Question. Does your loved one seriously adore cuddling up on the couch with their kitty? Do they frequent dog parks and costumed parades with their own adventurous pup and spend time walking shelter dogs in their spare moments? Are they a person who just really enjoys hanging out with animals in general?
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If you can answer yes to any of those questions, or if you’re shopping for your own cat or dog, then you’re bound to find some inspiration in this unique holiday gift guide, which we curated for all those Austin pet lovers out there.
We really ruff these gifts and feel purrty confident that they’ll bring your gift giving search to an end for this season. We’ve got stuff for pets on page one and stuff for humans on page two. Now get shopping!
STUFF FOR PETS
A brand new collar — bonus points for bow ties!
Our most obvious suggestion? Buy your friend or family member’s cat or dog a spiffy new collar. Pick something that fits your human’s style while also perfectly capturing the personality of their beloved furry companion.
First off, the University Co-op is selling some pretty great Longhorn-themed dog collars, including this classy leather one ($27). We also really like this smart USB Rechargeable Premium LED Dog Collar ($25) from Austin-based Etsy seller Petabunga and seller Lilyduds‘ assortment of crazy bright ones for $17-22.
And now for the kitties! We’re serious fans of the $16-20 crochet and hand woven cat collars from CrochetPetCollars. How cool are those?! And then there’s MadeByCleo‘s super classy lineup of $11-25 collars and Catfolk Designs‘ adorable $10 bowtie collars. Love!
Something cute to accessorize with
For Austin pet lovers, bandanas and collar attachments are critically important. Who wouldn’t want to cuddle a fluffy golden retriever sporting a red bandana? Who wouldn’t let out an involuntary “EEEE!” of delight upon encountering a dapper black cat wearing a bowtie? No one. Not a single human being. It’s just not possible.
With that in mind, think about ordering your loved one’s dog or cat a plaid bandana ($8) from Austin-based Silly Dog Pet Store or a name-personalized pet bandana ($15) from TheCoffeeCorner. If your pal’s a shameless fantasy or science fiction nerd, you might consider getting their pet this Zombie Tactical Response K-9 Unit ($9) from Austin Etsy shop WellSaid2 or a “Werewolf In Training” or “I Walk With Zombies” Collar Flag ($15) from ArtBrainStorms.
Two quick sidenotes — extra small dog bandanas will work for cats, but we can’t guarantee they’ll tolerate them. And y’all… tutus and capes can definitely be things, too.
No pet’s going to turn down a delicious treat, so that’s pretty much always something good to give someone who loves to dote on their critters. Finding locally made treats is a little easier with dogs, but there are still some great options out there for cats if you know where to look!
To pamper your pal’s pooch, be sure to check out the fresh snacks made by Groovy Dog Bakery, Woof Gang Bakery, Shaggy Waggin Treats, and — if you’re willing to drive a little farther north — Poochie Trends. Additionally, you can find some legit dog treats at Lofty Dog, Bark n’ Purr, and Phydeaux and Friends, so put those places on your visit list, too.
And to make your buddy’s cat real happy, buy them a bottle of Purrgundy or Meowsling CatWine from Phydeaux and Friends, a non-alcoholic drink that’s pumped full of awesome vitamins and minerals, and of course… catnip. Also! Wondercide, an Austin-based natural pet products company, sells grain-free chicken and rabbit jerky treats ($14) and Healthy Pet Austin stocks a ton of wholesome (but delicious) cat treats, so browse through those, as well.
You could also take your friend to Yard Bar and order their pup some House-made Ice Cream for dogs or Bones and Co Sliders ($3, $4 respectively). We’ve never known them to fail to make tails wag!
A food or water bowl — bonus points if you hand paint it!
You’ll probably have to poke around some of our local pet stores like Lofty Dog, Bark n’ Purr, and Phydeaux and Friends in person to find the ideal pet food or water bowl for your loved one’s cat or dog. However, as far as specifics go, we do dig these cute “Feed Me NOW!” and “Food Please” Dog Bowls ($35) from StudioKennel and this odd little Owl Pet Bowl ($30) from Sporecloud.
