Holiday season is always fun for the whole family, but we can have double the fun if we find a way to include our furry friends into this celebration ceremony. We've already talked about including pets on Thanksgiving celebrations, so let's also discuss how to spend Christmas with your dog.
The best way to spend Christmas with your dog is to not only pretend to have him around, but actually include your dog in the festivities. There are many ways to allow your dog to participate during Christmas' family time.
We can take our dogs on a road-trip with us to enjoy holiday activities with other pet parents and their dogs. Depending on your location, there are special holiday events in cities across the country that are designed especially for dog owners to enjoy with their canines. We can also bake some special Christmas dog treats for our pets, give them gifts and let them participate in Christmas traditions.
Below is my personal list of 7 ideas on how to spend Christmas with your dog. If you have any ideas to contribute, I'd love to hear them in the comments below!
7 Great Ideas on How to Spend Christmas with Your Dog
Events for Dog Parents and Their Dogs
Launch your Christmas holiday season with your dog at a dog-friendly event. Many of them will be donating proceeds to help homeless animals have a happier holiday.
For example, BringFido.com has lots of doggy events listings for holiday happenings taking place all over the world. They give event details and have links to pet-friendly hotels, many of which are offering discounts to people attending the event.
Here are some examples of past dog-friendly events pet parents have attended in the US this Christmas season:
- Paws In The City Weekend just took place in New York City, December 4th through the 6th. Admission was $45.00 to $75.00. Proceeds have benefited Yorkie 911 Rescue and Zani’s Furry Friends. The weekend started off with a Warm Up & Yappy Hour from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. on December 4th. The event continued throughout the weekend with contests, raffles and a dog and cat fashion show.
- The 6th Annual Holiday Pet Festival have taken place in Scottsdale, Arizona on December 5th from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission was free. There was a silent auction to benefit the Tranquility Trail Animal Sanctuary. Pet parents did some holiday shopping there and got low-cost vaccinations and micro-chips for their dogs.
- The City Paws: Doggie Detective Scavenger Hunt was taking place in Greenville, South Carolina on December 5th from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. The event took place on Main Street, starting at the fountain by Spill The Beans and ending at Roost.
- The Western Pennsylvania Humane Society was putting on a Holiday Market event on December 5th from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Admission was $65.00. There were pictures taken with Santa, baked doggy goods for sale and local artists have been there selling their creations.
For the events that are about to take place this Christmas season, make sure to take a look at BringFido's listings and don't miss some of the coolest parties for you and your pooch.
Pet parents who have been invited to spend Christmas with family or friends, but don’t want to be away from your dog over the holiday, should take their dogs with them. Just remember to ask your friends or family members in case they mind if you bring your dog. In my own experience, people will often understand the situation, and may actually enjoy having your dog around for the holiday.
If your friends or family members do not want your canine in their home, spend the night in a pet-friendly hotel. That way you will be away from your dog for only a few hours of celebration. For example, Motel 6, the Red Roof Inn and LaQuinta hotel are just a few of the many pet-friendly options. Make arrangements and reservations right away, though. They tend to fill up fast for the holidays.
Doggy Christmas Treats
Bake tasty Christmas treats with your dog, and for your dog (and yourself!) I'm sure I don't have to tell you that there are plenty of recipes for dog treats that can be found online.
Most of these dog treats recipes will be fun to make and decorate, and the taste-testing session will be one of your dog’s favorite holiday activities. Bake up extra batches of your pet's favorite doggy treats to give as Christmas gifts for doggy friends and family members.
DoggyDessertChef.com has a whole slew of dog treat recipes that are perfect for a Christmas baking session. My personal choice? I'd say try this minty dog treat recipe for dogs who like mint, as mine loved it.
Ingredients for the minty dog treat:
- 2 Cups fresh, chopped peppermint or spearmint leaves.
- 1 1/2 Cups of flour, either whole-wheat or all-purpose flour is fine.
- 1 egg
- 1/4 Cup of reduced-sodium chicken broth.
- 1/2 Cup carob chips. They must be carob, not chocolate. Chocolate is harmful to dogs.
- Mix the mint and flour together.
- Make a valley at the center of the mixture.
- Put the egg in the center and gradually mix it in.
- Add the chicken broth to form a slightly sticky dough.
- Seal it in plastic wrap or a zip-lock bag and chill the dough in the refrigerator for a minimum of one hour.
- Roll the chilled dough out to between 1/8- and 1/2-inch thick.
- Cut the dough into Christmas shapes with cookie cutters and bake them at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 3 to 5 minutes.
That's done! Your dog's cookies should be firm when properly baked. You can dip these minty dog cookies in melted carob chips and let them cool on wax paper. These Christmas doggy-treats need to be kept refrigerated if you decide to give them to your pooch later, too.
Doggy Christmas Meals
What could be more exciting for your Fido than if you were to include your dog in a special Christmas meal!
If you usually make a big breakfast for Christmas morning, why not go ahead and share some of it with your dog? Christmas is the perfect time to spoil your pooch. While feeding your dog table scraps every day is bad for him, a little dog-safe people food mixed in with his dog food for Christmas is not going to hurt him.
When bacon is on the breakfast menu, pour a Tablespoon or two of bacon grease over your dog’s breakfast kibble. Mix it in and let it cool while you eat then let your dog enjoy his Christmas morning treat while you clean up. A little egg can be mixed in, too, and a bite or two of toast or breakfast biscuit.
The evening meal can be shared with your canine in the same way. Mix a little meat and potatoes into your pet's evening kibble for a special Christmas dinner. Be careful not to share people food that contains ingredients that make dogs sick. Top off the meal with one of the homemade Christmas doggy treats.
Christmas is the perfect time to satisfy one of your long-time, dark desires. So go ahead and dress your dog for the occasion, because you know you want to!
The new holiday garb can be as simple as a red and green dog collar, if you don’t usually go in for dressing the dog. Get your dog well bathed, shampooed and clipped so he looks and smells his best for Christmas.
If you have a female dog, get her nails done for the day and dress her up in a holiday outfit. It all adds to the festive air for you, your dog and your guests if you are entertaining. Here are some articles on the subject specifically for this occasion:
- How to Dress Your Dog and Avoid Embarrassment
- Best Dog Costumes
- How to Select a Safe Halloween Costume for Your Dog
- DIY Dog Halloween Costumes
Christmas Meet and Greet
Have your dog greet guests at the door and welcome them in for the Christmas celebration. A warm, happy hello from a dog in a festive outfit will set the fun, holiday mood for guests right from the start. The guests will reward your dog with attention and pats on the head, which will help set the proper Christmas mood for the dog and the whole household.
For many pet parents, this can be an important beginning to a Christmas celebration that includes their pets. Having all of these strangers and unusual commotion in the house can often times be upsetting and confusing for the dog. Meeting and greeting each guest as they come into the home will help put your dog at ease.
Santa’s Little Helper
Begin your dog's Christmas training by asking him to bring you something and rewarding him with a dog treat when he brings it. Most dogs get the idea fairly quickly.
Start the training for this special Christmas gift-giving trick a week or two before Christmas. Keep practicing every day until he gets good at it and then continue to practice right up until the event. The guests will be impressed and he will love being included in the gift giving activities. Get him some gifts to open, too, but make him wait until after everyone has received their Christmas gifts.
Training for this trick is similar to any other dog training technique, so take a look at these quick-read articles on how to train your puppy fast and effectively:
- How to Train a Puppy in 3 Simple Steps
- 10 Psychological Tricks To Train Your Dog
- Confusion About Negative Reinforcement During Dog Training