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12 best advent calendars for dogs: Festive treats for your furry friends

What better way to count down to the arrival of Santa Paws than with one of these?

Emma Rossiter
Tuesday 19 October 2021 15:46
<p>We tested these with the help of our one-year-old labrador, Kolo</p>

We tested these with the help of our one-year-old labrador, Kolo

No matter how old you get, advent calendars are always exciting. And as we’re no longer limited to just chocolate options – with calendars containing everything from beauty products to wine making an appearance at some of our favourite retailers of late, the festive countdown just keeps getting better and better.

But while that’s all well and good for us humans, what about our furry, four-legged friends? Don’t they deserve a treat, or 24, too? We at IndyBest certainly think so, which is exactly why we’ve rounded up the best advent calendars for dogs to shop this year.

How we tested

With the help of our one-year-old labrador, Kolo, we spent a couple of months testing a range of different advent calendars for dogs. Some included pooch-friendly “chocolate” while others had more Christmas-themed treats and a few even included small toys.

If the contents was edible, we wanted to be sure the treats were still good for our pooch and could work within his balanced diet (honestly, he eats better than us). And if they weren’t, Kolo was more than happy to put the durability of his new toys to the test. While for us, we were hoping for a calendar that could potentially be personalised or, to help us reduce waste, be reused for many Christmases to come.

Whether you own a great dane or a golden doodle, a St. Bernard or a shih tzu, we’re paw-sitive that your pooch will love having one of these this December.

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The best dog advent calendars for 2021 are:

  • Best overall – Yappy Christmas wreath advent calendar: £24.99,
  • Best for sticking to routine – Lily’s Kitchen advent calendar for dogs: £10,
  • Best for toys and treats – Rosewood luxury treat and toy advent calendar: £12.24,
  • Best for big dogs – The Letteroom personalised refillable dog biscuit advent calendar: £24.95,
  • Best for meaty bites – Rosewood luxury deli advent calendar: £8.49,
  • Best year-round flavours – Scrumbles dog advent calendar: £6,
  • Best wooden calendar – Stag Design dog advent calendar treats dog bone Christmas wooden advent: £26.50,
  • Best for small dogs – Woodmansterne midnight watch dog advent calendar: £5.99,
  • Best Christmas Eve box – Webbox Christmas Eve gift box: £3.49,
  • Best traditional “chocolate” calendar – Rosewood advent calendar (dog safe choc treats): £2.99,
  • Best for calming ingredients – Pooch & Mutt Christmas advent calendar for dog: £7.99,
  • Best gift for dog lovers – Cewe fill your own advent calendar: £21.99,

Yappy “Christmas wreath” advent calendar

Best: Overall

Rating: 10/10

This calendar had everything we were looking for and more. First of all, it’s a sturdy wooden calendar that is 12in in diameter – neither too big nor too small. There’s space for 24 treats, and though they don’t come attached, Yappy supplies you with 24 duck and orange flavoured bones, all in an adorable burlap sack that says “from Santa paws”. All you have to do is simply attach them using the elastic bands supplied.

What we love most about this calendar is the attention to detail. Not only are there the numbers in the traditional jumble, but there’s also a space right in the middle for a personalised icon. Before checking, out simply search for your breed of dog and let Yappy do the rest. Your pooch’s face will then be surrounded by a stunning festive wreath. Plus, the red rope means you’ll be able to hang this up on full display. Yappy really has thought of everything with this calendar, and we love that we’ll be able to reuse and refill it each and every year.

Lily’s Kitchen advent calendar for dogs

Best: For sticking to routine

Rating: 8/10

When it comes to routine, dogs are better than most humans at sticking to one. They know what time to expect dinner or when it’s time for walkies. So, an advent calendar that works within their day-to-day routine is a really logical investment. Inside this offering from Lily’s Kitchen, you’ll find three different types of treats. First up are “rise and shines”, which are made with beef, liver, fresh carrots, blackstrap molasses and alfalfa – all of which are designed to keep your dog’s coat as shiny as a Christmas bauble. Next were the bone-shaped training treats that were ideal for popping in our pocket and using on walks.

And finally, there are bedtime biscuits and as they’re made with honey, yoghurt and chamomile, we found they were the perfect pre-sleep treat to help calm our excitable pooch. Plus, you get four of each treat behind each door (they are quite small) which was a nice bonus. From a design point of view this is a very pretty and traditional style calendar, and we particularly like the little drummer dog on the front. We also found the doors easy to open and liked that we could hang this up out of the way of prying paws.

