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5 Ways to Share the Holidays with Your Pets
By: Brianna Gunter / Published Dec 10, 2021
The holiday season is for family, and we all know that includes pets! But in between all the shopping, baking, traveling, and catching up with loved ones, our four-legged pals sometimes need a little extra love in these busy weeks.
Whether it’s a fun photo sesh, special toys and treats from Santa, or ringing in the New Year with some much-needed grooming, there are many ways to share the holidays with your pets and make sure your furry family members don’t miss out on the fun.
1. Take holiday pet photos
Pets are family, so why not include them in the family holiday photos? Many family photographers are accustomed to incorporating pets into cherished moments, so this is an easy way to share the holidays with your pets.
If you’re going into a studio, just be sure to inquire ahead about their pet policies before just showing up with Spot in tow. And if you really want to make Spot the focus, try looking specifically for a local pet photographer or pet portrait specialist.
It’s also a good idea to have the photographer meet with your pet beforehand so they can get to know your pet’s personality and look. This will also help your pet become accustomed to them, so they aren’t totally taken by surprise on photo day. Plus, if you’re doing the shoot in your home, a prior meetup will help give the photographer ideas of where your pet can and cannot go (on certain pieces of furniture, for example) as well as help them plan for lighting.
2. Set up a stocking just for Fido
A fun way to share the holidays with your pets right from your home is by including them in stockings! Stockings are a great opportunity to include small gifts for your dog or cat. Perhaps a new leash, collar, or a gift card to the new pet store in town will do. Some treats will also be a nice surprise! To be extra festive, take a look at the special holiday dog treats and cat snacks hitting stores this time of year. You can even bake your own Christmas cookies for dogs to make your pup stocking stuffers extra personalized.
And while you can definitely hang up that tiny sock that keeps popping up in your laundry, many pet stores supply small (or big!) stockings for dogs and cats. If “Santa” is filling the stocking with treats though, just make sure it’s hung high enough out of your pet’s way to prevent unsupervised snacking.
3. Reward your pet with a special gift from Santa
Your four-legged friend has been good all year (at least mostly, right?) Time to reward them with a special present they can enjoy all winter and beyond. Fortunately, the December global holidays align with some great shopping deals on toys and other pet items for your furry companions.
Maybe Fido could use a new winter dog jacket or a cozy new bed. Perhaps Mittens just wants a new laser pointer or other interactive cat toy. You may also want to ask your vet for any recommendations about particularly useful or healthy gifts for pets. There are a lot of possibilities to show your dog or cat some love as you figure out how to share the holidays with your pets, as well as stock up on something they’ll be able to use all season long.
4. Include your pet in holiday travel plans
The holidays are the busiest time of year, and much of this is due to people traveling to see family and friends. Whether you’re traveling with your pet or not, it’s important to include them in your plans. Get a TSA-approved pet travel carrier if you need one, and introduce Fluffy to it prior to your traveling date. Talk with your local veterinarian ahead of time about the best ways to help your pet stay calm and relaxed throughout travel, whether it’s on a plane, train, or automobile, so that you can share the holidays with your pets—wherever they may be.
Likewise, it’s also important to make a plan for pets who are staying behind while you travel. Get them comfortable around a new dog sitter before you leave, and consider stocking up on extra treats and toys to keep them entertained in your absence. You may also want to consider a special dog hotel or cat boarding place if your pet is better off with company around the clock.
5. Help them look their best
Everyone likes looking extra spiffy during the holidays! Share the holidays with your pets by taking them out for a nice pet grooming session to get ready for the festivities. Many pet boutiques and salons offer a wide variety of nail trimming and hair styling opportunities. While Rover may not like getting a bath, he will enjoy being all clean and set for plenty of attention from family and friends. Besides, regular cleaning and grooming is good for his health.
Speaking of which, now’s a great time to make sure your pet is feeling good on the inside too. Schedule a wellness checkup with your pet’s veterinarian—especially if they’re going to be traveling with you anywhere—and be sure to practice good winter safety tips.