Locally-Owned in Oakdale and St. Paul, Minnesota

7 Safe & Fun Ways to Celebrate the Holidays with Your Pets

Dog owner bundled up in winter gear with dog surrounded by snow, holidays with pets, Animal Emergency & Referral Center of Minnesota

Even the Grinch found a way to include his dog, Max, in his holiday plans! 😉 While there are many hazards and toxins that surround the winter holidays, there are still ways you can make Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa fun for you and your pets. Here are just a few ideas to help inspire your holiday plans! 

Santa shaking dog's paw, holidays with pets, Animal Emergency & Referral Center of Minnesota

1. Holiday Cards 

If your family sends out holiday cards, include your pet in the family photo. Many websites also have pet-themed templates. Remember to send a card to your pet’s veterinary team, too!  

2. Meet Santa or the Grinch 

If your pet has noise or social anxiety or is reactive, it’s best to skip this one. But if you have a well-behaved pet who thrives in loud and busy environments, you may want to consider finding a pet-friendly photo opportunity with Santa or even the Grinch. Many holiday events hosted by local rescue organizations welcome pets, as do some stores and malls. 

Santa Options: 

 Grinch Options: 

 Know of other options? Mention them in the comments! 

husky skijoring with owner on skis, holidays with pets, Animal Emergency & Referral Center of Minnesota

3. Winter Enrichment 

Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean your pet doesn’t need daily exercise! On warmer winter days, you can find dog-friendly activities such as skijoring, hiking, or dog sledding. You could also dig a snow maze in your backyard and hide treats throughout. Of course, when it’s too cold to go outside, you can still find ways to keep your pet active and mentally stimulated with food puzzles, nosework, and other indoor enrichment 

4. Homemade Pet Treats 

Find a pet-friendly recipe and make homemade treats for your pets. Before you start baking, triple-check that ingredients are safe for your pet. Ingredients that are toxic to pets include xylitol (check your peanut butter label), chocolate, macadamia nuts, raisins, and spices like nutmeg or allspice. Learn more about pet-friendly baking here 

cat with a green, read, and yellow Kwanzaa bow tie, holidays with pets, Animal Emergency & Referral Center of Minnesota

5. Holiday-Themed Attire 

If your pet enjoys dressing up, you can find some cute holiday accessories like handkerchiefs, collars, bow ties, and more. There are options from Etsy, as well as local vendors like Fuzzbutt Boutique or Dreamy Pups. If you don’t celebrate winter holidays, consider a snowman or snowflake pattern instead!  

6. Gifts 

When you are holiday shopping, don’t forget to purchase a gift for your pet! Here are a few ideas for cats and here are some great vet-approved stocking stuffers for dogs. Also consider winter gear such as booties, paw balm, or a jacket. For those with avian or exotic pets, you may also want to consider habitat enrichment ideasWhen in doubt, ask your family veterinarian for recommendations of toys that are best for your pet’s size and dental health.  

7. Quality Time 

Last but certainly not least – be sure to spend plenty of time with your pet this holiday season! This can include playtime or just snuggles while watching your favorite holiday movie. 

two humans wearing cozy socks with dog in middle wearing socks, holidays with pets, Animal Emergency & Referral Center of Minnesota 

We hope you and your pet have a safe and fun holiday season. If your pet does need emergency or urgent care, call our Contact Center at (651) 501-3766 to determine the best course of action.

More Reading:  

Janine Hagen

Animal Emergency & Referral Center of Minnesota, Fast Track Triage, color-coded triage system, pet emergency, Twin Cities emergency vet, Minnesota emergency vet, Saint Paul emergency vet, Oakdale emergency vet

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