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How to include your dog in festive celebrations

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How to include your dog in festive celebrations

Christmas is a lot of people’s favourite time of the year and is full of family traditions and celebrations. However, sometimes our pets are forgotten about and not included in the events. It is often discussed how to keep your dog safe during the festive period, however, it’s less common to talk about how to get them into the holiday spirit themselves. Here is how to get your dog involved in festive celebrations.

Get them a festive outfit

Some dogs hate getting dressed up whilst others don’t seem to mind being put in a new outfit. You need to judge the situation on your own dog and their personality. Never dress them up if they are not happy about it. However, putting some antlers on your dog or having them in a fancy dress outfit can be a lot of fun. There are so many options to choose from.

If you don’t want to go for a full outfit or your dog won’t like it, why not try opting for a Christmas collar instead? Or you could even just buy them a new coat for their long Winter walks over Christmas.

Bake some festive treats

Many of us spend the build-up to Christmas in the kitchen baking mince pies, gingerbread, and more, so why should your dog miss out? It is really simple and quick to bake up some dog-friendly treats. You could even go the extra mile and cut them into festive shapes with cookie cutters. There are plenty of recipes online that are easy to follow.

Go on a Christmas walk

Whilst some families have it as part of their tradition to go for a walk on Christmas Day, others don’t and this can lead to their dog not getting enough exercise. Dogs must have as much routine in their Christmas Day like any other day. Although things will not be exactly the same, try and keep mealtimes consistent and also ensure they are getting their usual time of walking. Having a stroll on Christmas Day can feel magical and your dog will also love it.

Christmas Dinner

One of the best parts of Christmas Day is the food. Your dog can join in by eating their own dog-friendly version of a Christmas feast. They can often be bought at pet shops or made. Be careful when it comes to what you feed them. A lot of the food we associate with Christmas such as stuffing, mince pies, and chocolate are all toxic to dogs, so ensure the food is kept at a safe distance from them and ensure they have enough of their own food to enjoy.

Buy them a present

You don’t have to go over the top but a little present can be exciting for a dog. Whether it’s a new toy or some of their favourite treats, they will love them! Keep your dog’s presents separate from the rest of the families, particularly the ones with treats in. If your dog can smell them you may end up with torn or damaged presents.

Watch Christmas films

Many of us love curling up on the sofa and enjoy festive films, and your dog will love it too. Watching a film or Christmas telly on the day itself can provide a quiet and peaceful time of the day that your dog will appreciate. As pets don’t understand the concept of Christmas, they can often find the hectic pace of the celebrations too much to handle, so ensure you plan some quiet family time as well to help calm them down and give them some attention.

Also, consider setting up a den for your dog on Christmas Day. Having an area they can wander off to when the noise and chaos get too much can be a great idea. Have their bed, some fresh water, and their favourite blanket and toy so that they have a safe retreat to head to whenever they want.

Get a family photo

Whether you use the picture on a Christmas card, frame it, or simply upload it to social media, having a family Christmas picture with the whole family, including the dog, is a lovely keepsake to treasure for years to come. If you make it a tradition, you can also see how fast everyone has grown during the previous 12 months.

Christmas is not only a great time for humans, but it is also a great time for your dog as they get to spend more time with you, see you happy, and be surrounded by fun and excitement. Here are just a few ways you can ensure your dog is involved in the festive celebrations as much as possible. Christmas is about family and your dog is included in the family so they should never miss out on the fun and festivities.

Dr Shahad Mohammed
Veterinary Physiotherapist
National Association of Veterinary Physiotherapists
Dr Shahad Mohammed