The holidays can be stressful, busy, and chaotic, and spending time with your pets may fall to the bottom of the to-do list. But, changes to your pet’s routine and guests in your house can cause your pet stress and anxiety, so make a conscious effort to include them in holiday celebrations to help ensure their social and emotional needs are met. Fairfax Veterinary Clinic believes that the holidays are a great time to participate in unique activities with your pet, and we offer some ideas for celebrating the holidays together.

#1: Get your pet a gift

Include your pet on the shopping list so they have something to open with the rest of the family. You can get them toys, treats, new gear, tennis balls, catnip—anything you think they’ll enjoy. Some pets like to shred paper, so allow them to open their own gift, ensuring no ribbon or string is included.

#2: Hang a stocking for your pet

Add a stocking to the mantle for each of your pets so visitors can see that your pets are part of the family. Add small treats or toys that they can enjoy while the rest of the family opens gifts.

#3: Deck your pet out in holiday gear

Everyone loves a great holiday sweater, which will keep your pet warm if the weather gets chilly. If you want to go all out, you can find a matching sweater or pajama set for you, your pet, and the whole family. Take a photo for next year’s holiday card, or simply enjoy spending time together in your cozy holiday gear. If your pets aren’t big clothing fans, purchase them a holiday-themed collar, bow, or bandana.

#4: Play with a holiday-themed toy

Pet stores are filled with holiday-themed toys this time of year, so you can choose from a wide variety. Holiday pet toys blend in with the rest of your holiday decor and help to give your whole home a festive feeling. You can also purchase holiday-themed baskets to keep the toys neat and tidy.

#5: Make your pet a holiday meal

Many holiday foods are dangerous for pets, but you can make them feel special and included by cooking them their own separate meal. Your pet will love lean, boneless, white turkey meat and vegetables cooked with no butter or oil, which will not upset their digestion.

#6: Take your pet for a ride to see holiday lights

If your pet enjoys car rides, load them up for a ride and enjoy the holiday lights. You may also be able to take them to a local neighborhood light show, or an outdoor holiday festival that allows pets. They’ll love spending time with you, getting outside, and meeting new people and pets.

#7: Take pet photos with Santa

Your local animal hospital, shelter, or rescue likely offers photos with Santa in exchange for 

donations to a local charity or a gift for needy children. If you don’t celebrate Christmas, this can still be a great opportunity to give back to your community, support local businesses, and get a great photo of your pet.

#8: Take your pet shopping

Take your pet to a pet-friendly outdoor shopping center or big box garden, hardware, or feed store that allows pets. You can often find great, unexpected deals and gifts in these stores, and your pets will love exploring and meeting new people.

#9: Get your pet a cozy holiday bed or blanket

When the weather gets cooler, cozy up with your pet on a holiday themed bed or blanket. New bedding is always soft and inviting for cuddling and napping after a way-too-big holiday meal, and will add to your home’s holiday ambiance.

#10: Decorate your pet’s space

Decorate your pet’s crate, room, or area with a holiday-themed crate cover, overhead string lights, or a wooden holiday sign on the door to add to your home’s holiday vibes and keep the good cheer going strong. However, ensure lights and garlands are out of your pet’s reach for their safety.

Pets enjoy the extra attention and fun when you find creative ways to include them in your holiday celebrations—use our ideas as a starting point and make them your own.

You can also give your pet the gift of health this year, so if they are overdue for their wellness services, call us and schedule a visit with our Fairfax Veterinary Clinic team.