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Articles and Advice from our Pet Expert

6 Ways to Include Your Pet in the Fun this Holiday Season

201012_HolidayDogTis the season to be jolly, and our furry bundles of joy need not be forgotten in the holiday frenzy. Whether your family is celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah or the New Year, the holidays become happier occasions when all members of the family are included. Here are several ideas for including your pet in the fun this holiday season:

  1. Adorn your pets. There is a wide variety of holiday-wear available for cats and dogs in pet supply stores and online—from Santa outfits and reindeer antlers, to “Happy Hanukkah” and menorah sweaters. If your pet doesn’t enjoy these “dress up” clothes, look toward more simple fashion choices for everyday cheer. Spruce up your pet with a festive collar, holiday bandana, or red and green bow for an easy (and popular) way to ensure he is stylish throughout the holiday season. To make Fido or Fluffy look even more festive, throw in a special Hanukkah- or Christmas-themed ID tag or charm, attach a matching leash, and your pet will be overjoyed to show off his holiday finery.
  2. The Perfect Gift. The holidays are a time for gifts and stockings by the fireplace. Make sure your four-legged friend has his own stocking with his name on it, and then fill it with his favorite things. Most dogs will enjoy a new plush toy or chewy treat, while cats covet feathered toys or catnip. A fresh collar and leash will start your pet off right in the New Year (and give you a jump-start on your personal fitness resolutions!). You might even present Fido or Fluffy with a cozy new bed or mat he can enjoy over the holidays and throughout the long, cold winter ahead. For the pet that has everything—how about a gift card to his favorite pet supply or feed store? This will let him enjoy his goodies throughout the New Year.
    For a few extra smiles, wrap your pet’s gift and put his name on the gift card. When it comes time to open presents, be sure to unwrap the package for your pet, as cellophane and foil wrapping can be harmful to him if swallowed. Your pet’s moment of holiday glee will be something the whole family can enjoy!
  3. Serve your pet special treats and meats. You can’t leave your pet out of the main event—the holiday feast! Prepare a pet-friendly feast or visit the doggie bakery for your pooch. There are tons of recipes online for dog-safe muttloaf and even Hanukkah latkes. Check out the recipe for “Lassie Latkes” courtesy of Loews Hotels Executive Chef Mark Ehrler. Kitties may enjoy tuna tidbits or chick n’biscuits.
  4. Christmas cookies and candy canes. Just because pets can’t have chocolate doesn’t mean they have to be deprived of “sweets” such as homemade doggie biscotti, liver brownies, puppy pretzels or peanut butter puppy poppers. Consider making homemade gingerbread dog bones or even have the kids make a gingerbread dog house—a unique holiday decoration that Fido can devour after the celebrations come to a close. Be sure to get your recipes from credible sources and consider checking with your veterinarian for any special diet considerations your pet might have.
  5. Deck the halls. Whether your pet stays in a crate, kennel, cage or aquarium, take the time to decorate his space with pet-safe holiday decorations. Remember to keep mistletoe, holly, poinsettias and other seasonal plants that can make your pet sick out of his reach, and consider taking a little extra time to research what type of decorations are truly pet-safe.
  6. Say “woof.” If you plan to send a holiday card with your family’s picture on it, why not include your pet in the shot? Nothing says Happy Holidays like a puppy dog smile or Cheshire cat grin. And don’t forget to sign your pet’s name on the card, or, better yet, include his paw print!

The hustle and bustle of the holidays can be an exciting and sometimes stressful time for pets. One of the best things you can do with your furry loved one is slow down, put on some soft holiday music and curl up near the tree for some belly-rubbing, one-on-one time. After all, that is the best holiday gift you can give your pet—time, love and attention.

Kristen Buck60x60

Written by:
Kristen Levine, Pet Lifestyle Expert

December 3, 2010

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