The holidays are here, and with it come cozy times with family and friends, delicious food, and of course, plenty of magical, wintery moments with our dogs.
From enjoying their own holiday feasts to unwrapping their own gifts, dogs can have just as much during their holidays as we can.
To help them have a safe and festive holiday, there are some important things to keep in mind when it comes to holiday travel, gift-giving, and yes, New Year’s Eve fireworks.
So, in honor of the great holiday gift we just received by being named the Best Walking Set by Oprah's O List, we’re sharing our top 10 holiday dog tips with you!
Whether it’s your first holiday season as a dog owner or you’ve already nicknamed your dog Santa Paws, we hope these tips will help you to have a happy, healthy holiday season with your pup.
Tip 1: Spoil Your Pup, Treat Yourself, And Save Dogs!
‘Tis the season for giving, and we are proud to partner with Rescue Paw Foundation for the inspiring work they’re doing in support of humane, no-kill shelters providing rescue, spay, and neuter services.
Now, you can support their work, help your pup look extra stylish, and indulge a bit yourself with their line of adorable dog-inspired jewelry.
From customizable dog tags to 14k gold pendant necklaces, this is the perfect place to do your holiday shopping – and to do good while you’re at it!
Tip 2: Avoid Airports If You Can
The holidays are all about spending time with friends, family, and loved ones. While that makes for some joyous, cross-country reunions, your pup might not be so excited.
Though your dog may love playing around the rest of your family, they likely won’t love the process of getting there. Air travel can be especially stressful, especially for short trips when they may spend as much time at the destination as they do getting there.
Depending on your dog’s tolerance, car travel can be a better option. This will give you the flexibility to stop regularly and take them out for walks and relief breaks.
If you’re not sure if your dog will be happy with the travel arrangements, it’s also perfectly okay to let them spend the holidays with a pet sitter or at a kennel.
Tip 3: Don’t Give Dogs As Gifts
In many ways, having a dog can feel like a daily gift. Their eagerness, their loving attitudes, and their companionship are treats we get to enjoy every day.
Though we may think of dogs as gifts, we firmly believe they shouldn’t be given as gifts. This is often seen with parents getting dogs for their children, or adult children getting them for their own parents.
While there’s no denying this comes from good intentions, the recipient may not be well-equipped or ready to handle the responsibility of a pet.
That’s why we agree with the ASPCA’s stance and recommend that pets only be given to those who have explicitly shared their interest in having one, because dogs are a 10+ year commitment.
Tip 4: Get Your Dog Holiday Party Ready
If you’re the host of this year’s holiday party or family gathering, you don’t have to worry about traveling. Still, there are some things to keep in mind to make sure the event goes as smoothly as possible for your pup.
Overall, try to keep their routine as close to normal as possible. That includes when you feed them, when you go out for walks, and when they go to the bathroom.
With new faces and big crowds, your dog will undoubtedly be excited. To keep them well-behaved, it’s also helpful to focus on exercise. To burn off any extra energy, go for a long walk or play session before the gathering.
(Then to get your pup fully holiday party ready, dress them in this Limited Edition Rockstar Embroidered Dog Walking Set!)
Tip 5: Wrapping Dogs Gifts
Letting your dog indulge in the holiday rituals is one of the joys of pet ownership. Still, there are some precautions you’ll want to take ahead of time, especially when it comes to wrapping their presents.
As a rule of thumb, avoid wrapping paper that is metallic or sparkly. As long as it’s plain paper, it will be fine for your dog.
Tip 6: Teaching Your Dog To Open Presents
Now that you’ve made sure to get dog-appropriate wrapping paper, it’s time for the fun part: having them open their presents!
In addition to being extremely cute, a new chewable gift will keep them busy while everyone else is opening their gifts.
To begin, place the gift in front of them. You can try tearing a little bit of paper to get them started. As they explore, encourage them. Soon, they’ll get the hang of it and they’ll have fun tearing apart the paper to uncover their brand new toy.
And if you’re looking for the just-right way to spoil your pup this holiday, take a look at our bundled dog walking sets!
Tip 7: Prepare Their Holiday Feast
We like to make a big fuss about the holiday meals we make for ourselves, so why not let our pets indulge, too?
If you’re already cooking, there are a number of foods you can share with your dog. That includes the lean part of turkey, chicken, and steamed vegetables.
Keep in mind that it’s best to mix these tasty treats into their food bowl away from the table. We’re not trying to have them develop any bad holiday begging habits!
Tip 8: Holiday Foods To Avoid
In addition to big feasts, the holidays are also a time for seasonal treats. Unfortunately for your dog, many of these treats are off-limits.
In addition to avoiding chocolate and cakes, be wary of the following foods:
- Bones - Small bones and cooked bones can cause blockages in their digestive system.
- Sauces and gravy - Fruit sauces (like cranberry) can be high in sugar while gravy can be quite fatty.
- Stuffing - Given that stuffing can contain onion and/or nuts, it should be avoided.
Tip 9: Dogs Deserve Vacations, Too
While it may be tough to think that our dogs could ever be happy without us, a dog-boarding kennel might be their best holiday option.
Given that these kennels often allow for extended play time with many other dogs, this is the non-stressful vacation your dog deserves.
Tip 10: Stay Home On New Year’s Eve
As the year comes to an end, the final holiday celebration is a sensitive one for our pups. While New Year’s Eve can be a fun finale filled with drinks and debauchery, the light and noise can be stressful for dogs.
As a rule, don’t take your dog to see fireworks. If you are in an area where fireworks will be going off, try and create a calm space for your dog. Pull the curtains to block out the lights and play some calming music.