Christmas gifts that give back for animal lovers

Dec 19 2017, 8:59 pm

North Americans are expected to spend almost $4 billion on their pets this holiday season. That’s a lot of dog treats.

If you’re looking for the perfect Christmas present for the animal lover in your life, why not give a gift that gives back? Here are some of my favourite gifts for pets and animal lovers that also benefit shelters and animal organizations.

Happy shopping!

Dog & Crow

Vancouver designer Kate Horsman’s luxe line of dog accessories has won the hearts of pet owners across the city. Her collection includes unique and decadent pieces like an indigo hand tie-dyed dog bed with neon pink trim and bohemian-inspired leashes and collars adorned with beading and feathers. She’s also branched out into iPhone covers, temporary tattoos and food dishes. The sophisticated style of this longtime animal lover and stylist is evident in this collection, and the pieces are perfect for the posh pooch owners in your life. She’s now working on a collaboration with Free People.

Benefit: Partial proceeds of each item is donated to the BC SPCA.
Where to buy:

Mary Jane’s Classic Leash, $150. (Dog & Crow)

Mary Jane’s Classic Leash, $150. (Dog & Crow)

DOG for DOG products

DOG for DOG is a California-based holistic dog product company that operates on a “pay it forward” model. For every bag of all-natural food or treats sold, another is donated to an organization that helps animals. It also makes a great product called DOGBUTTER: An organic peanut butter specially made for dogs that’s easy to serve by the spoonful or on top of a favorite toy.

DOG for DOG got a big boost last year after Hollywood film producer Ryan Kavanaugh partnered with the company to boost its profile. Since then, Hollywood heavy-hitters Michael Buble, Snoop Dogg and comedian Chelsea Handler have signed on as investors. It’s also releasing a line of scented home candles next year.

Benefit: For every product sold, one is donated to shelters or animal charities. Last year the company donated more than 58,000 pounds of dog food.
Where to buy: Dog products sold at Canadian PetSmart stores, candles available in 2015.


Buggsly Apparel

Buggsly Black Label dog jackets are perfect for the dark and soggy Vancouver winters. Made from 100% recycled polyester with a middle membrane made from recycled water bottles, the new made-to-measure jacket collection was just launched at a weekend popup shop at Holt Renfrew. They’re 100% waterproof and all have reflective strips.

The company also makes handsome bow ties for your pup, crafted with recycled and vintage materials. You can get a matching one for the man in your life too. This Christmas it’s selling tree ornaments using its funky vintage bow tie fabrics. There’s also a Dapper Holidays promotion, where a $35 annual fee will get your dog a new bow tie every Christmas season.

Benefit: 100% of sales of its Christmas ornaments (4 packs for a suggested $20 donation) benefit the BC SPCA Vancouver chapter. 10% of sales on its website will be donated as well.
Where to buy: Online. Get free shipping if you sign up for its BuggClub.

Buggsly black tie jacket.

Buggsly Black Label dog jacket

Animal Hearted

Animal Hearted Apparel, sold exclusively online, produces a pop-culture inspired line of t-shirts, sweatshirts and tank tops catering to playful animal lovers. With messages like “Pugs not Drugs,” “The Beagles” — four beagles recreating The Beatles ‘Abbey Road’ cover — and “Barking Bad” — a dog version of Breaking Bad’s Walter White — we’re not talking especially highbrow gear here. But it’s funny and, frankly, your crazy cat and dog-loving friends and relatives will probably think so too. It also has a line of dog and cat-themed accessories, including keychains, mouse pads, tote bags, license plate covers and iPhone covers.

Benefit: 25% of proceeds go to no-kill animal shelters and rescue organizations.
Where to buy:

Dog-lover gear from Animal Hearted.

Dog-lover gear from Animal Hearted

I Helped Save

Friends Carmela Manno and Rebecca Shurvin started this adorable Etsy shop last spring, turning their love of crafting and passion for animals into a charitable powerhouse. Its holiday-themed squeaky toys shaped like penguins, snowmen and Christmas trees sell for just $9, or you can snag a three-pack for $26.

It also makes reversable dog bandanas that attach directly to your pup’s collar, as well as felt tree ornaments, and dog stockings to hang from the fireplace.

Benefit: 100% of shop proceeds fund rescue organizations who adopt animals from high-kill shelters and give them a home.
Where to buy: Etsy. There’s also an option to pick up the items in person.

Hand-sewn Christmas-themed dog toys from I Helped Save (ETSY).

Hand-sewn Christmas-themed dog toys from I Helped Save (ETSY)


This delivery service is truly the gifts that keeps on giving for the special dogs in your life. For $19 a month, this subscription service delivers a box packed with treats and toys to your doorstep every month.There’s also a MeowBox for cats. All of the treats are made in the U.S. and Canada and the unique toys are ones you won’t find in the big-box pet stores. A great feature of BarkBox is you can customize the monthly delivery to your dog’s size, meaning your teacup Yorkie won’t end up with a bully stick the size of its head.

Benefit: 10% of revenue goes towards supporting local rescue groups.
Where to buy: Online. Vancity Buzz readers get a 10% discount on any BarkBox plan by using this link.

Toby Little Dude poses with his Barkbox haul. (

Toby Little Dude poses with his Barkbox haul.

Tags for Hope

These personalized pet tags that mimic a mini driver’s licence sell for $20, and help keep your pet safe. The tags can be customized with your contact information and pet’s photo in three easy steps on its website. You can also include vital information like your pet’s medical issues or veterinarian’s name and phone number that will come in handy if your pet is ever lost. The tags are waterproof, mud-proof, snow and freeze-proof and can easily withstand countless hours of rough playing. They come in two sizes: one that fits cats and small dogs, and one designed for larger canines. They cost $20.

Benefit: Every tag purchased provides an animal in need with food, treatment and shelter.
Where to buy:

The Tags for Hope tag for my terrier Murphy Brown.

The Tags for Hope tag for my terrier Murphy Brown

Pointer Brothers calendar

With 141,000 Instagram followers and counting, German Shorthair Pointer dog brothers (and rescues!) Gus and Trav are arguably the city’s best-known pups. Their dog mum, Stephanie McCombie, has put together a beautiful 2015 calendar featuring her photography of the Pointer Brothers having adventures in the City of Glass. Watch them frolic in the city’s most beautiful places. She’s also has just collaborated with Pawwprints to create a holiday-inspired greeting card with the boys wearing their Christmas sweaters.

Benefit: Partial proceeds to GSP Rescue
Where to buy: Cards available on Etsy, calendar for sale online.

An image from the Pointer Brothers calendar.

An image from the Pointer Brothers calendar


Watch now: Vancity Buzz columnist Darcy Wintonyk was on CTV Morning Live showing off all these must-have pet presents for the holiday season.

Vancity Buzz columnist Darcy Wintonyk appears on CTV Morning Live on Dec. 3, 2014.

Vancity Buzz columnist Darcy Wintonyk appears on CTV Morning Live on Dec. 3, 2014.

DH Vancouver StaffDH Vancouver Staff

+ News