For even more of a personal touch, consider visiting a paint-it-yourself pottery studio such as Cafe Monet, The Art Garage, Ceramics Bayou, Seize The Clay, or Ceramic Lodge. There, you can buy a bowl and decorate and paint it yourself. Even better: lots of these places let you BYOB. Just make sure you call before you show up to verify that alcohol’s a go and to make sure that they’ve got purchase-able pet bowls in stock.
Catnip Joints from Stark Raving Cat
Stark Raving Cat sells just about every catnip-infused product that you could think of and much more — regular jars of catnip ($8), 3-packs and 5-packs of Catnip Joints ($10-$15), Telescoping Wands with Catnip Joints ($16), Giant Catnip Poppies ($8-20), Catnip Candy Canes ($12), ACME Cat Bombs and TNT Sticks ($14-16), and felt Batnip toys in varying sizes and colors ($8-20).
They’ve even got gift two gift sets — Rainbow Joints ($19.50) and Three Joint Nirvana ($14)! And you should probably go ahead and consider their non-catnip toys too: Scatterballs ($6-9) and High Flyers ($15.50).
A locally made goodie from Lofty Dog
Austin pet shop Lofty Dog carries a ton of locally made products for cats and dogs, so we definitely recommend checking there if you’re looking to support native businesses while at the same time making your animal-loving friend or family member and their pet super happy this Christmas. Here’s a list of some of the local brands they’re currently selling. Go get ’em, Austin!
Adventure fuel from Great OutDogs
Local pet store Great OutDogs is all about adventure, so if the human-pup duo you’re shopping for enjoys hiking and , run by their Barton Springs Road storefront to pick out something amazing for them. They’ve got toys, collars, leashes, harnesses, dog outerwear, food, treats, and accessories and gadgets for biking, hunting, swimming, running, and more, so try to find something that enhances the activities your Austin pet lover and their dog typically enjoy together.
When you visit, please note the rather unique dog statues outside the shop… they usually have some leashed pups out front, as well as a handy assortment of dog statues manning their roof. It’s an experience!
A customized PrideBites toy or hoodie
Another Austin pet products business that you should definitely consider shopping to find a perfect gift for your pet lover of a pal is PrideBites. This local company carries pretty much every dog accessory that you can think of — including original toys shaped like pizzas, beer bottles, and steaks ($10), and classic ($25-28) or sleeveless hoodies ($25) — and unlike most pet accessory companies, offers the opportunity to customize pretty much everything.
Word is, PrideBites recently scored a pretty sweet deal on SharkTank, so it looks like they’ll be sticking around. Yay!
A Membership To A Dog Park + Bar
Does your friend or family member love taking their pup to the dog park? Are they someone who enjoys the occasional beer? Then purchase them a monthly or even yearly membership to one of Austin’s top dog-park-plus-bar hybrids: Yard Bar or Dog House Drinkery.
Yard Bar costs $15 per dog per month or $150 per dog per year, while the Dog House Drinkery in Cedar Park will run you only $75 per year. Both venues serve a variety of human and dog snacks and employ staff to watch over the pups and make sure they’re all playing safely together. Trust us — it’s totally worth it!
An Exciting Pet Box Subscription
While pet subscription boxes like Bark Box, Meow Box, Kitnip Box, Pup Joy, and Pooch Perks are not locally sourced, Austin pet lovers and their critters will still have great fun unboxing new goodies every week or month, so don’t count this option out.
Bark Box ($35-250 depending on subscription length), Pup Joy ($29-44 for single customizable gift box), and Pooch Perks ($20-50 per box depending on type) are designed for doggos, while Kitnip Box ($20-30 per box depending on subscription length) and Meow Box ($33-138 depending on subscription length) obviously contain mysterious gifts generally preferred by kitties.
A DNA Ancestry Testing Kit
Know someone who has always wanted to know their dog or cat’s heritage? Then buy them a dog or cat DNA testing kit this Christmas. All they’ll have to do is swab the inside of their pet’s mouth and send off the sample to a lab, who’ll analyze the results and let them know the various breeds identified in their DNA.
