Tips and Tricks to Help You Prepare for a Dog-Friendly Holiday Season

Adam Reed @ 2019-01-31 12:45:36 +0000

Tips and Tricks to Help You Prepare for a Dog-Friendly Holiday Season

With all the cheer and merriness, there is a lot to consider when preparing for the holiday season. Make sure to consider your dog when planning for the hustle and bustle of this time of year. Have a happy hound that feels included and comfortable, because the holidays just aren’t the holidays without our furry best friends.

Whether you’re traveling or staying home, try to keep your routine as close to normal as possible. Dogs need consistency to feel comfortable, secure, and more importantly, loved. Remember to feed and walk your dog at the same time as you normally would. This will help ease any stress of having guests over or staying in a strange environment.

Dog under a snowflake pattern pet blanket

Keep Your Pup in the Holiday Spirit with Plenty of Exercise

One of the best tips for keeping your dog happy for the holidays is to give him plenty of exercise! Make sure you walk your dog daily. You can also play fetch or bring him to a dog park or throw a Frisbee. Not only will this help keep your dog from packing on those extra holiday-treat pounds, but according to WebMD Pets, exercise is one of the best methods for keeping your dog from misbehaving.

Let your dog get some fresh air with your young, energetic guests. This will burn off some of the nervous energy some dogs have, make your dog feel included in the excitement, and keep you in the mix of things with your guests.

Dog walkers are great if you can’t get away from cooking food or if you just have too much to do before guests arrive.

So, you and your dog are hosting the holidays…

If you’re having guests over to your house, there are ways you can ensure a fun, stress-free experience for your family, friends, and dog!

Train Your Guests for a Dog-Friendly Celebration

First, you’ll want to establish rules and let guests know these rules prior to their arrival. One great idea is to send out invites and include a little bio about your dog and some of your expectations for treating and greeting If your dog is nervous, this is a great way to tell guests without feeling rushed to do it when they walk through your door. This also cuts down on the logistical chaos when all of your friends show up at the same time.

When guests arrive, make sure introductions are slow. My Dutch Shepherd is one of the sweetest dogs in the word. But there was one time when we had a guest over, a plumber, to be exact. And our plumber rushed past Fritz without a proper introduction, and to my horror and dismay, Fritz nipped him on the butt. Now, if this had been Chanukah dinner or Christmas morning, it could have ruined the whole day. So, now I’m always careful to let my friends know that Fritz will need to sniff their hands, get a ‘good boy’ pat and treat before they get too far into our home.

If you can, allow your dog to meet guests outside. Dogs tend to be less nervous if they’re not in their home environment. This can also give your dog room to back up or wiggle around.

It’s always a great idea to have treats ready for company to give your pup. This says “Hey! Happy holidays! I’m your friend.” You can put treats around the house in candy bowls. You can even find gourmet treats that fit your holiday décor!

Also, make sure Grandpa or other visitors aren’t giving your pup human food. This can cause your pup to feel bloated or maybe even get sick. And with all the excitement of the time of the year, it’s nearly impossible to monitor how many handouts your dog is eating. Have special dog treats or dog cookies handy, so guests are encouraged to give your pup only ingredients you approve of.

And of course, your guests should be sweet to your dog. Ask guests to use positive feedback and encourage your dog with sweet compliments and head pets.

If your best friend tends to get nervous or reacts to certain behaviors, warn guests ahead of time. It’s easier to say, “My dog gets a bit upset about loud noises or quick movements,” rather than spending the entire worrying about your dog or trying to calm a nervous pup.

Dog-Friendly Guests:

Labrador with reindeer antlers, Spaniel with Santa hat and Cat sitting by the Christmas tree

Should Your Dog be Present for the Presents?

Make sure your dog isn’t too nervous to be a good host, himself. Okay, so maybe your super sweet dog is a little bit neurotic. Whether your dog is shy, active, not-quite-trained-yet, afraid of loud noises, or a senior pup, you have to evaluate if your dog would be better off somewhere quieter or less chaotic.

A crowded house with noise and movement can sometimes even make the cheeriest dog react differently. Consider boarding, day boarding, or letting your pup stay with a relative. There are some great holiday boarding options and pet sitters that would give your dog extra love and attention while in a calmer environment.

If you don’t think your dog needs to board (or you waited too long to book a dog sitter), you can always let your dog stay in a quiet room of his own. Put a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door that explains that your dog is resting inside so guests don’t bother him.

Think of Your Dog’s Safety When Setting up the Tree and Decorating

Christmas trees bring warmth and beauty to your home during the holidays. Yet the concept of an indoor tree is pretty foreign to dogs. My dog barks at our tree for days before he realizes it’s not going anywhere. Here are some dog-friendly tips you’ll want to think of when spreading the Yule-time cheer.

Dog Safety Christmas Tree Checklist:

Tired dog on Christmas day sleeping by the fairy lights

What Should You Do If You’re Going Away for the Holidays?

Traveling can be stressful. Make sure you plan well in advance to keep your pup comfortable.

If you’re going out of town, it’s best to bring your dog. Remember to bring his bed, favorite toys, treats, and plenty of dog food.

But if your dog can’t be your furry travel companion, you’ll want to find a trustworthy dog sitter to stay at your home with your dog. This will help keep your dog’s routine and give him the comfort of his own bed and toys. As a last resort, consider boarding your dog. Most boarders will let you check out the facility before you book. And boarding facilities are often attached to vet clinics, so you know your dog will be in good hands.

When planning for friends and family, remember to keep everyone’s interests in mind. I don’t just mean, putting your dog in the most adorable Christmas dog sweater you can find. Remember to keep your guests happy by introducing them to your lovable dog in a way that will encourage positive socialization for your best friend! And keep your dog’s tail wagging with plenty of treats, encouragement, and exercise. Finally, remember to keep your dog safe with dog-friendly decorations and a well-secured tree.

Happy holidays and enjoy this time of year with your friends, family, and furry best friend!