With all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it’s easy to neglect quality time with your furry friend. Including your dog in your festivities can make them cherish this exceptional time with you even more, especially when their usual routines are disrupted. Whether you have a playful puppy or a calm senior dog, these Christmas celebration ideas will surely keep your canine companion involved, and more importantly, safe and joyful.
Creative ways to include your dog in Christmas festivities
From special treats to cozy winter walks, here are 10 ways you can make this holiday extra special for your pooch!
1. Organize a Christmas-themed photoshoot with your dog
Including your dog in your holiday photos can be a creative and fun way to make unforgettable memories. You could dress up your pup as a tiny reindeer or Santa’s little helper to add an extra festive flair. Or, perhaps, try out an ugly sweater theme. Just remember to keep an eye out for any potential overheating or the possibility of your dog chewing on any jingle bells.
If your pooch is not particularly fond of costumes, don’t worry. Whether they are snuggled in your lap or standing by your side, their presence will be enough to show they’re an integral part of your family.
2. Whip up some dog-friendly holiday treats
During the holidays, treat your dog with a special homemade snack they’ll love! Make dog-friendly cookies in fun shapes like Christmas trees or stars, and add some festive flair with colorful dog-safe sprinkles. You can also find pre-made mixes at the grocery store to simplify your baking process. However, ensure that any treats you offer your pet are safe to consume. Some ingredients such as chocolate and raisins can be hazardous for dogs. Also, ensure that any ingredients don’t contain xylitol or birch sugar, which is highly toxic and can even appear in some brands of peanut butter.
3. Watch Christmas movies featuring canine stars
After the Christmas celebrations wind down, there’s nothing quite like snuggling up in a cozy blanket with your beloved pooch and a warm cup of hot chocolate for a festive movie marathon. You could definitely go for holiday favorites like “Frosty,” “Rudolph,” or anything from the Hallmark channel, but we particularly suggest Christmas movies featuring canines. There are plenty to choose from, including “A Dog Named Christmas,” “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” “The 12 Dogs of Christmas,” and “The Dog Who Saved Christmas.” Plus, it’s hard to forget the fan favorite of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” Similarly, it’s hard not to love Max — the Grinch’s loyal canine companion!
4. Take your pup on a winter stroll to enjoy the seasonal decorations
Enjoy a neighborhood stroll with your pooch and soak in all the beautiful Christmas lights and decorations. This activity will be particularly exciting for younger dogs as they’ll have the opportunity to discover something new. Don’t forget to capture these moments by stopping for some photographs while you explore. You can even carry a small stuffed reindeer for those adorable puppy selfies!
5. Dress your dog up in festive costumes
We all enjoy dressing up in festive attire for the holidays, and it would be unfair not to include your dog in the fun. There is an extensive collection of delightful costumes and bright, merry collars for your furry companion to spruce up the atmosphere. While it is fun to dress your pet in cute outfits, ensure not to make him or her wear anything uncomfortable. Always check the fit to make sure the delightful do isn’t compromising circulation. Moreover, be mindful of any potential choking parts if your pup has a destructive tendency to chew up their attire.
6. Bring them along with you for coffee
Are you out shopping until you drop? Busy running from holiday party to school play to tree lighting celebration? Need a little Java boost to make it through your super busy holiday schedule?
Taking your pooch for breakfast or a coffee run can be a fun activity during the festive season. Not only that but it’s also guaranteed to put a smile on the faces of other customers. Interestingly, quite a few cafés welcome dogs and some even have special “puppacino” menus or offer “pup cups” for free! Try running a Google search to find the best dog-friendly cafés in your vicinity.
7. Ensure dogs burn some Christmas calories with you
It’s important to make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise on Christmas Day and throughout the entire holiday season, as it helps them remain calm and at ease. They are fond of activities such as walking or playing fetch, so consider giving your pet a good run to exhaust them before any visitors arrive. This tactic will help avoid over-excitement while greeting your guests.
And remember to go for an extra family walk on Boxing Day. It’s an excellent way to burn off the indulgences from Christmas Day.
8. Arrange a playdate with other dogs to share the holiday spirit
Host a holiday playdate for your canine and bring together furry friends for shared festive activities. In this way, your dog can socialize, exercise, and enjoy Christmas-themed toys in a safe and welcoming setting. You can even add a touch of cheer with pet-friendly treats. This not only enhances your pup’s social experiences but also fosters a sense of community among pet owners.
9. Put on some holiday tunes
Music is an important part of the Christmas season, and including your dog in this tradition can be a cheerful experience. Why not play some festive tunes that your pup likes? However, ensure that the volume isn’t too high as it could overwhelm them. Keep in mind, when playing music for your best pal, it doesn’t have to be loud; just opt for fun and upbeat songs that can lift everyone’s spirits during the holiday season! Perhaps you even have a dog who likes to sing along — like a Siberian Husky.
10. Make a Christmas donation in your dog’s name
Not everyone is fortunate to be at home during the holidays. Animal shelters often see an increase in the number of homeless pets during the winter and holiday seasons. By making a donation to your local pet rescue, you can help them continue their vital work. You could also add a personal touch to your donation by dedicating it in the name of your canine companion.
Alternatively, if circumstances allow, consider providing a temporary home for a shelter pet this Christmas. Not only would this reduce the number of dogs in kennels over the holidays, but it would also provide them with the warmth and coziness of a loving home. Now, that’s a great gift!
Sharing the Christmas spirit with your dog
Including your dog in Christmas festivities not only deepens your bond but also provides both of you with unique entertainment. Whether you choose to bake dog-friendly treats, dress them up in festive attire, or simply spend quality time with them watching holiday movies, it is sure to create memorable moments. By implementing some of these fun ideas, your pooch can have just as much holiday spirit and joy as any human member of the family. Remember, safety comes first, so always choose the ideas and items suitable for your dog’s breed, age, and preference.