Cooper and Fred english cocker spaniels / Perfect cocker spaniel book and blog / cocker spaniel tips, advice, diet, puppy tips, cocker spaniel grooming, how to hand-strip cocker spaniel / (C) Natalia Ashton

Best Christmas presents for your cocker spaniel

If you have ever lived with a cocker, you know they are a very special kind of dogs. The pups do appreciate a touch of quality in everything they are surrounded with. And let’s admit, anything of a great quality is the sure way to put a smile on an often moody face of a cocker spaniel.

Today’s post is all about them! Our beautiful, wonderful, funny, adorable, irresistible, huggable and goofy little guys. And of course, the best gifts we could get for them this Christmas.

My guide is more of a curated boutique’y kind, but it’s only because these gifts are the best of the best – and it takes a lot of time, trial and error to discover them. Hope you’ll find something for your spaniel here.

There are hardly any cocker spaniels who would not appreciate a beautiful tennis ball – or any ball, but tennis ones are the ultimate. These balls from Barc London will please both the pooch and the human who, like me, think that a hint of a classic fluorescent yellow in the interior feels like a painful shot to the brain.

Choose among 5 beautiful shades or get the rainbow! Christmas only happens once a year.

Barc London dog tennis ball toy / best christmas presents for english cocker spaniels gift guide / perfect cocker spaniel blog (C) Natalia Ashton

Toys are a special story in our house, too. We went through so many, especially during the teething times. Then I shut down my inner Scrooge and bought a “ducky” from Fluff & Tuff. It was a gift for Fred’s first birthday. Fred is now two and the toy, even through it’s been living an outdoorsy life, is still in one piece and looks very “fluff and tuff”, too. They aren’t cheap, but they really are the best and safest soft toys for your cocker whatever the age. Make a good cushion, too.

Fluff & Tuff indestructible soft plush dog toy / best christmas presents for english cocker spaniels gift guide / perfect cocker spaniel blog (C) Natalia Ashton

Cockers love to sniff and exercise their brain, so they will appreciate a puzzle game from Nina Ottosson or a food dispensing toy.

Molly & Stitch tan leather Butter collar / best christmas presents for english cocker spaniels gift guide / perfect cocker spaniel blog (C) Natalia Ashton

New year – new collar! I’ve got these two because the tan colour should suit most coat colours. The “Butter” collar in cognac is from Austria-based Molly&Stitch and the “Gerard” is made in England for Maison le Lou.

Maison Le Lou Gerard Tan leather collar / best christmas presents for english cocker spaniels gift guide / perfect cocker spaniel blog (C) Natalia Ashton

If you are after a very special gift, give your cocker a new bed to relax after a good run. Our favourites are made by MiaCara and Hunter. Perfect for any dog without compromising on style.

Cooper relaxing in his MiaCara dog bed / best christmas presents for english cocker spaniel gift guide / Perfect cocker spaniel dog blog (c) Natalia Ashton

If you feel that your cocker may need something extra warm, give him a baby blanket made of natural wool or cotton. The natural fibres will adjust to the body temperature and be kind to the coat unlike any static polyester or fleece. I’ve got these Tartan Blanket & Co baby blankets when my boys were puppies and am currently admiring the striking one by Lillemor.

Pure wool puppy blanket / best christmas presents for english cocker spaniels gift guide / perfect cocker spaniel blog (C) Natalia Ashton

Any pampered spaniel will love the natural spa and grooming products from Dug & Bitch, the Scottish company that pups and I adore. We’ve been using and talking about their wonderful whimsical things for years and I was glad to see that now any dog parent can truly indulge their pup by getting the Ultimate Gift Set box.

Dug & Bitch natural organic grooming products for dogs and cocker spaniels / best christmas presents for english cocker spaniels gift guide / perfect cocker spaniel blog (C) Natalia Ashton

My boys have home-baked biscuits as a special treat, but if you want something ready to eat for your food-loving cocker or as a gift for one of his friends, Pooch&Mutt Christmas Dinner mini treats should hit the spot.