The science isn’t foolproof, but we’ve had past success with Wisdom Panel 4.0 ($85; $10 off with promo code “HOLIDAYS2016”) for dogs, and as far as we can tell, the most respected Cat Ancestry Test ($120) was developed by Dr. Leslie Lyons at UC Davis’s Veterinary Genetics Laboratory.
Thanks to the folks at Embark Veterinary, Inc., we now have a local DNA testing option for dogs. The Embark Dog DNA Test costs $200, but instead of only analyzing the breeds that make up your dog’s unique furry self, this test also checks your pup out for more than 160 canine diseases, including some real baddies like MDR1 and degenerative myelopathy.
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STUFF FOR HUMANS
An animal-inspired reusable bag
Since Austin has banned plastic bags, your buddy is going to need reusable, eco-friendly tote grocery bags for shopping, so why not get them an animal-themed one? We really love the $15-16 bags made by Austin Etsy shops (and undeniable line art masters) PetStudioArt, LibrarianArtist, and The Mintage.
Also on Etsy, Hotline Ink sells four friggin’ awesome bags, including this Mayan Laser Caturday Red Canvas Tote ($15) and this Black Cat Tanagram Tote Bag ($15)… and we don’t even know how to describe GigiFashion’s canvas bags, but they’re weirdly amazing, so we’re just going to leave these here: Girls Feeding Boys To Sharks, Hammerhead Shark Mermaid, and RABBICAT ($50). Yes, that happened.
Pretty pet-themed jewelry
You know what else you could buy your Austin pet lover? A pet-themed pendant, bracelet, or pair of earrings! Jewelry is the perfect low budget stocking stuffer, yet if you choose correctly according to your loved one’s style, you’ll no doubt catch them wearing their new piece all year.
We seriously dig these beautiful and vibrant Glass Pendants ($27-30) from Austin-based Etsy folk artist Heather Galler. Would your buddy prefer a Pug Angel, or would they be more inclined to wear a wild critter like an Owl or Elephant?
At RedPandasCloset, you’ll find $16-18 animal jewelry that appeals to rescue mutt, Pitbull, Corgi, and all-around dog adorers. Or perhaps your friend owns an unconventional pet like a pot-bellied pig or a rabbit? RedPanda has a bracelet and necklace for them, too.
And then there’s always the clever “What Dog Hair” / “What Cat Hair” Stamped Sterling Silver Necklace ($45) from Austin Etsy shop StudioGregoire. It’s genius!
For Austin cat parents with slightly eccentric tastes, check out this Cat With Ball Pendant ($20) and these Deluxe Neko “Lucky Cat” Earrings ($20) from Stark Raving Cat and this brass “Good Luck Always” English Cat Pendant ($40-55) from Austin Etsy seller AntiqueJewelrySupply. And if you’re shopping for a dog owner with vintage tastes, check out this amazing old school Jack Russell Terrier Necklace ($15) from NinjaCan.
Want something a little more expensive and impressive? Check out the customizable “Best Friends Forever” ($250) and “Lone Star Fur Baby” Love Tags ($170) crafted by Austin jewelry maker Paws Promise & Co.
Animal Apparel From a Local Biz
Predictable? Perhaps. But come on, Austin! Your Austin pet lover would totally love one of Austin Pets Alive’s “Live Pets Capital of the World” ($22; dog version, cat version) or trendy Love Your Rescue Pet Day ($22) tees. Austin Cotton’s animal apparel is also bound to impress, especially with their Cat Collage and Dog Collage T-shirts ($15).
We’re big fans of the apparel designed by locally-based Etsy sellers The Mintage, BigTexasTees, and BigTexasAustralia. Additionally, this “Gimme Shelter” Tank Top ($10) from GoodGirlGidget caught our interest, and we’re pleased to see that Hotline Ink sells a t-shirt version ($25) of that Mayan Laser Caturday tote bag that we mentioned earlier.
