The holidays are upon us. Food. Family. So. much. togetherness. Perhaps some mild dysfunction. (Seriously, what would the holidays be without a heated argument with Uncle Frank or an overindulged case of doggie stomach distress?) Most of us humans eat them up. Do dogs like the holidays?
They do! In fact, a new study from Orijen and OnePoll found that dogs get spoiled during the holiday season, so what’s not to love? There are so many reasons our dogs like the holidays; their beloved family members are home, there’s constant action in the kitchen, if they’re lucky (and you know they are) there’s a gift for them.
Their Humans are Home!
You know what’s the most important thing in your dog’s life? You! (and probably food too) Your dog lives to see you and spend time with you. Most of their days are spent either dreaming about when you’ll come home or anxiously awaiting your return. You mean the world to your dog.
When their precious humans work outside the home, most of a dog’s days are spent alone. It means so much to them to have us home. Have you ever noticed that when you’re home, your dog follows you around the house?
During the holiday season, many of us stick pretty close to home. If we do travel, our dogs are often included. It’s such a joyful occasion for our dogs to have us home for uninterrupted together time. Especially when the humans are cooking up tasty things in the kitchen or offering unlimited pats and snuggles! Of course your dog likes the holidays-togetherness with his favorite humans!
There’s Constant Action in the Kitchen
If you’ve ever loved a dog of your own, then you know a vast majority of them are highly food motivated. During the holidays, the kitchen is a steady stream of action. From Thanksgiving turkey, to Christmas ham, Hanukkah brisket, and New Year’s crab legs, there’s something sure to please our canine friends.
The study found that our dogs like the holidays because 7 in 10 of them receive more table scraps than any other time of year. The person most likely to bestow those beloved scraps? Mom. Since our dogs adore food so much, no wonder our dogs like the holidays!
They’re Pretty Spoiled
Do you give your dogs gifts for the holidays? You’re not alone. The doggie gift market has exploded in recent years, with everything from dog advent calendars to special holiday themed treats and special holiday photo shoots just for dogs. In fact, 74% of people surveyed gave their dogs gifts.
Most of the time, dog gifts are in the form of special treats. It really doesn’t take too much to please them!
The study also found that 84% of families included their pets in the family holiday photo. Seriously, what’s cuter than the photo outtakes of the dogs misbehaving during the family photoshoot?! No wonder our dogs like the holidays! Many of them love when the whole family is together.
Tips for Pet Friendly and Safe Holidays
While our dogs like the holidays, it doesn’t mean they know what’s good for them. I’m reminded of waking up one Christmas to a diarrhea soaked throw rug in the kitchen, or that one time the cat ate a glass ornament bulb (he lived!), or watching Birdie dog shredding apart the beloved children’s stocking like it was a paper gift bag just for her!
I’m sure there are many ER vet trips over the holidays. Fortunately, with some common sense and smart precautions we can provide a safe and happy holiday for our dogs.
Be Mindful of Table Scraps
While there are many things from our holiday plates our dogs can enjoy, be careful not to overdo it. Your dog doesn’t need the scrapings of all the holiday plates. These scraps can be rich, full of fats, oils, and seasonings that might be too much for our dogs. Additionally, many of our dogs are accustomed to eating a pretty bland diet. Introducing lots of rich, new table scraps is a recipe for disaster.
We totally encourage sharing of unseasoned, bland foods like plain cranberries, turkey, plain pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and green veggies. Many of these foods offer our Best Friends fantastic health benefits and can be easily mixed into kibble meals. Why wait until the holidays to share them? Try out some healthy additions now!
And While You’re Being Mindful… Watch That Holiday Decor
By nature, our dogs are curious creatures. If you have a super chewer or a nosey pooch, keep those ornaments, holiday plants, and decorations out of reach. The same goes for gifts. Dogs enjoy nothing more than shredding paper apart! When your dog gets ahold of that special gift and rips the wrapping to shreds, he’s just doing dog things-whether or not the gift was for him…
Consider How Holiday Travel Affects Your Dog
While our dogs are pretty much always game to be with us, consider how traveling with your dog could affect him. Dogs do enjoy new experiences, but not in the same way that we do. A new experience to your dog might be walking in a new neighborhood, smelling new smells, or sampling a new treat recipe.
Your dog is happiest in her safe, familiar home. If you’re traveling for the holiday season, plan ahead for your dog. Some dogs are fearful and reactive in new situations. Air travel can be downright terrifying to dogs. If you absolutely must bring your dog with you, make sure to take measures to make sure she is comfortable and that you’ll be nearby to reassure her if she does become stressed.
Enjoy the Holidays WITH Your Dog!
To our dogs, the holidays are magical and happy time; humans are home, there’s delicious food, action with new family members and old friends, and special surprises! No wonder our dogs like the holidays! Make sure not to overindulge your pooch and respect her routine. Enjoy the holidays with your dog by being present and savoring your time together. What are your favorite holiday traditions with your dog?