The holidays can be a crazy time of year, filled with wacky aunts and nosy grandparents, delicious meals and fun family games. They can also be extremely stressful for everyone in the house, especially your BFF (best fur friend). Your pooch can get overwhelmed by the noise, the people, and, maybe, the long absences from traveling owners. One of the best ways to ease the anxiety your pet might be feeling is to give him gifts, and lots of them.
Preparing your dog for the holidays requires a lot of planning and patience. If you’re an all-natural dog mom like me, you also have to devote a lot of time for baking the homemade treats and sewing the new bedding, like I do for my boy, Cassius. Perhaps you even go as far as carpentry and have to make time for building that new dog house for the backyard.
Some dog parents do things the smart way and preorder gifts online, using one or more of several online shopping hacks they have developed over years of spoiling their favorite person/canine. If you’re like these parents (and quite frankly, I'm thinking of converting), you also have to ensure you leave the proper amount of time for possible packing or shipping setbacks during the busy holiday season.
Your animals are family, just like your children, your spouse, or your nephew. Dogs are your healing power—making you laugh when you’re grumpy, licking your tears when you’re sad, and keeping you warm during cold nights. They deserve a wonderful holiday, complete with squeaky chew toys, delectable goodies, and maybe an ugly holiday sweater or two.
If you have a hungry boy like I do, you know how much they love eating treats and chewing on bones. Holidays offer the perfect opportunity to spoil your pooch and give them all the things they love.
Some of Cassius’s favorite homemade treats include peanut butter pumpkin biscuits, sweet potato fries (dog version), and crapples (carrot and apple cookies). But not all dogs are alike, and there are lots of holiday treats you can prepare for them that will fit nicely into their stockings.
I love to pair my cookies and biscuits with vegetables that my dog just loves. Though the winter months are well underway, there are still a number of dog-approved summer veggies available at your local grocer that your dog will enjoy and receive the health benefits from. For instance, Cassius loves my baked squash chips and crispy zucchini.
Lots of dog parents ask me about fish around the holidays. I personally love feeding Cassius fish during the winter and summer because of the difference it makes in his coat. As far as their digestive health, some dogs have a high tolerance for fish, while others can’t digest it as smoothly. Before feeding your dog fish treats, be sure to consult your vet for possible allergies and cooking advice.
My favorite things to buy Cassius during the holidays are new toys. Each year I go through his toy bin (which is excessive, I must admit) and clean out the toys that are pretty dirty or starting to tear or become damaged. That way I can be sure Cassius only has access to safe toys and isn’t putting himself at risks for virus or infection. I recommend doing this with your dogs as well.
The holidays arrive and suddenly his toy bin is overflowing again with brand new toys. Some of my favorite toys for my boy are rubber chewies, KONG toys, ropes and balls. He isn’t much of a fetching dog, but he still enjoys chewing on his Frisbees.
Another great stocking stuffer for playtime might be new dog shoes. The winter months can be hard on your dog's paws, so it might be a good time to start protecting them.
As far as stocking-sized stuffers, large dogs can be difficult to purchase toys for because they are often too large to fit in their stockings. If you have trouble fitting toys in your dog’s stocking, you can watch this DIY video about making a homemade stocking. Maybe your spoiled dog needs to upgrade to a larger size. I know mine does.
For Outdoor Adventures
The winter months can be a lazy time for you and your fur pal. Sitting around seems like such a better idea than braving the blizzard outside, but it isn’t very healthy for either of you. This holiday, purchase outdoor toys for your pooch to motivate both of you to go outside and get some exercise when possible.
Some cool outdoor toys for the winter months can be chuck toys for fetching in the snow, buried tug-a-war toys and active toys like bounce bones, floor puzzles and KONG toys. Getting outside during the winter is beneficial for so many reasons including exercise, fresh air, and building their winter coats.
I also like to buy Cassius gifts that serve my purposes more than his—like cute new dog tags, collars and collar lights for night walks. An at-ease dog mommy is a happy mommy, just like a tired puppy is a happy puppy.
Your animal friends love spending time with you during the holidays, meeting and greeting new people, and experiencing new sensations. I know thinking about the holidays for the people in your life is hard enough, but your pooch deserves a few gifts this year as well.
Do some research and find dog toys that are healthy, stockings that are adorable, and recipes that are to die for. Spoil your canine this Christmas. You will love watching them freak out over new toys, and they will feel a wealth of love from their owners.