructible” or specially designed for heavy chewers. Eventually, I learned that those descriptors mean nothing when you’ve got bulldogs. Until I found the Benebone! Made of USA-sourced nylon and real flavor ingredients, these durable toys last for weeks, maybe months!

Infused with food-grade flavors like chicken, bacon, peanuts, and maple, the Benebone is a favorite among avid chewers, and the tough nylon base designed for safe chewing makes it a favorite for dog parents. Despite the durability, however, you should always monitor your dog’s chew toy habits and replace the Benebone after reasonable wear. If you’re wondering what “reasonable wear” means, check out this article on the Benebone website – When to Replace Your Benebone.

For the Delighted Destroyer

My dog LOVES to destroy toys. She lives for disemboweling stuffies and one of her all-time favorite pastimes is ripping the squeakers out. How many of you can relate?? I was so excited when I found the OMG! SURPRISE toys at PetSmart and couldn’t wait to bring one home for her.

This plush toy has it all – the fun of a stuffie, plus that sought after squeak. And when your dog eventually rips it open, there’s a surprise squeaky toy inside! Forget the days of sighs and headshaking after your pupper rips open its newest toy within 5 minutes. With the OMG! SURPRISE toy, you’ll actually get excited at the site of your baby ripping this thing open.

Gifts to Beware Of

Rope Toys

Rope toys are a very popular dog toy, but most people don’t know just how dangerous they can be. Whenever a dog chews on a toy, small particles are chewed off and can very easily be ingested. With rope toys, those “small particles” are actually small fibers that can turn into long strands of rope. When ingested, these strands can cause issues in a dog’s digestive tract and intestines.

Issues can range from indigestion or a blockage to severe intestinal damage. When a long, thin object, such as a strand of rope, is moving through the digestive tract, it can become lodged in two spaces at once, such as the stomach and intestines. If this happens, the dog may be unable to pass the strand, in which case it could act as a drawstring and tighten around the intestines, causing extreme pain and possibly death.

If you do allow your dog to play with a rope toy, he should always be supervised and never be left alone to chew on it. You should also invest in a higher-quality rope and discard it as soon as it begins to fray.

If your dog loves to play tug of war, but you’d like a safer alternative, try the West Paw Zogoflex Bumi Dog Toy or Tuffy’s Ultimate 3-Way Tug Squeaky Toy. Both of these options provide tons of tuggy fun without the danger of swallowing strands of rope.

Rawhide

While rawhide is an incredibly popular chew choice, it can also be incredibly dangerous. When my dog was about 6 months old, he stole a rawhide bone from a friend’s house. I found his ingenuity in procuring the chew endearing, so I let him keep it. He’d been chewing on it for about 15-20 minutes when I noticed he was acting a little weird. That’s when I noticed he had unraveled the folded chew and was choking on the taffy-like remains. I ran to him and ended up pulling a 6-inch piece of leathery rawhide out of his throat!

Rawhide chews are built to last, so as dogs chew on them they don’t break apart. Instead, they become soft and turn into a consistency a lot like tough taffy or bubble gum and don’t break down easily. This can easily result in a dog swallowing long pieces of rawhide that are serious choking hazards and can easily turn into an intestinal blockage.

In addition to the dangers outlined above, the process of creating rawhide chews involves A LOT of chemicals. Contrary to popular belief, a rawhide stick is not a by-product of meat, it is a by-product of the leather industry, making it, theoretically, a leather chew.

The hides used to create rawhide are first bathed in chemicals to preserve the product during transport. Second, the hides are washed and whitened using hydrogen peroxide or bleach, after which they’re “painted” with chemicals, artificial dyes, and flavors so that they look pretty on pet store shelves. Lastly, rawhide chews are often treated with a variety of dangerous chemicals to prolong shelf life. For a more comprehensive explanation of how rawhide is created and treated, read this article on the Whole Dog Journal website.

This year try safer alternatives like bully sticks or Himalayan yak chews. Bully sticks are a more nutrient-rich, natural option that can help clean teeth and gums while your dog chews, and they come in all different shapes and sizes.

Himalayan Yak chews are thicker, tougher options that come from hardened yak and cow cheese. This chew also helps remove bacteria from your dog’s teeth and lasts longer than many other natural chews.

Cheap Plush Toys

Cheap plush toys may be cost-effective, but as most bully parents know, they are easily destroyed within minutes! Not only can this feel like a waste of money, but it can also be dangerous. While some dogs may simply love the thrill of ripping a toy to shreds, others like to eat the remnants of fabric, stuffing, and squeakers. In addition to being a choking hazard, these materials can also cause an upset stomach or, even worse, an intestinal blockage.

If your dog loves a good plush toy, opt for one that has little to no filling or uses some type of chew guard fabric. One of our favorites is the goDog Tough Plush Dog Toy with Chew Guard technology. While these durable stuffies do have some stuffing, the trademarked Chew Guard Technology and double stitching make them tougher than the average toy. Additionally, the internal squeakers are built into nylon pockets that help protect them from overeager teeth.

Remember that all dogs are different and no toys or chews are 100% indestructible or safe. Always supervise your dog when he’s chomping on bones and chewies. Know your dog’s habits when it comes to all different types of toys and discard them when they become worn.

Happy holidays and happy shopping!