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Top Christmas gifts for pet owners

(Image credit: PetCube)
Christmas gift guides

We're bringing you a tech-focused Christmas gift guide every day up to the big day itself, to help fuel your present buying inspiration.

Day 1: Apple fans | 2: Photographers | 3: Switch gamers | 4: Xbox gamers | 5: PS4 games | 6: Retro gamers | 7: PC gamers |  8: Lego fans | 9: Music lovers | 10: Mobile gamers | 11: Home cinema dreamers | 12: Home cooks | 13: Smart home starter kit | 14: Tech for kids |  15: Fitness fans | 16: Creatives | 17: Runners | 18: Commuters |  19: Pet owners | 20: Those who have everything

Has one of your loved ones got just the cutest little furry friend? Then they, and the little furballs themselves, should have something extra special to open this Holiday. If you're hunting for the best Christmas gifts for pet owners, then you're in the right place.

As we all know, a dog isn't just for Christmas. That's why we've included the best pet cameras, fitness trackers, and automated food dispensers to make sure your animal-lover's cat, dog, or guinea pig is as safe and healthy as they should be. We've also featured a pet ancestry gift option, if your giftee would be into that.

Of course, gifts for pets can get pretty expensive, so we've been sure to select the best-value pet present options, and at a range of different prices for all sort of animal companions. So, let's get started: here are the best Christmas gifts you can get for the animal lovers in your life this year.

Petcube Bites 2

(Image credit: PetCube)

Petcube Bites 2

The best pet camera you can buy

Reasons to buy
+Alexa built-in+Easy-to-use app+Treat dispenser works well
Reasons to avoid
-No free cloud storage

The Petcube Bites 2 is the ultimate pet camera for anyone who wants to interact with their furry friend, as well as keep an eye on them. It’s undoubtedly pricey, but its impressive spec list and smooth operation makes it an attractive proposition for any animal lover. 

With a sleek, modern design, the Petcube Bites 2 lets you watch your pet live in 1080p HD video, which you can be zoomed in on up to four times via the PetCube app. The built-in camera gives you a 160-degree view of your room.

You can either save videos and photos to your phone for free, or sign up to Petcube Care for the ability to watch up to 90 days of video history, all saved securely on the Cloud. Subscriptions start at $3.99 (around £3 / AU$5.80). 

Two-way audio is available via the app, so your pet can hear your voice via the PetCube’s built-in speaker, while a four-microphone array lets you hear everything your pup gets up to. 

Perhaps most exciting, is the addition of a treat dispenser that allows you to fling treats to your pet by swiping your finger in the app – you can control the amount of treats as well as the distance, making feeding a fun game for your pet (as well as yourself). If you want to stick to a regular feeding schedule, you can also set the PetCube Bites 2 to Autoplay mode. 

Read more: The best pet cameras

Whistle Go Explore

(Image credit: Whistle)

Whistle Go Explore

Like a Fitbit for your pup

Reasons to buy
+20-day battery life+IPX8 waterproof rating+Health monitoring
Reasons to avoid
-Pricey

The Whistle Go Explore is a location tracker that attaches to your pup's collar, giving you live information on where they are at all times. As well as giving you an overview of your dog's day, it also gives you information on your pooch's health, reporting on infrequent, occasional, elevated or severe scratching or licking. 

You can set activity goals for your dog based on its breed, age, and weight, and see how far your dog has travelled, as well as how many calories it's burned – great if your pup needs to shift a few pounds. 

If your pet leaves a designated safe area, you'll get a notification sent straight to your phone, so you can be reunited as soon as possible. 

The Whistle Go Explore comes with 20 days of battery life, and includes a night light that you can switch on and off remotely, so you can spot your dog when on an evening walk. 

The only downside? You do need to buy a subscription to get access to the live location tracking feature, which costs $9.95 per month – if you subscribe to a one-year plan this reduces to $7.95, while a two-year plan will cost you $6.95.

This product is only available in the US. UK customers – check out alternatives like the Vodafone V-Multi Tracker.

Petcube Play 2

(Image credit: Petcube)

Petcube Play 2

The best pet camera for cats

Reasons to buy
+Built-in laser toy+Compact design+Alexa integration
Reasons to avoid
-No treat-flinger

The Petcube Play 2 is a great solution for cat owners, as it comes with a built-in laser toy that you can control through the Petcube app – all you have to do is swipe your finger to control where the laser points, letting you play with your cat while you’re away from home. 

Worried you’ll forget to play with your kitty? You can set the laser to autoplay, while motion and sound sensors will alert you anytime your cat needs attention. 

While it’s smaller than the PetCube Bites 2, the PetCube Play 2 has all the same smart features, including 1080p HD video, a 160-degree view, two-way audio, and Alexa built-in. 

(Image credit: Embark)

Embark Dog DNA Test

Find your mutt's ancestors

Reasons to buy
+Hereditary disease screening+Canine relative finder
Reasons to avoid
-Results can vary-Not all breeds included

You many be wondering why anyone would want to do a DNA test on their dog, but there are actually a few benefits to learning about your pup's genetic history. 

If you have a rescue dog for example, you may be interested in learning what breed (or mixture of breeds) your furry friend is. As well as looking at over 250 dog breeds, the Embark Dog DNA test also alerts you to any hereditary diseases you should be looking out for – all from a single cheek swab. 

Best of all, Embark's relative finder allows you to search for dogs that match your own pup's DNA, potentially reuniting long-lost canine families. Aw. 

While this particular product is US-only, there are lots of other dog DNA tests out there – UK viewers should check out the Wisdom Panel 2.0 Dog DNA test.

tech gifts for pets - petnet smart feeder

(Image credit: PetNet)

Petnet Smart Feeder

Make your pet's meal times easier than ever

Reasons to buy
+Alerts when food is running low+Tracks calorie intake
Reasons to avoid
-Bit expensive

As lovely as furry friends are, remembering to feed them the same old kibble every day can be a chore. Your animal-loving friend will also have to make arrangements every time they want to go away, like draft in a neighbor, or put lots of food down in the hope their pet can be trusted (which rarely works in our experience).

Whatever the situation, the Smart Feeder from Petnet will make their lives an awful lot easier. Not only does it release food automatically based on a (custom or manually-inputted) schedule, it also creates an ideal feeding routine based on its own dietary assessments of the pet.

It's a bit expensive for what it does, perhaps, but it's an extremely useful bit of kit if the owner is unsure how much food is right, and if they're out the house a lot.

pet toy

(Image credit: Varram)

Varram Pet Fitness Robot

The perfect friend for lazy pets

Reasons to buy
+Treat dispenser+Can be scheduled +Android and Apple-compatible
Reasons to avoid
-Could scare smaller animals

Want to encourage your lazy pet to move a little more? This cute robotic toy plays with your pet by zooming around the room and rewards their interaction by dispensing treats – keeping them fit and staving off the loneliness when you're away. 

With an IPX4 waterproof rating, it can withstand a little slobber if your pet's a chewer, and a protective case should keep it intact from even the most enthusiastic players. 

You can either play manually or schedule the robot to interact with your pet at specific times, even regulating how many treats it dispenses. Sixteen preset motions and obstacle-avoidance technology means the Varram Pet Fitness Robot should keep your dog or cat on its toes (without crashing into your walls). 

Olivia Tambini

Olivia is TechRadar's Audio & Music Editor, covering everything from headphones to smart speakers. Based in TechRadar's London offices, she previously worked in the music industry for a few years before finding her calling in journalism. In her spare time Olivia loves playing retro video games, hanging with her cat Ethel and golden retriever Dora, and bingeing on Netflix.