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Published: Dec 11, 2012

With the holiday season in full swing, many people are busy searching for the best gifts for their loved ones. Because canine companions so often feel like members of the family, it's not uncommon for dog owners to purchase a little something to give their pets during the festivities. If you're stumped on what kind of present to offer your dog this holiday season, here are some tips.

Consult a professional
If you want to make sure that the present you give your dog will be both enjoyable and good for his health, then it's best to visit a pet health professional who can give you advice. A vet will be able to tell you what toys are beneficial for dogs and what sort of presents should be avoided altogether.

Treats and toys
Dog treats and chew toys are likely to be the biggest sellers for pet owners this season. If you're feeling crafty, you may want to consider cooking up a special treat for your pet at home. There are many recipes online, but make sure that none of the ingredients could set off allergies in dogs. Always ask a vet before baking snacks for your dog. If you choose to buy a bag of treats from the store, be sure to only give your dog one or two at a time to avoid the risk of obesity or bloat in dogs. For this same reason, don't give your dog any food intended for human consumption. You may also want to ask your vet about pet snacks that can help fight of dental disease in dogs if this is an issue for your canine companion.

A toy can be a great gift to give to your dog during the holidays, as long as the item was made with dogs in mind. Many pets love squeaky toys, while others will prefer ropes that can be used in a game of tug-of-war. Some toys double as puzzles, which can help stimulate your dog's brain - these can be useful for those who are working on puppy training and want to raise an intelligent dog.

Presenting the gift
Part of the fun of the holidays is ripping open gifts to see what's inside, but unfortunately wrapping up your dog's present can be dangerous. Do not use any ribbon or wrapping paper that the dog may be tempted to chew on or swallow. Instead, stuff the unwrapped gift into a stocking, or simply present it to your dog during your own time of celebration.