There’s so much for families to enjoy in the run up to Christmas, from exploring the Christmas markets and sampling delicious festive food and drink, to having seasonal film nights. But to make sure the whole family gets to enjoy this time of year, why not find some ways for your dog to get involved in the celebrations too? Our pets love spending time with us at any time of year, but they’re sure to enjoy it even more around the Christmas period when spirits are high and the whole family is together.
And the good news is that there are plenty of fun and safe ways for our dog to get involved in the festive period. To give you some inspiration, the pet care experts Webbox are here to share their advice for including your pet in festive days out.
Find fun activities to include them in
While the weather is a lot more chilly and damp now, you shouldn’t let this prevent you from enjoying festive days out. There are lots of activities to enjoy in the great outdoors this time of year, and plenty of options for you to include your dog in as well. If you prefer real Christmas trees, one fun activity for the whole family is going to pick one out together. Your pet will get to experience lots of natural, fresh smells and they can help you find the perfect festive addition to your living room this Christmas.
If your family enjoys getting crafty, you can also go on a hunt to find natural materials for crafting your own Christmas wreath, such as pinecones, holly, and mistletoe. Just remember to keep an eye on your dog so you can make sure they’re not eating anything they shouldn’t be.
While there are plenty of outdoor activities for your pet to enjoy, make sure that they’re all suitable for your dog, as they may find some overwhelming or stressful. For example, you may want to avoid bringing them to loud and crowded outdoor festive markets.
Look for the best winter walks near you
We’re fortunate to have lots of picturesque walking routes to enjoy in every season in the UK. And as going on walks is no doubt one of your dog’s favourite activities, it makes sense to include them in your family adventures too. So, do some research to find some of the best dog-friendly winter walking routes near you.
A good place to look is on the National Trust website, as dogs are usually always welcome in the outdoor walking routes and sometimes inside the facilities too. You may enjoy a brisk walk along the coast as well, as most beaches are dog-friendly after September 30th.
Whichever walking route you choose, make sure that it’s an appropriate one for the whole family. For example, you may want to avoid particularly muddy areas with dogs, and if you’re taking little ones on the walk, you may need to check that it is a pushchair accessible route and that there are changing facilities nearby.
Give them a Christmas treat
Christmas is a time for treating ourselves and our loved ones, and that goes for our pets too. So, don’t forget to treat your dog this festive season on their days out. If you treat the whole family to warming hot chocolates, make sure to include your dog as well by bringing an extra special bag of treats with you on your walks. You can get dog treats in festive flavours, like turkey and cranberry, or even have a go at making your own festive dog biscuits if you want to try some Christmas baking.
You can make the wintry walk even more fun by giving them a festive themed outdoor toy to enjoy on Christmas walks too. As well as making it more enjoyable for your pet, throwing a festive squeaky ball on your dog walks is great for keeping your pet active and healthy.
Keep them safe outdoors
No matter which activity you decide on doing or where you choose to walk, keeping your pet safe should be your main priority. Fortunately, as long as you take the appropriate precautions, this shouldn’t be too difficult for you and the family. One important thing to bear in mind when having outdoor adventures with your dog is the weather. While they do have coats which can keep them warmer than humans, it’s important to make sure your dog isn’t too cold. Invest in a dog jumper so they can enjoy the outdoors without becoming chilly, and dog booties can prevent their paws from becoming too cold on the icy ground.
If you choose to feed your pet any Christmas treats on your festive day out, you should also make sure that they are dog-friendly. Avoid feeding them treats with onions, leeks, garlic, and raisins in, as these are poisonous for pets. If you aren’t sure of the exact ingredients, always air on the side of caution — even when they give you those puppy dog eyes!
“The festive period is a time for the whole family to come together, including our beloved pets. If you have fun days out planned with loved ones in the run up to Christmas, don’t forget to involve your dog so they can share in the festive spirit too. Your pet is sure to love winter walks, and it’s a great way to keep them active in the colder months too.
“To make sure that they’re able to enjoy everything that the festive season has to offer, keep your pet safe and in good health. Try to keep them from catching a chill by dressing them in a dog jumper or jacket on cold trips out, and make sure that they follow a balanced diet by not overloading them with Christmas treats.”
- Michael Haigh from Webbox