Pooch & Mutt christmas dinner dog treats / best christmas presents for english cocker spaniels gift guide / perfect cocker spaniel blog (C) Natalia Ashton

If you haven’t done so yet, don’t forget to check my Gift Guide for dog lovers that I shared earlier. Because you deserve a special treat, too.

And it’s worth to mention that this post has not been sponsored by any of the above mentioned companies and brands whatsoever.

Cooper, sable red cocker spaniel puppy 8 months old / best christmas presents for English cocker spaniels gift guide / Perfect cocker spaniel book and blog (C) Natalia Ashton

Photo credits: Cooper & Fred photographed by me, images c/o Barc London, Fluff & Tuff, Molly & Stitch, Maison Le Lou, Cooper photographed by me, The Tartan Blanket Co, Dug & Bitch by Fetch & Flash Photography, Pooch & Mutt,Cooper photographed by me

Best christmas presents for dog lovers gift guide / English cocker spaniel dog blog, advice, puppy tips, grooming / (C) Natalia Ashton

The ultimate Christmas gift ideas for dog lovers

Looking for a perfect Christmas gift to please the dog lover in your life? Then your search ends here. From whimsical to chic, I have picked the most beautiful, tactile and wonderful things that will make someone’s holiday season extra special.

Let’s start with the ultimate Christmas must-have. The most beautiful Dog Person jumper any dog mum will adore and wear with pride.

Best christmas presents for dog lovers gift guide / Boden estelle cashmere-blend Dog Person jumper / Perfect cocker spaniel / English cocker spaniel dog blog, advice, puppy tips, grooming / (C) Natalia AshtonIf you know somebody who loves Frenchies, this t-shirt will make them love you almost as much as they love their dogs! Oh, and it’s organic, so good for the body, mind and Planet.

Best christmas presents for dog lovers gift guide / French bulldog printed art organic-cotton t-shirt / Perfect cocker spaniel / English cocker spaniel dog blog, advice, puppy tips, grooming / (C) Natalia Ashton

Now, pyjamas! And not just pyjamas, but the dog printed pyjamas! Suddenly, that christmas morning feels even more cosy!

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I guess, socks aren’t particularly glamourous, but hear me out! First of all, they have dogs printed all over. Secondly, they are a daily necessity. And thirdly, if you or your special someone have a cocker, chances are he is a sock thief. To sum up – get these socks!

 

Best christmas presents for dog lovers gift guide / dog print socks / beneficial herbs for dogs health issues / home remedies for dogs / English cocker spaniel dog blog, advice, puppy tips, grooming / (C) Natalia Ashton

Any sock-equipped tootsies need some pretty bootsies. So if your dog lover is particularly found of country walks, these will be perfect for her!

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And don’t forget the gloves! Especially as charming as this pair!

 

Best christmas presents for dog lovers gift guide / hobbs dachshund gloves / beneficial herbs for dogs health issues / home remedies for dogs / English cocker spaniel dog blog, advice, puppy tips, grooming / (C) Natalia Ashton

Choose this charming Susan Caplan brooch to please an aficionado of all things vintage – and see her eyes sparkle brighter than the crystals.

Susan Caplan crystal vintage brooch / English cocker spaniel dog blog, advice, puppy tips, grooming / (C) Natalia Ashton

And something the pup’s dad! Especially if he is into crisp shirts and beautiful attire. Inject a bit of humour into impeccably tailored suiting by gifting him a pair of these Scotties Cufflinks.

Best christmas presents for dog lovers gift guide / paul smith scotties cufflinks / beneficial herbs for dogs health issues / home remedies for dogs / English cocker spaniel dog blog, advice, puppy tips, grooming / (C) Natalia Ashton

This minaudière crystal-embellished bag by the one and only Judith Leiber is a proof that “all best things come in small sizes”… The little chihuahua will not only replace any statement jewellery, but protect your precious Tom Ford lipstick and American Express during the party season. For the girl who has everything her heart desires… all but this little bag, of course.

