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6 Best Last-Minute Gifts for Dog Lovers

November 12, 2021

It happens to everyone — you thought you were done gift shopping, and then you realize you need something for the dog lover on your list. And you need it now. 

There’s no shortage of wonderful gifts out there for dog people, but most require you to go shopping or wait for shipping. Fortunately, thanks to trends like subscription boxes and e-gift cards, you can find thoughtful last-minute gifts that don’t look last-minute.

Whether you need the best Christmas gifts for dog owners or a great present for a birthday or gotcha day celebration, these will put a smile on any pet parent’s face.

1. Custom Pet Portrait

What could be better for a dog lover than a picture of their pet immortalized in original art?

Many artists now offer custom portraits of dogs. For example, Etsy seller PawArtNY will take a photo of any pet and turn it into a beautiful watercolor painting. It takes only minutes to order the gift certificate, which you can personalize with your name and the recipient’s. 

The seller will send you a link to a beautiful personalized e-certificate, which you can print out or send digitally to the recipient. They can then send up to three photos that the artist uses to create a custom watercolor representation.

When you purchase the gift card, you choose the size of the final painting and what’s included. Options include:

  • One, two, or three pets
  • Full body or head and upper chest only
  • Pet only or up to two humans included
  • 6″ x 9″, 9″ x 12″, or 12″ x 18″ size

The cost ranges from $55 for one pet to $200 for a pet and two humans. 

Other Etsy sellers that offer these unique dog gifts include Amesclack, Little Ginger Designs, and Dasha Design Studio. For more options, go to Etsy and search for “pet portrait voucher.”

2. Embark Dog DNA Test eGift Card

For the devoted pet parent, few things are more valuable than a better understanding of their dog. Loving owners know that the best care responds to a dog’s unique needs, from their genetic background to their personality and health profile. 

The Embark Dog DNA Test provides detailed and accurate information about a dog’s background, and with Embark’s e-gift card, it’s easy to give last-minute.

The Embark Vet eGift card is available in denominations ranging from $50 to $200 and can go toward any Embark Dog DNA Test. 

Embark Vet offers three types of DNA tests:

  • The Breed ID Kit, which identifies the dog’s background from more than 350 breeds
  • The Breed + Health Kit, which also identifies more than 210 health risks and 35+ physical traits
  • The Purebred Kit, which screens for health risks and can trace a dog’s ancestry back three generations

Wherever the dog comes from and whatever the pet parent’s dog health concerns are, there’s an Embark test that makes the perfect last-minute gift.

3. Dog Photography Gift Vouchers

A pet photography session combines an excellent experience with a tangible gift. The session is quality time set aside for pet parents and canine companions, and the owner gets a high-quality photo to take home as a memento.

Dog photography sessions are great for dogs and humans of all ages, including families. Pricing and availability vary by photographer and location.

There are pet photographers in most metropolitan areas. Google “dog photography” or “pet photography” plus the recipient’s location and browse the results. 

Short-list photographers who have high ratings. If you don’t see ratings or reviews for a photographer, check sites like Yelp or Google “best pet photographers in [recipient’s city].” 

Once you’ve chosen a photographer, find out how to purchase a gift card. This might involve contacting them directly and asking if they do vouchers. It’s worth the extra step to get the best possible experience for your dog lover.

4. Dognition Tests and Training Games

What dog lover doesn’t want to know more about how their canine companion thinks? Dognition is a fun, game-based assessment and training system that lets any pet parent learn more about what’s going on in a dog’s head.

It starts with a 20-game assessment that’s easy to do at home. The pet parent records and submits notes about how the dog responded. Dognition sends back a report that includes the dog’s Profile Type — a summary of how they approach and respond to life.

It’s easy to gift an assessment ($20) or a yearly subscription ($79). The subscription option includes monthly games and tips geared to the dog’s profile type.

5. Subscription Box

Dogs love new toys and treats, and pet parents love making their canine companions happy. That’s what makes dog subscription boxes such great last-minute gifts — dog happiness delivered directly to your friend’s door.

BarkBox tops most lists of the best subscription boxes available, and it’s easy to see why. Each month’s box includes at least two treat packages, two toys, and a chew, all chosen to suit that month’s fun theme.  Subscriptions start at just $23 a box.

BarkBox has multiple gift options, so it’s easy to give last-minute. Send one, three, six, or 12 months of boxes, or purchase a gift card. Each gift includes a personalized message for the four-legged recipient.

Other options include specialty dog boxes, such as:

If your favorite doesn’t have a specific “gift” option, you can always screenshot the confirmation and print or email it to the pet lover on your list.

Note: While enjoying the fun of a new box, remember to always supervise your pet when they are playing with a new toy, monitor for GI upset with new treats, and that anything that would hurt if smacked against your knee cap is too hard for them to chew (the “knee cap” rule)!

6. Dog Magazine Subscription

Magazine subscriptions are the gift that keeps on giving, and they’re easy to buy last minute. Just sign your friend up and send or print the confirmation (be sure to black out the price!). Some magazines even send special cards to buyers of gift subscriptions.

One of those magazines is Dogster, perhaps the best-known consumer dog periodical on the market. Gift a one-year or two-year subscription by filling out your friend’s or relative’s name and address for delivery. 

Other options include:

For even more ideas, search “best dog magazines” and find the perfect match for your favorite dog lover.

Want more great gift ideas for the pet people in your life? Check out Embark Vet’s other gift guides and find the perfect present today: