Dec 01, 2021 | By, For Pet's Sake

Turn up the holiday spirit with your pets

Animals are creatures of habit. They’re also very perceptive of attitudes and their surroundings. When the decorations emerge from storage, the carols start ringing through the air, and the positive energy exudes from everyone around them, they know it’s time for the holidays.

It’s true, you can teach your pet that it’s time to celebrate the holidays with the ways you treat them. The emphasis is on “treat.”

Pets learn by association and positive reinforcement, which means that they’ll think the holidays are special if you make those days feel special. The key is to associate positive experiences with words like Christmas or Hannukah so that your pet understands these words represent treats or fun moments.

You don’t need to limit the rewards to the treat jar, either. Your pet will enjoy these special days on the calendar if you incorporate some of these ideas as well. Of course, you might still need to give them treats to make them participate, but as long as you and they have fun, that’s all that matters for making the holidays memorable.

Taking pictures

Dress your pet in a festive sweater or costume, take them to see Santa, and put your favorites on a holiday card you can mail to your loved ones. This is a time to create visual memories and spread some cheer by sharing your cute pictures with the people who are close to you.

Playing in the snow

Hide your pet’s toys under the snow so they can search and dig for them. If your pet is adventurous (and small enough to fit on a sled), try taking them down a hill for some exhilarating fun. Just don’t choose too large of a hill where someone can get hurt. Be aware that your pet might need booties or a jacket to handle the cold for long periods of time.

Walk through the neighborhood and look at lights

More and more homes will be lit as December goes on, so this is a beautiful time to get your pet some exercise while enjoying the decorations your neighbors have hung on their homes. Some neighborhoods hold special holiday shows with impressive light displays. Just make sure to keep your dog off of people’s lawns if you decide to walk instead of driving through the streets.

Indoor play

Sometimes cold weather means the fun has to move indoors. Options for that include puzzles your pet can solve to earn treats, playing fetch in a hallway, practicing tricks, or creating an obstacle course with items around the house.The point is to give them a tangible goal so they feel satisfied at the end. Laser pointers can be a fun option for keeping your pet active, but they can be bad for your pet if you use them too often.

Make special treats for them

You can find plenty of online recipes for treats that you can make at home. Keep the ingredients list as short and all-natural as possible to protect your pet’s health. You might even create something your pet loves more than the store brands. 

Invite pet lovers for holiday parties

Whether your friends have pets or not, an animal-filled home is an exciting one, to say the least! Bring smiles to your guests’ faces as everyone gathers with their adorable pets. Heed these words of warning, though. Try to schedule play dates with the pets you invite before the big day so that everyone is socialized properly. Nobody likes a fight at a party. Verify that the pets are updated on their vaccinations, especially if puppies or kittens are involved.

Of course, there are still plenty of things to avoid as a pet owner around the holidays.

But remember that even the Grinch had a pet, so the holidays are definitely the most wonderful time of the year to enjoy with your furry friends.

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