Best christmas presents for dog lovers gift guide / minaudière crystal-embellished Mickey Chihuahua bag by Judith Leiber / Perfect cocker spaniel / English cocker spaniel dog blog, advice, puppy tips, grooming / (C) Natalia Ashton

If you are after a more sensible choice for a bag, the MCM bucket bag is the best to go for. The colour will suit most outfits and the practical shape means that it can be used daily from day to night.

MCM-dog-tan-duffle-shoulder-bag-perfect-best-christmas-presents-dog-lovers-gift-guide-perfect-cocker-spaniel

Charmwell the velvet pup will be responsible for your keys and smiles. So perfect.

charmwell-dog-key-ring-best-christmas-presents-dog-lovers-gift-guide-perfect-cocker-spaniel-blog

 

Pug is another pooch that will take care of your belongings, and the financial side of your life in particular, by storing every penny. Now any dog parent can save some cash and treat their beloved dog to something very special.

pug-money-box-best-christmas-gifts-for-dog-lovers-liberty-london-perfect-cocker-spaniel-blog

I love stationery, especially if it comes in a shape of a dog. If your special someone is into stylish office supplies, he or she will adore these dachshund paper clips, trust me on this. Also perfect for a Secret Santa.

Best christmas presents for dog lovers  gift guide /  dog daschhound paperclips / Perfect cocker spaniel / English cocker spaniel dog blog, advice, puppy tips, grooming / (C) Natalia Ashton

Complete the gift with the most elegant handmade dachshund notes by Connor&Thom Browne.

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This sweet tin isn’t just a darling stocking filler, but a perfectly prepared dog walking kit that includes a simple lead, folding water bowl, poop bags and a treat pouch.

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If you are after something tactile and timelessly beautiful that will add a certain something to the interior, Bobby, the walnut dog, is the one. I love him. And have been for years. Also, I think he is a spaniel.

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Candles make any house feel like home, so I simply had to include the iconic Bella Freud Dog candle – my list would not be complete without it. It’s not only extremely sweet to look at, but I am sure the flickering light and delicate scent will definitely bring a moment of sanity for any dog mum who has a crowd to cook and look after during the holidays.

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If your dog lover is into crafts, she will adore the idea of crocheting a gorgeous beagle toy! You can also get kits for a labrador puppy and a cocker spaniel.

Best christmas presents for dog lovers  gift guide / TOFT knitting crocheting kit for beagle, cocker spaniel and labrador / beneficial herbs for dogs health issues / home remedies for dogs / English cocker spaniel dog blog, advice, puppy tips, grooming / (C) Natalia Ashton

The nature lover who is particularly found of their garden will be pleased with the Growbar The Dog Bar kit, a seed collection of herbs beneficial for dogs. Now the love can literally grow stronger and stronger as the time goes by. Looks very pretty, too.

growbar-the-dog-bar-gardeners-seed-kit-perfect-presents-for-dog-lovers-gift-guide-perfect-cocker-spaniel-blog

Any house-proud dog lover with a keen sense of style will be pleased to receive Teckel dog that holds toothpicks, salt and pepper! Sweet and brilliant.

toothpick-salt-pepper-shaker-dog-shaped-gift-perfect-christmas-presents-dog-lovers-guide-perfect-cocker-spaniel-blog

And just one more thing for the house…. To keep it warm and toasty during winter. Trust this handsome hound to do the job! And he will definitely deliver! Such a dapper dog! Comes as a door stop, too.

dog-shaped-dachshund-draught-excluder-best-christmas-resents-for-dog-lovers-gift-guide

For the lovers of the printed word who is particularly fond of the English cockers, I’d suggest Flush, the immortal classic by Virginia Woolf…

flush-virginia-woolf-novel-best-presents-for-dog-cocker-spaniel-lovers-christmas-gift-guide

Perfect cocker spaniel, the ultimate guide to the breed and finding and raising an English cocker spaniel puppy by yours truly…

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…and Dogs in Vogue: A Century of Canine Chic by Judith Watt

dogs-in-vogue-judith-watt-ultimate-fashion-dog-photography-perfect-christmas-presents-for-dog-lovers-gift-guide-perfect-cocker-spaniel-blog

No list would be complete without a Christmas tree bauble. Because everyone should have a special decoration to make each year. Here I give you a wool felt Fox Terrier holding a mistletoe. This will bring all the hugs and kisses (and not only puppy ones!) you could wish for.

