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Christmas celebrations should include every member of the family, even the furry ones. Including your dog in your Christmas celebration will make it more enjoyable for you, your dog and your guests, as long as it is done properly. If we can think ahead and plan, then we can have the holiday celebration will be fun for the whole family.

RELATED: 17 Best Christmas Gift Ideas for Dogs That’ll Surprise Them

How to Include Your Dog in Christmas Celebration

There are a few ways pet parents can include their dogs in their Christmas celebrations and ensure a good time for the whole family. Here are a few ideas that will hopefully get your creative brain going. Have any more tips on how to spend Christmas with dogs? Share those in the comments below!

Christmas Dog Treats

Provide special Christmas treats for your furry family member. The dog isn’t going to care if the treat is red and green or shaped like a candy cane but he will notice if it is a treat he does not ordinarily get.

There are a lot of regular great dog treats available online and in pet stores. Special doggy Christmas cookies can be bought at the pet store and through online pet supply retailers. They are shaped and decorated for Christmas, which will make it more fun for you and the dog.

Tasty Homemade Doggy Cookies

Tasty Homemade Doggy Cookies

Bake special Christmas cookies for your dog when you make your own Christmas cookies. There are many dog cookie and treat recipes. This can save some money and the treat will be that much more special for being baked with love by you.

RELATED: Last Minute Christmas DIY Gifts for Dog Lovers

Here is a holiday recipe for minty-carob Christmas cookies that your dog will love:

  • 2 Cups fresh, chopped mint leaves. Either peppermint or spearmint is good.
  • 1 1/2 Cups whole-wheat or all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 Cup chicken broth. Low-sodium is best.
  • 1/2 Cup carob chips *DO NOT USE CHOCOLATE* Chocolate is toxic to dogs. Carob is not.

Mix the finely-chopped mint and flour. Form a valley in the center of the flour/mint. Crack the egg and put it in the center of the valley. Use a fork to gradually mix the flour/mint into the egg.

Pour the chicken broth over the flour/mint and mix it up to form a sticky dough. Put the sticky dough into a zip-lock bag or seal it in plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

Roll the dough out with a rolling pin to a thickness of 1/8- to 1/2-inch. Use your Christmas cookie cutters to cut the dough into fun Christmas shapes. Bake at 350 degrees for 3 to 5 minutes or until the cookies are firm. Let the cookies cool while you melt the carob chips in the microwave or on the stove in a double boiler.

Dip one edge of each cookie in the melted carob and set the cookies on some wax paper until the carob sets. Store the cookies in the refrigerator. These treats are fun, different and will help freshen your dog’s breath.

Want more ideas for a great doggy Christmas? Check these posts:

Freshening Up Your Pooch

Give your dog a bath the day before the Christmas celebration so he is fresh and clean for the holiday. Take him to a groomer, if you prefer, and have him cleaned and tidied up while you are out finishing some last-minute shopping. Get him a haircut, if he needs one, and be sure to have his nails clipped.

Good pet groomers know how to make it to be a pleasant day for the groomed dog. A professional dog groomer will give your pooch a perfect haircut with their professional dog grooming equipment, and ensure your Fido is ready for the Christmas celebration.

A little nail polish on female dogs can be fun and festive, even if you do not usually go for that sort of thing. Red or green or red and green can be used to add some Christmas flair. If you decide to paint your dog’s nail yourself, use only dog-safe nail polish. Do not use nail polish for people on your dog.

Dress Up Your Dog for the Occasion

Dog Christmas Costume to Dress Up Your Pet

Indulge in some Christmas doggy couture, even if you don’t usually like to dress your dog. It can be as minimal as a festive red and green collar or as extravagant as an entire outfit, complete with antlers or a Santa hat. You can also look around for some of the best dog costumes and prepare your dog to meet Christmas in a proper attire.

The dog won’t really understand the holiday connection but it will add an air of festivity that your dog will pick up on. Your guests will appreciate how cute he looks and give him extra attention, which your dog will definitely notice. Make sure the outfit is the right size and does not restrict the dog’s movements in any way.

RELATED: Best Dog Booties for Snow to Keep Your Dog Safe in Winter

If the new Christmas festive-ware is uncomfortable, the dog will be uncomfortable, no matter how cute he looks. Make sure he can go potty without making a mess of his outfit or take it off for him to go do his business.

Allow Your Dog to Help Out

Let your furry family member “deliver” the gifts, if he can do it without mangling them. Lots of dogs will carry a package to someone and be thrilled with the rewarding pats on the head and “aw, how cute” coming from other people.

If your furry friend is not good at bringing things to you, or giving them to you when he gets there, do a little training for a week or two before Christmas. Most dogs get the idea fairly quickly when given a tasty morsel after they get to you with the “package.” It can be a cute, fun trick that everyone will enjoy, especially if your dog is dressed like an elf.

For a little added behavior reinforcement, have the recipients give the dog a treat after the gift is delivered. This will add to the dog’s enjoyment of his job and will make it more likely that he will deliver the gift since, the intended recipient is holding one of his favorite treats.

Give Them Awesome Doggy Gifts

Dog Christmas Gifts for Your Pet

Get your dog some fun gifts to open along with you and everyone else at the Christmas celebration. Interactive dog toys are fun for everyone. The dog can get some help figuring out how to get the treats from the toy then show off what he has learned. Dog chew toys and treat-dispensing dog toys can give the dog something new and fun to do in a separate area of the house while his humans sit down to dinner.

This keeps the dog happy and prevents eating from the table or begging from guests who are trying to enjoy their holiday meal. Wait until the last minute to get the dog’s gifts out if they contain anything edible. Otherwise, it will not stay wrapped and under the tree for long. If you are going to let him deliver gifts, wait until he has done his “job” then get his gifts out and deliver them to him.

Have him sit away from the tree, hand him his gifts and tell him it is okay to open them. Do not let him grab the gifts from under the tree and rip the paper off. This will only start a bad habit that could become a real problem for many Christmases to come.

Limiting Doggy Treats

Ask guests not to share their food with the dog. A bite of a cookie or hors d’oeuvre may seem harmless enough but it inevitably turns into lots of bites that could make the dog sick.

RELATED: Best Christmas Deals on Dog Supplies This December

Depending on what is being served, just a bite or two can be very harmful. For example, hors d’oeuvres and cookies with raisins or onions can be deadly. If there is any chance of your dog getting a nibble or two of your guest’s food, do not make food that contains ingredients that are toxic for dogs.

Put special dog Christmas treats in a clearly-marked canister or on a doggie dish that your guests can access and ask them to feed the dog only from that container.

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Reannan Raine
Reannan has enjoyed the companionship of dogs her whole life. She bred, raised and showed cocker spaniels for a while but has owned a variety of different types of dogs, ranging from bulldogs to mutts. She worked in the private sector for 30 years. Now she devotes her time to writing and sharing knowledge about dog ownership and care.