It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and boy are your dogs excited! They may not understand why you put a tree up, hung new decorations, and why the house always smells of fresh cookies, but they can certainly feel the excitement. Holiday traditions are something we all look forward to, so this year, start some new ones with your favorite canine companion. Check out our list of 15 Holiday Activities to Do with Your Dog!
1. Hang a Stocking Just For Them
Hanging Christmas stockings upon the fireplace is a classic tradition that your dog can be a part of. You can purchase doggie stockings at most pet stores, but you can also make one yourself! It might be best to wait until the day of Christmas before adding any yummy treats in there. Dogs have the best noses around, so there’s a chance they could get into their stocking while you’re not looking.
2. Make Doggie Holiday Treats
It's not Christmas time if you're not treating yourself to some delicious holiday cookies and desserts on a regular basis. While giving your dogs bites of your own sweets may seem like a generous offer, they may contain ingredients that aren't good for your dog. Now, that doesn't mean your pup has to miss out on the fun, it just means they need their own treats! Try baking Lemons & Basil's doggie holiday cookies, featuring Sweet Potatoes, or check out Care.com's 9 Christmas Dog Treat Recipes for delicious treats you can make in your own kitchen.
3. Get Them Their Own Christmas Tree
While you’re hunting for the perfect Christmas tree, consider picking out a small one for your pup! Place it near their dog bed as an adorable addition to your home.
Note: Be aware of your dog’s chewing habits and make sure they don’t bother the tree. If you find that your dog likes to chew up the branches, it may be best to place their tree on a table or put a small fence/gate around it.
4. Add Them to Your Christmas Card
Sending out Christmas cards to friends and family? Don’t forget to add your dog’s name! Did you know that 70% of dog owners say they add their dogs’ names to holiday cards? Dogs are an important part of the family and we’re sure they’d love to be part of the Christmas cheer.
5. Go Look at Christmas Lights
Grab the winter jackets, hot cocoa, and leash, it's time to go check out your neighborhood’s Christmas lights! It’s great, quality time with the family that your dog can be a part of, plus it’s a wonderful exercise for them and a potty break isn't too bad either.
6. Donate to Your Local Shelter
December is the season of giving, and there are shelter animals all over the world in need of food, warmth, and love. If your dog has any intact toys they weren't interested in, dog beds, or unopened food, bring them to your local shelter and donate them to dogs in need. If you're wanting to do an even larger donation, call your local shelter and ask what items they're desperately searching for. Here are some of the top items most rescues seek:
- Linens (sheets, blankets, towels, etc.)
- Potty-training pads
- Large trash bags
- Floor cleaners (ask your local shelter their preference)
- Unopened dog and cat food
- Hygiene products (dog shampoo, brushes, clippers, etc.)
- Food/water bowls
7. Holiday Movie Marathon
Baby, it's cold outside...so let's stay in and have a Holiday movie marathon! Throw on your Christmas pajamas, turn on the Christmas lights, grab yours and your dog's favorite snacks, and enjoy a night in watching some holiday classics.
8. Dress Them in a Holiday Sweater
Everyone loves to show off a cute holiday sweater, especially your dog! Let them feel special with a new Christmas sweater, or fashion one of your old sweaters to make it wearable for them. Trust us, they are going to look adorable.
9. Make a Christmas Blanket
There's no better time to snuggle up in a blanket and enjoy some cuddle time with your best friend. Make it even more special by making your dog their own Christmas blanket! Watch A Girl and a Glue Gun's video tutorial on different ways to make no-sew, fleece blankets.
10. Make Doggie Ornaments
We all have special ornaments we hang on the tree, so let's add a new favorite! Make a doggie ornament with your dog's paw print by following Crafty Morning's step-by-step instructions on how to make them with ingredients from your own home.
11. Doggie Christmas Party
There's nothing like rockin' around the Christmas tree with your friends, especially your four-legged friends. Invite your pals and their dogs over for a festive doggie Christmas party! Put on those doggie sweaters and do a fun white elephant gift exchange, letting the dogs choose their surprise present.
12. Bring Them to a Christmas Market
Holiday markets pop up all over the country each year, featuring small businesses, food trucks, and the perfect Christmas atmosphere. Most of these events are outside, making it the perfect excursion to bring your dog to, but remember to double-check that the market is dog-friendly before bringing them along.
13. Photos With Santa
Photos with Santa are fun for kids, but can be even more fun for pups! Search for dog-friendly Santa meetings in your area to get the perfect holiday photo. Plus, every dog deserves to meet Santa!
14. Introduce a New Dog to the Family
A new dog or puppy is not just a new addition to your family, but also a new best friend for your current dog. If you've been thinking about getting a new dog, Christmas could be a perfect time! You may have some time off work to help them settle in, and they'll love all the attention from visiting family. Remember, dogs are not a "Christmas present," but a 10+ year commitment, so please make sure you and your family are ready for the new responsibility.
15. Spoil Them With Gifts
Odds are your dog has been a very good boy or girl this year, so show them some love with new toys, a dog bed, or yummy treats. Your dog will love the surprise on Christmas day and will love ripping up the wrapping paper even more. Find plenty of yummy gifts at Redbarn.com, with orders of $49 or more receiving free shipping!
Anything we missed? Feel free to comment below with some of your favorite festive activities you like to do with your dog!