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Photo source: me & the boys photographed by Elizabeth Clarke of Pink Feet Photography

 

Perfect light grey minimal container for dog treats and dog food / Perfect cocker spaniel dog blog, puppy advice, tips, English cocker spaniel grooming, handstripping, diet, best foods, training, health / (C) Natalia Ashton

We Love | Pet Treat Holder

How long does it take to find a perfect tin for keeping dog biscuits? In my case, and as dramatic as it sounds, over a year.

I knew what I wanted colour-wise, shape-wise, style-wise, lots and lots of “wise”, basically. The problem is that such a tin has never been made.

Until now.

I have been browsing Cox & Cox today looking for a few Christmas-related bits and bobs and suddenly saw it.

The perfect Pet Treat Holder.

Minimal, subtle grey, compact and beautiful. To top it all up, it has the most perfect leather handle!

Seriously, it’s a miracle and I’ve got one on order now. So very much in love…

Oh, and in case you are after dog food storage, there is a large equally-stylish container for keeping your pooch kibble fresh and crunchy.

perfect-grey-minimal-container-for-dog-food-with-leather-handle-perfect-cocker-spaniel-blog

Photo source: both photos are from Cox & Cox website

 

Pack of Dogs playing card by John Littleboy for Antiphony / Perfect cocker spaniel blog / best products for dog lovers / English cocker spaniel love, advice, grooming, puppy tips, training, diet / (C) Natalia Ashton

We Love | Pack of Dogs

I spotted these on Twitter earlier today… After months of imagining and looking for a deck of cards that would be all about dogs yet look modern, not something that was painted for kids and metaphorically dipped in every kind of sweet substance to give you visual diabetes…

Oh, the Pack of Dogs, the most artful, whimsical deck, that appeared before my eyes was the dream come true!

Each card is a gorgeous little sketch created by an American artist John Littleboy. The sketches feature different breeds either as nature intended or all dressed up as historic characters from different eras and destinations.

I ordered mine from Etsy a few minutes ago. Not that I am good at pocker – or any card game except the Russian “Fool” (oh yes, I was good at this one as a kid!)… But I love any form of dog art and will probably end up framing some of the suits because they are way too good to be hidden in a drawer.

pack-of-dogs-playing-card-john-littleboy-dog-art-perfect-cocker-spaniel-2

Photo source: playing card via Artiphany

Best natural vegetable bees coconut soy wax scented candles that are dog-friendly / Perfect cocker spaniel blog / book about English cocker spaniels / puppy guide English cocker spaniel advice, tips, training, grooming, how to handstrip cocker spaniel / (C) Natalia Ashton

Scented candles and dogs | All you need to know

Autumn means a lot of things… Crisp walks, hot chocolate, cosy nights in, huge socks and chunky jumpers, and, oh yes, I haven’t forgotten… scented candles.

The beautiful hand-poured vessels aren’t just about the glow. The choice of designs turns them into l’objet d’art, an object of visual pleasure, and the scent transforms the entire experience into a seasonal memory. Without a doubt, candles are that touch of luxury most of us can afford without getting a second mortgage. I don’t know about you but for me bringing them home on a dark October evening feels like a special ritual. I set the box on a table, release a polished heavy glass from a beautiful packaging and whispering wrapping paper, inhale the aroma and get to dream a little. And then there is always the magical enticing light that has a life of its own, waltzing in the darkness for hours on end.

For years I had a scented candle at home. I bought them if I loved the fragrance, the look – or both. As the time went by, I completed my nutrition studies and watched the science behind paraffin and artificial substances emerge, my choice of candles shifted towards more natural options. Somehow I didn’t fancy clogging our lungs with cancer-causing particles.

