We all know that creating memories with your dog only makes life better so why not include your four-legged friend in your holiday festivities this season? After all, you are not alone, if you would rather hang with your pet than anyone else. In a recent poll of 2,000 dog owners more than half of those polled would rather skip out on human commitments specifically to get a bit of quality time with their furry friend so why not bring your pet along?
Celebrating the holidays with friends and family and celebrating the holiday seasons with your dog are not mutually exclusive. By using these top tips to incorporate your dog into your holiday plans you can create lasting memories that will only foster greater enjoyment of the Holiday season for the dogs and humans alike. Here are some of our top tips for celebrating the holidays with your dog.
1. Create a Holiday Dog Tradition
Your family may already have some cherished Holiday traditions or you may be ready to create your own traditions as you venture out on your own, why not make one of those Holiday traditions inclusive of your furry family member as well. Some ideas include:
- Annual Dog Themed Tree ornament. Create a new ornament that includes your dog each year such as a paw print salt dough cookie or picture ornament. Your ornament will create a special lasting memory and personalize your tree, not to mention create a fun tradition.
- Make an Advent Calendar for Your Dog. Advent calendars are a big hit in our house and an established tradition that can easily include your dog! Fill each day with a treat and you will have a very happy dog (Note may encourage dogs, like children with advent calendars, to wake up far earlier than normal in the month of December!)
- Holiday Baking. In our house Holiday baking starts early and is done often so that treats are ready for celebrations and there is a ready gift to give to friends and family. Why not add some dog treat recipes in as well and have a dog treat cookie exchange (Note, attempt to avoid mixing the baking projects, sugar is not good for dogs and other reasons.)
2. Include Your Dog in Holiday Themed Party Ideas
Having a White Elephant Party? There must be some way that a dog theme can be incorporated. After all, who needs more unusable trinkets? Up the ante and throw a dog themed White Elephant party instead. The same can go for any gift exchange since after all it is way more fun to shop for dogs!
3. Special Meals
Much of the holidays is organized around being very satiated. Your dog can easily be included in the fun and celebrated with a Holiday themed dish all his own. Specialty dog bakeries, like the Dog Barkery have fresh holiday treats available or you can prepare your own. Your dog would love a meal planned just for him but take heed Auntie’s Ambrosia Salad, high in sugar should be left for only the smallest of children at Holiday celebrations, not your dog.
4. Family Photo Shoot
Your family may be the type to reserve a day every season to wear matching outfits for the annual Holiday card picture or just use the Holidays to set an annual photo shoot, either way if you have not already made sure that your dog is included, now is the time. You may balk at dressing him in the matching outfit but having your dog included reflects his true status as a cherished family member. This new addition may require a bit more time to get the shot you want. Getting your dog to smile at the same time as Grandma and 40 other people may be a challenge.
5. Charitable Giving
A great way to celebrate the Holidays and the good fortune of finding your furry friend is to give. A fun Holiday tradition could be to make a donation in the name of your dog to a dog friendly charitable cause. This tradition is also everlasting and also a great way to remember a pet long after they are gone. There are several great pet charities and it is easy to find ones that reflect your passions and use funds wisely so that the causes they support benefit the most. Best Friends Animal Society is a very popular charity that is recommended by Charity Watch and Charity Navigator, both charity watchdog groups.
As we move through the Holiday season don’t forget to include your furry family member in the festivities. He may not be able to pass out gifts or contribute to the cooking but he sure can add to the festivities and definitely help with the clean up.
Further benefits include improved mood and reduced stress. With the Holidays and all of their demands adding stress to our lives our dogs have the scientifically supported ability to reduce stress and improve mood. There really is no reason why you would not include your dog in your Holiday celebrations.