Best Advent Calendars for Dogs: Gift Guide 2021

This year, the pre-Christmas season of Advent begins on November 28 and ends on Christmas…

This year, the pre-Christmas season of Advent begins on November 28 and ends on Christmas Eve. I wish I could tell you the ritual purpose and meaning of Advent, but it’s been so many years since I’ve left Catholic school I truly cannot even surmise what this stretch of time is supposed to mean. I think there are some purple candles involved? Anyway! One thing I know for sure, thanks to the number of targeted ads I’ve been receiving, is that Advent comes with its own special calendar, which contains some sort of treat for each day. And no one deserves daily themed treats more than your four-legged friend, specifically your dog. (Cats don’t like the holiday season because they hate joy; I will not be taking questions at this time.)

I am very much a dog person and adopted a second dog during this second pandemic year and, while this is probably an insult to actual parents, these animals are like my children. After we got married, my husband and I agreed that although we are of different faiths, we would celebrate Christmas for the sake of our children so they wouldn’t feel left out, and this year is important, as it is my second dog’s first Christmas with the family. So yeah, I’m getting them both an Advent calendar, and every day as I hand them a treat, I will also remind them that Jesus was not divine and Santa isn’t real, in preparation for delivering the same lectures to any future human children I might have.

Choosing the right Advent calendar for your pup has only two criteria: Is the packaging cute and are the treats digestible? Here are some options!

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Screenshot: BarkBox

Full disclosure: I love the shit out of BarkBox. It has saved me so many trips to the local Petsmart for treats and the toys they send every month are really high quality. This year, they’ve got an Advent calendar that is Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer-themed, so it checks off the cuteness box. As for treats, BarkBox lets you customize the kinds included based on your dog’s dietary restrictions. One of my pups gets the shits if he eats anything with duck meat in it, and BarkBox has been very good with not sending any duck product. The only catch here is that if you want the calendar you have to subscribe to the service, so really think about how much your dog cares about toys before you make that purchase.

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Screenshot: Wufers

This is a great box for the minimalist paw-parent. The design is super clean, has a gentle color palette, and can blend in easily with any decorations that already live in the home. The treats contained within are a little on the meh side. The calendar is filled with nicely decorated cookies, but the cookies are made predominantly with wheat and different kinds of oats, which is not great for gluten-sensitive dogs, and, yes, that is a real thing. But if your pup is good with that, enjoy!

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Screenshot: Chewy

Doggies of all religious beliefs should be represented during the high commercialized holidays, so Chewy had the brilliant idea to sell a Channukah calendar with toys instead of treats in an effort to keep it all kosher. Who doesn’t love a good stuffed toy? This is super adorable, but maybe not the best bet if your pup is an aggressive chewer who might rip through the stuffing in a soft toy faster than the menorah oil burns.

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Screenshot: Williams Sonoma

This is for the high-class Upper East Side dog that needs luxury and excess. The calendar comes with two treats per day (although they’re heavy on the wheat) and has a very Christmas-in-upstate-New York aesthetic going on, which is perfect for the city pup that will probably never go to a real Christmas tree farm.

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Screenshot: Etsy

This calendar is not as busy as the other ones in terms of design, but it’s reusable and can be filled with whatever treats your dog already likes. I like this one in particular because it’s shaped like a tree and it’s nice to make the doggies feel special by giving them their own little tree. But if you want something a little more subtle that is still reusable, this is also a nice option with a lot of room to personalize for your space and style.