Your cat or dog may not understand why you’re running around in the kitchen or why there’s a tree in the living room, but they can certainly feel the magic in the air. This holiday season, make your pet part of your family celebrations through fun activities like the ones below.
Hang a Christmas stocking for your pet.
Was your pet a good boy or a good girl this year? Then they deserve their own Christmas stocking. Fill it with new toys they can chew, chase, tear and thoroughly destroy to their heart’s content, as well as tasty treats or a special meal. Considering your pet’s keen sense of smell, it may be safer to wait until Christmas morning before adding any unattended edibles.
Make your pet part of your family picture.
Confirm your pet’s status as a true family member by making them part of your holiday picture. If you’re going with a theme—such as matching ugly Christmas sweaters—your dog may agree to play along as long as it involves wearing something light and breathable that allows them to move, see, breathe and hear properly. Your cat? Not so much because wearing a costume goes against their survival instincts. If your pet seems uncomfortable, try something simple yet festive such as a bright red scarf, a fun collar or a pretty bow.
Include your pet in your family holiday cards.
Even in the age of emails, SMS and instant messages, sending holiday cards in the mail remains a time-honoured tradition. Remember to add your dog’s or cat’s name as you send them out. Or better yet, have them sign the card personally by stamping their paw print using non-toxic paint.
Hunt for rustic decorations in the woods.
The forest is filled with treasures you can turn into beautiful ornaments. Bring your dog (or your cat, if they’re trained to wear a harness and leash) along on your hike to a park or nearby woods as you collect pinecones, twigs, rocks, birch bark and fir branches in a basket. Your DIY project will not only embellish your home but also remind you of the wonderful time you had gathering raw materials as a family.
Take an evening walk to see the Christmas lights.
If you’ve ever tried decorating a Christmas tree with your dog or cat present, you know how much they love bright, shiny things. Grab warm clothes, hot cocoa and a leash, and then surprise your pet with an evening walk around the neighbourhood to look at the Christmas lights. If your cat doesn’t seem to agree with your planned itinerary, consider carrying them in your arms but always make sure they’re wearing a secure harness and leash.
Make homemade pet treats.
Many holiday staples such as chocolate, raisins, onions and fatty foods can be toxic to your pet or, at the very least, upset their stomach. Offer them some fun snacks of their own by preparing easy frozen treats or baking dog-friendly holiday treats.
Play before a big party!
If you’re hosting a big holiday party, do as much as possible ahead of time so you can plan a vigorous play session with your furry friend an hour before your guests start arriving. This way, your pet has a chance to burn off excess energy and should feel more relaxed while you’re having people over. It’s also a good idea to do so if you’ll be attending a party, so your pet won’t be bored while you’re gone.