Rosewood luxury treat and toy advent calendar

Best: For toys and treats

Rating: 8/10

Rosewood has tried to provide products that all pets will love, and this treat and toy-filled advent calendar was certainly a hit with our lab. Each day your pooch will be surprised with a different flavour treat – chicken, chicken and sweet potato, duck, or a chicken, cod and duck trio. Funnily enough there were no complaints from Kolo even if the treats were on the smaller side.

The best bit of this calendar though has to be day 24, when you’ll get to unbox a green rubber bone. It’s a good size toy and we think it’d be great for teething pups – although you should always be nearby when your dog is chewing anything. Design-wise, it’s not the best or the most eco-friendly, especially as the treats are individually wrapped in air-tight plastic. But this does give peace of mind as you can be sure that the treats are fresh.

The Letteroom personalised refillable dog biscuit advent calendar

Best: For big dogs

Rating: 9/10

Of all the calendars we tested, Kolo gravitated towards this one the most. It’s a wooden, bone-shaped, treat-filled calendar from The Letteroom and is seriously impressive. At 64cm long it was probably the biggest we tested and the treats on it are also a good size. The baked biscuits are made up of natural ingredients, like cereals and oats, and are the closest thing to a dog-safe chocolate biscuit. Plus, bang, slap in the middle is a giant bone ready to be chowed down on Christmas Eve.

We loved the size and liked that the bones came already attached. Plus, from a sustainable point of view, this was another one that we would be able to refill for years to come. As there’s also the option to add some personalisation – in the form of a smaller name tag – it would also make a lovely gift or additional decoration.

Rosewood luxury deli advent calendar

Best: For meaty bites

Rating: 7/10

You know we said our dog eats better than us? Well, with this meat-filled calendar from Rosewood, that doesn’t look like it’s about to change any time soon. Inside this 24-door calendar are four different flavoured treats – duck and orange glazed bits, lamb and rosemary strips, turkey and stuffing style meatballs, and chicken and carrot fingers. They were all a bit on the chewy side, but still were a huge hit with Kolo. He loved sinking his teeth into something a bit different and after a lot of biscuits and “chocolate” treats it was a welcome change of pace (at least, we certainly thought so).

Unfortunately, despite its great variety of treats, the design lets this calendar down. We just weren’t as excited by it and it didn’t scream Christmas to us. Even though the treats were individually wrapped for freshness, the excess plastic gave us pause (or should that be paws?) for thought. We think a smaller calendar, more eco-friendly materials and more festive pattern would better match the quality of treats inside.

Scrumbles dog advent calendar

Best: Year-round flavours

Rating: 8/10

Advent calendars are a great treat once a year, but that usually means the treats inside are only available annually too. However, Scrumbles has solved this issue and instead offers its festive treats year-round. So, if your pooch has a particular penchant for the treats in this festive countdown you won’t have to wait until next December to get your hands on them again.

Not only do we think this is great news for dog owners, but the treats in question are of course great for your pets. The calming nibbles aim to do what they say and are baked with ingredients like lemon balm and chamomile to help soothe your furry friend. The mini dental bones are sure to help your dog’s teeth sparkle and stay strong too, while the meaty pures are made with 100 per cent chicken to be kind to sensitive tummies. Scrumbles really has thought of everything when it comes to pleasing our pooch. But we were also really pleased with the simple, yet festive design, and loved that the packaging was also 100 per cent recyclable.

Stag Design dog advent calendar treats dog bone Christmas wooden advent

Best: Wooden calendar

Rating: 8/10

Etsy is always a great place to shop for bespoke items, and this calendar by Stag Design is a beautiful example. Handmade from oak, this wooden calendar is sturdy and strong. It comes with a personalisation for your pooch as standard – simply add to your order the initial you want engraved as well as a small message. We love those details, and that it’s carved into bone shape with two small paw-prints also engraved, just in case there was any confusion on who this calendar belongs to. The finished product is high-quality and something we know we can use again and again.

Unlike most other calendars we tested, it doesn’t come with treats included. This isn’t a massive issue however, as you can easily attach treats you already have at home with the included twine. There’s room for about 24 treats (23 small and one big) but we’d have liked to see some numbers also engraved on just to make it feel more like an advent.

Woodmansterne midnight watch dog advent calendar

Best: For small dogs

Rating: 7/10

Two things immediately struck us about this calendar: its size and its design. This was by far the smallest calendar that we sampled, and the treats inside – which look like faux chocolate buttons but are actually turkey, sweet potato and cranberry flavoured – certainly matched the exterior. The good news is that at least you get four behind each door – still compared to the size of other treats we sampled, it left our pooch, and us, wanting more.