For horse lovers, check out this “Hold Your Horses” tee ($25) from Parts & Labour. And finally, there’s always this stoned cat T-shirt ($20) from Stark Raving Cat — looks like kitty’s had a little too much catnip. Heh.
A spontaneous trip to Blue Cat Cafe
Perhaps your Austin pet lover can’t adopt a pet at this point in their lives. That doesn’t mean you can’t surround them with animals to make their pet limbo waiting period a little easier on them — so take them out to Blue Cat Cafe, a magical place where one can sit and sip coffee while working or studying surrounded by cats. Buy them a vegan meal or a mocha and stay awhile. They’ll be in heaven, trust us!
A custom pet painting or caricature
Like loving parents, most Austin pet lovers will enjoy adorning their home or office with a classy, artistic depiction of their beloved canine or feline companion. A bunch of local ATX artists will create custom pet portraits when commissioned and provided with an original photo of the pet to be painted.
Julie Ahmad dominates the abstract pet portrait market, in our opinion, while Erika Eriksdotter‘s custom acrylic paintings are so detailed they might as well be ultra high end drawings. Svetlana Novikova‘s and Erica Orr‘s vibrant acrylic portraits are absolutely top notch and we are seriously in love with these custom watercolor pet portraits by Susanna Patterson. So much yes!
Novikova also does live quick-draw pet caricatures ($100 per hour or $30 per drawing), so consider that too!
A professional pet portrait photoshoot
Imagine how happy your Austin pet lover would feel if they could decorate their home or make a coffee table album with professional photos of their beloved pet! Austin houses a ton of professional pet photographers, but we really like two in particular. Treat your loved one and their dog to an outdoor portrait shoot with Alex Hopes of Zilker Bark or book a studio or on-location session for any type of animal with Norah Levine.
If you’ve got a little extra cash, offer to buy them a print or two after the fact!
Animal wall art for their home
Coming from the perspective that animal lovers tend to adorn their homes with photos and artwork depicting their pets and favorite wild creatures, we’re thinking that your Austin pet lover would love one of the Crochet Taxidermy Animal Heads ($45-160) from local Etsy genius Nothing but a Pigeon. They’re freaking cute and what’s better is that you can customize the main color! If your friend is super crafty, buy them a DIY Crochet Kit ($30) so that they can make one of those adorable little goobers themselves.
As far as other types of wall art go, you’re probably not going to find anything more amazing than Starla Michelle’s gorgeous animal artwork. She sells original paintings, but if you choose this gift, you might want to consider purchasing your loved one a print to save a little money.
A donation to Austin Pets Alive!, Austin Animal Center, or Austin Zoo & Animal Sanctuary
Are you a gift giver who’d like to avoid buying things? Then we think you’re going to love this suggestion! Make a donation to an animal-welfare focused organization such as Austin Pets Alive!, Austin Animal Center, or Austin Zoo & Animal Sanctuary.
The many amazing volunteers and staff at Austin Pets Alive! and Austin Animal Center work really hard to maintain Austin’s No-Kill status and they’re always looking for financial help to continue saving animals’ lives. You can donate to Austin Pets Alive! here. As listed on APA’s Donation page, $25 will buy enough milk for one litter of kittens for one week, $50 vaccinates one litter of puppies, and $100 provides basic medical care (spaying/neutering, vaccines, etc.) for one critter. Meanwhile, AAC accepts monetary donations and items like gently-used pet bedding. You can find out all of the details here.
You could also donate generally to Austin Zoo & Animal Sanctuary, our local rescue zoo, on a one-time or monthly basis or specifically sponsor one or more of the animals here in their name. Then take them to the zoo to see the fox or monkey y’all helped. They’ll love knowing they made a difference in its life!
Christmas shopping can be stressful, but hopefully you’ve gathered some great ideas from this ultimate holiday gift guide for Austin pet lovers and feel stoked to get out there and buy your friend or family member something amazing this season. Good luck and happy holidays, Austin!
Featured photo: Flickr user H.L.I.T., CC licensed