Happy holidays, Baltimore!

If, like me, you’re obsessed with your dog — or you know someone who is obsessed with their pet — this is the gift guide for you.

My wife and I rescued our dog Haze in late 2020 and have been looking for ways to pamper and spoil him ever since, so most of this gift guide comes from direct experience.

If you need a gift for the four-legged friend in your life, or for that animal’s owner, look no further.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Utz Cheese Balls barrel toy
(Courtesy photo)

Themed toy from Route One Apparel

It’s no secret that Marylanders love Maryland. Did you know that canine Marylanders also love Maryland? It’s true, I promise.

Route One Apparel is well known for slapping the Maryland flag on all sorts of clothing items and boosting state pride. But the company also licenses and partners with other local brands, ultimately resulting in cute, Maryland-themed dog toys. My personal favorite, the Utz Crab Chip dog toy, is sold out, but you can get on a list to receive an email when it’s back in stock.

Dog toys that are in stock include an Utz Cheese Ball Barrel toy ($10) and a Black-Eyed Susan in a Maryland-flag pot (also $10).

Maryland Dog Company
(Courtesy photo)

A custom pillow from The Maryland Dog Company

This Frederick-based Etsy shop sells precious pillows hat feature dog silhouettes that would make a cute addition to any couch. And some, of course, come with kitschy sayings such as “I like big mutts and I cannot lie” ($25).

Or if, like me, you have a dog or cat who loves to sit on the couch, the shop also offers a customizable pillow option that will proudly declare that spot as your critter’s territory (also $25).

The shop has some availability at local markets, a website and an Etsy store.

Pei and Threads collection
(Courtesy photo)

A bandana from Pei and Threads

Pei and Threads used to be based in Maryland, but have since relocated to Orlando, Florida. They’re still my go-to any time I want to get Haze a new bandana, though, and I get gifts for friends from here all the time.

Their bandanas come in dozens of designs and many of them are reversible, so you get two in one. Prices range from $16 to $26 per bandana, depending on the size.

The reversibility is, I think, the best part of these bandanas. The second best part is the buttons. Instead of worrying about keeping a bandana tied around your pup’s neck, each bandana is made with a set of buttons that clasp securely and snugly. In years of putting these on my dog, I’ve never had a button break of a bandana fall apart.

The kitten bed from Howl in Hampden
(Courtesy photo)

Something from Howl’s kitten collection

Let me be clear: I do not endorse getting someone a surprise pet as a gift for any holiday. It’s a bad idea, and can lead to disappointment, neglected animals and overrun shelters.

But if there’s someone in your life who recently got a new furry friend, Howl in Hampden, an independent local pet shop, has collections dedicated to bringing home a puppy or a kitten. I’d personally suggest one of their tough ducky toys ($16.99) for a pup or a fluffy 18-inch pet bed ($31.49) for a new kitten.

Howl offers local delivery, in-store pickup and in-store shopping, but they do not ship orders.

The tote bag from Bark Social
(Courtesy photo)

A useful tote bag from bark social

Bark Social a members-only club for dogs with locations in Bethesda and Canton. Last year, I suggested purchasing a gift card so your dog-loving friend could get a membership, but this year, we’re going a bit more direct.

While it’s nothing like the gear required to travel with a family or a kid, traveling with a dog often involves bringing supplies — toys, treats, water bowls, poop bags — I could go on — and that means you need a way to schlepp all that gear around.

The tote bag from Bark Social ($12.99) is branded (but without being too obnoxious) and proclaims its owner as a lover of beer, dogs and coffee, so count me in. It’s printed locally in Baltimore and would make a great accessory to any doggy day trip.

Happy Dog boutique
(Courtesy photo)

Spoil a pet at Happy Dog in Fells Point

Happy Dog is a gorgeous pet boutique in Fells Point with toys, treats, supplements, home goods, people clothes and more. It’s a nice store to just spend time wandering around in.

But to really blow your pet-loving friend or family member away, I suggest getting a gift card. With that, the pet owner in your life can spoil their animal with grooming, a mud bath, acupuncture and more. Basic grooming starts at $60, but gets pricier based on breed, behavior, size and add-ons.

Happy Dog has an online shop, but to purchase an e-gift card, you’ll have to visit in-store or give them a call.

Haze, a pitbull mix rescued from BARCS
(Cody Boteler)

A donation in their name

As the proud dog dad of a mutt who came from a rescue, I’m always a proponent of donating to shelters and other animal rescue organizations. I’d bet the pet lover in your life is the same.

Here are a few local organizations to consider:

Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Center: BARCS operates Maryland’s largest animal shelter and pet adoption center in Cherry Hill. They’re open admission, which means no animal is turned away. I am biased — we got our dog at BARCS — but they’re truly a great shelter and provide services for adopted animals, too.

Maryland SPCA: Operating out of Hampden, the Maryland SPCA gets dogs into adopted homes and provides resources for owners every year. They also provide spay and neuter services for free for low-income pet owners and other veterinary services.

Baltimore Humane Society: Founded as the Humane Society of Baltimore County nearly 100 years ago, the Baltimore Humane Society has subsidized veterinary care, adoptable animals and a memorial park that provides a resting place for beloved furry friends. The nonprofit also has more than 300 acres of land that it preserves to protect wildlife.

Small Miracles Cat & Dog Rescue: In Ellicott City, Small Miracles is a no-kill shelter that has housed more than 12,000 cats and 7,000 dogs since it opened in 2006. They especially advocate for the rescue of abused, abandoned and homeless cats and dogs.

🎁 Looking for more gift ideas?

🎁 7 ideas for fun Baltimore gifts kids will want and enjoy

🎁 12 must-have gifts for your holiday list from The Baltimore Banner Staff

🎁 9 food and drink gifts with a Maryland touch

🎁 Check out the full 2023 Baltimore Banner Gift Guide


Cody Boteler is a reporter on The Banner’s Express Desk, reporting on breaking news, trending stories and interesting things in and around Baltimore. His work has appeared in The Baltimore Sun, USA TODAY, Baltimore magazine and others.

More From The Banner