However, if you own a smaller breed this could be just enough for them. And the design – a snow scene with five dogs looking up into the night sky at Santa – gave us all the festive feels. It’s a stunning drawing and it felt a shame to ruin it by poking at the doors. A gorgeous small calendar that will look pretty as a picture on your mantelpiece.

Webbox christmas eve gift box

Best: Christmas Eve box

Rating: 7/10

We’re cheating a little bit here because this technically isn’t an advent calendar. But in the last few years, Christmas Eve boxes for pets have soared in popularity. So, why not pop one under the tree for your pooch? Inside this box are turkey and cranberry flavoured chews and sticks. Kolo definitely enjoyed both of these and we liked that the back of the box includes a guide on how many of each treat your dog can have per day. But by far the best part of this box is the included toy rope – Kolo has not stopped playing with his since.

Our only niggle is that we would have liked to have been able to choose the contents of our dog’s Christmas Eve box. What you get is nice, but as the company stocks a huge range of toys and treats it would have been more fun to personalise it more. But for under £4 we can’t complain too much. You should be able to shop for these at Morrisons, Home Bargains and The Range soon.

Rosewood cupid & comet advent calendar (dogs safe choc treats)

Best: Traditional “chocolate” calendar

Rating: 6/10

Rosewood’s calendar certainly doesn’t look the most festive – its design is very simple compared to some we saw – but the treats inside reminded us of Kolo’s first Christmas. We’d wanted to give him a calendar that looked more traditional, and what better way to do that than with dog safe chocolate?

In fact, we actually found these chocolate treats really effective for teaching the command “leave”. We found if we broke the treat up into four and repeated the process every day, we had a better chance of getting him to understand what we meant. By Christmas Day he’d nailed it. That’s exactly why we think this calendar would be a good one for young pups as well as having a more traditional feel. We just wish it looked more Christmassy and the packaging was slightly higher quality. But for a dog’s first calendar it’ll certainly do.

Pooch & Mutt Christmas advent calendar for dog

Best: For calming ingredients

Rating: 7/10

Christmas is an exciting time for all of us. And with family and friends coming and going (hopefully) it can certainly be an overwhelming time for dogs. That’s why Pooch & Mutt has created an entire advent calendar dedicated to calming treats for dogs. The bone-shaped goodies all contain chamomile and valerian root – two of the best-known relaxation aids – and L-tryptophan, which helps create serotonin or “the happy hormone”. Again, you can expect to find three treats hiding behind each door, and there’s guidance on the back of the box on how many treats your dog should have a day. Pooch & Mutt do advise that this calendar is best for dogs older than 16 weeks though, so if you have a particularly young pup, you should probably look elsewhere.

While the brand has updated the design since we received our calendar, it’s certainly more on the simple side. Still, it’s what inside that counts here, and we definitely felt confident treating Kolo to the good inside these, especially to help him wind down for bed.

Cewe fill your own advent calendar

Best: Gift for dog-lovers

Rating: 9/10

One word came to mind when we opened this calendar by Cewe: wow. This calendar is big. In fact, we hadn’t expected this to be quite as large as it is (36cm × 48cm × 3.5cm) and when we first opened the box it struck us more like a canvas print than a calendar. That’s also partly because the picture quality is so high – and as we chose a relatively dark image, we were even more impressed. Speaking of which, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to the design. Not only do you pick the orientation of your calendar (landscape or portrait), but for £25.98 you can choose to add festive borders, text or multiple images.

The calendar’s contents are also strictly up to you. It arrives with an empty tray ready for you to fill with whatever treats your heart desires. If you plan on using this for your pooches, then we reckon there’s enough for a number of treats for multiple pets or if you plan on gifting this to a dog lover then the gaps are big enough for human treats too. There are 24 doors – and naturally the last day is the biggest of them all, so Christmas Eve is really something to look forward to. Yes, this might seem like a bit of a faff to have to put this together and quite pricey for something you’ll only use once, but we think it’ll make a great gift for a dog-owner or for your pooch – it just might look too good to open.

The verdict: Advent calendars for dogs

For an advent calendar that is functional, sustainable and able to be personalised, look no further than Yappy’s Christmas wreath calendar. It’s functional and even comes with the added bonus of a treat bag and we adore the festive design. It’s one we will be using every year for sure.

We also adore the fill your own advent calendar by Cewe and think it’ll make a lovely gift for a dog lover. Special mention goes to the Scrumbles advent calendar for having treats that are not only good for your pooch at Christmas, but are also available to buy all year round.

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Join your pooch in the festivities and treat yourself to one of the best chocolate advent calendars this year

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.