And then… then I got my dogs. Which made me re-think the entire concept of a scented candle in my house. To be fair, it was a fluid and conscious transition because I made it a big deal to provide our boys with the most natural, often organic, non-toxic and dog-friendly options when it came to the house they live, products I use for grooming or the toys we have thrown all over the place. Candles were the easier part of the big swap.

This year I decided to look into the choice of candles in detail. Admittedly, I have already been very careful limiting my choice to very few and environmentally-friendly brands. Now I simply wanted to know exactly what a scented candle can do for our dog’s health – and share this information with you.

So let’s discuss…

First of all, the aroma. We think we are good at smelling scents, yet in comparison to dogs, our olfactory is absolutely pathetic. We have about 5 or 6 million receptors. Dogs, on the other hand, possess between 200 and 300 million! They are able to detect a 1/2 tsp of sugar in an Olympic-sized swimming pool or scent-iffically dissect any prepared meal into separate ingredients! And cockers, in particular, are one of the most gifted breeds when it comes to sniffing out anything and everything. Take my Fred, for example. The guy can tell if a person he loves walked through the village earlier, can happily lead us to the house of his favourite vet (he doesn’t actually know she lives there, nor ever saw her coming home or leaving the house  – he simply knows…), spot a pheasant miles away or run to a certain field because there was a bunny out there somewhere…

Now imagine how terrible it must be for our dogs to live in a house that, for them, stinks of perfumes and essential oils! They tolerate it, of course, but I cannot imagine any canine actually enjoying such fragrances…

Next, the oils themselves. Some of them can be, indeed, beneficial for our pups. But all essential oils contain limonen and linalool known to be allergic for some dogs – and toxic – for all of them. Of course, it is the matter of quantity and one would need to inhale or consume quite a bit of both to have a toxic reaction. However, if you notice that your dog’s behaviour, habits or appearance change when you start using scented candles, think twice about continuing…. or look for alternatives.

It is also vital, absolutely vital, to make sure that the candle is made with bees or organic vegetable wax, not paraffin. Technically, the paraffin wax isn’t considered to be toxic for dogs, but if consumed it can cause digestive problems and even lead to coma. But it’s a mineral oil, which to me, is as unnatural for our bodies as one can possibly imagine. Besides, it’s all about the end-product of burning petroleum waste-based wax.

According to the 2009 study, the burning candle pollutes the indoor air with “undesired chemicals, such as alkans, alkenes, toluene” and formaldehyde that have been linked to “cancer, common allergies and even asthma in humans”. These substances are not only poisonous to dogs, but, just like in humans, can lead to disease, inflammaiton, and affect the nervous system. The same study also concluded that “natural waxes did not produce such a harmful effect”.

If the label on your favourite candle does not specify “lead-free” then chances are, the wick was made with a metal lead core. The burning of the lead will release the toxic lead particles into the air above recommended safety levels, potentially leading to acute poisoning or slowly causing imbalance of essential minerals in the blood – and as a result, a change in behaviour and chronic illnesses.

Now imagine a cocktail of lead and the by-products of paraffin burning, and we get quite a concoction to deal with!

None of this does not mean that you must avoid the candles from now on. You can still enjoy them by following a few basic rules.

Skip anything containing paraffin, artificial fragrances or wicks that aren’t specified as “lead-free” on a label. Ironically, these aren’t only among the inexpensive ones – some high-end brands still happily pour paraffin into their expensive candles, so always check the label.

Choose the options made with vegetable waxes (coconut, apricot, soy or rapeseed) or bees wax, cotton wick and natural oils (be careful with citrus oils, they are more likely to be allergic for dogs). These scented candles will reward you with a real moment of pleasure and peace of mind. Simple!

Below are a few of my favourite. Just in case you need somewhere to start…

Best dog-friendly natural vegetable soy bees wax scented candles for all budgets / perfect cocker spaniel / dog blog and book / English cocker spaniel breed, history, training, puppy advice, tips (C)

Dogs Rhubarb & Ginger scented candle is made from vegetable wax poured into a re-usable glass container adorned with art work by Margaret Mace (1).

