Our canine and feline companions are always with us through thick and thin and encourage us to create holiday traditions that include them. Including your pets in holiday traditions is important and brings families together and gives your pet a way to have a happy holiday and be safe. If you’re not able to be close with family during the holidays, there are some holiday activities you can do with your pets and share on social media and in Zoom calls with the family so you feel more connected and possibly can create new holiday traditions to share with your beloved furry family members.
Car Rides with Dogs
Most dogs who associate the car with adventure instantly are thrilled to “Let’s go for a ride!” Plus, many people already have traditions of going out the night before Christmas or the days before and seeking out the best, the tackiest, and most over-the-top Christmas light displays. Pack up your dogs in the car, play your favorite holiday mix CD or playlist, and hit the roads to soak up the lights and inflatable snowmen together this year! Don’t just hit the main streets, put your GPS to work occasionally, and seek out the side streets and countryside big farm houses where you may find elaborate light displays around lakes and even strange displays like cinder block flotillas of boats elegantly lit up in the middle of a pond. You can also take your dog as a free passenger on drive-through displays of lights and music! From traditional windows to icicle lights dripping from every horizontal house surface, light displays are a fun way to get in the holiday spirit, explore the world around you from the safety of your car and get some great pictures.
Holiday Walking with Pets
Just make sure your dog is warm and cozy (or cooled off in the Southern hemisphere) while on your tour of the local lights! Always keep your dog in the car and attach their harness to the seat if you stop. You can also take your dog on an evening walk to check out the light displays but be sure to wear a reflective or light-up collar and follow local public health and safety mandates, especially socially distancing, where applicable.
Try to focus on celebrating the “smaller moments”. One way to do so is to upcycle, recycle, and use natural and found items to decorate with, and your dog can help you find the perfect things to celebrate and craft with. If you have a cat that likes wearing a leash and going on walks, they can also come with you as you go for a walk in the woods and look for décor ideas. You might want to collect rocks to paint designs on, or pinecones to display in a basket, and you both get out for some exercise. Just make sure your pet is up-to-date on their flea and tick prevention treatments.
Zoom Cookie Exchanges
Cookie exchanges are a way to share with friends, neighbors, and families. Make a batch of both human and pet cookies or treats, choose four to six pals, and organize a cookie exchange for your households and theirs. Use Zoom to organize the exchange, and each baker uses their favorite recipes for humans and pets and then instead of a cookie exchange party, arrange a day of being “Cookie Santas” or “Hanukkah Lights” and drop off cookies and pet treats on the porch. Set the date and the next day, drop off lovely handmade treats to friends. Your dog gets to try new homemade treats and you get to share your best cookies and discover new favorites. Afterwards, you can have a cookie tasting on Zoom and share coffee, cocoa, or even wine as you try the other cookies. Your dogs and cats should only try one pet treat a day!
Pet Photo Shoot
Arrange an at-home pet shoot! If you can’t travel, you can share your cute pet pics online. Just dress the dog up, set up a backdrop of holiday fun, and take the time to engage your pet and take thousands of pics of your pets and the kids until you get the picture-perfect holiday on the camera. Not all pets like to dress up so allow your dog or cat to just be themselves near the presents or by the tree and you’ll be sure to get great pictures.
Whatever activities you decide to involve your pets in this holiday season, you’ll be assured they will enjoy being with their human family!