Art candle by Bella Freud is inspired by the artist’s studio. It will fill your home with the scents of cedar wood, lilac and musk and add a touch of whimsical creativity to the decor (2).

I love Voluspa so much, I’ll share two of my favourite candles. This one is from Maison Noir range. The description of scent that says “sparkling wine, vanilla and oak” is very plain compared to the sensation you get when the candle is lit. The scent is delicate yet completely envelops your entire home in a manner of an invisible soft blanket (3).

The Panjore Lychee candle will be enhancing your home with the fruity scents of lychee, pear and vanilla for 60 hours. And then you can re-use the tin to keep a few precious trinkets (4).

Bois Copaiba is one of the candles by Esteban Paris. It gets double-points from me because it’s not only natural, looks like a precious jewel and smells like the most luxurious perfume, but it’s refillable, too (5)!

The Nomad Society Smoke & Wood candle is the one I adore so much. It literally smells like the burning campfire and is the most enticing and season-appropriate scent for me. Have been buying them for several seasons now. Absolutely beautiful (6).

The Tuscan Suede by Azzi Glasser is an intimate fragrance story created with the scents of jasmine and violet. Perfect for the most wonderful magical night-in (7).

If you have everything you heart desires (or want to give me a present that will send me dancing all night long), it’s all about Fornasetti’s Regalo Gold, the one and only treasure to have and to hold (8).

If you have a favourite scented candle, please let me know. My search for them will never end.

Photo source: one of my favourites Christmas, both photo and collage are by me

 

You & Lou luxury designer woven straw dog basket beds / review first published on Perfect cocker spaniel blog (C)

We Love | You & Lou

As if my list of dog-related obsessions wasn’t long enough (Santa Claus, when you visit, please gift me a credit card!) I found yet another one. The perfect woven dog bed that would fit into our house like a missing piece of jigsaw.

These are made by a South African company called You & Lou who, beside making gorgeous beds, are clearly in love with cocker spaniels. Which makes them utterly perfect in every way.

Hope I can spoil my boys in a few months. Thankfully, no teething puppies in this house, so the princes will be enjoying the basket – and I will be basking in the glorious view from the comfort of my pathetic little chair.

Again, it’s not a sponsored post… The feeling of love for the bed and its look was too strong. I had to put it in writing…

Photo source: The Tuli bed by You & Lou

H2O4K9 portable water bottle to keep your dog hydrated on the go / must-have dog accessory for all cocker spaniel owners / review first published on Perfect cocker spaniel blog (C)

We Love | H2O4K9

Do you remember the time when getting ready for a walk required a rucksack full of bulky dog ammunition? Among all the poop bags, treats, tissues, combs, leads etc.etc.etc. there was always a plastic water bottle and some kind of drinking bowl.

The longer was the walk the heavier the load… Beside the weight it was always a bit messy because the bowl would eventually be used and become wet and dirty…

Honestly, I know I’ve perfected the British art of complaining by now, but I found the whole affair frustrating.

Then the H2O4K9 was released. And since that day there was not a walk when we wouldn’t carry the bottle with us.

Why I love it so much? Because it allows me to carry a plentiful water supply. It’s made from stainless steel, so much more hygienic & health-friendly than plastic. It’s reusable – unlike plastic. And the lid is shaped to be a drinking vessel completely taking away the need to carry any extra paraphernalia.

I noticed that there’s also a new option available now. It’s designed to keep the water cool for longer. It lasts for years.

The bottle comes in several sizes, I use the large one because my boys prefer the shape of the lid and I can carry enough water for both of them.

The only negative is that the coloured bottles can be scratched when you put the lid back on taking off the pretty painted finish. If you think it’s going to bother you, get the plain stainless steel version. It looks perfect after years and years of use.

This post hasn’t been sponsored or compensated. The bottle is one of my personal must-haves when it comes to dog products. All opinions are my own.