Group of friends around a dog in a festive setting

A Pet Parent's Guide: Winter Holidays

The holidays are a time that’s exciting for all family members – children, parents, and even pets. The season brings many new things for dogs including new people, new décor, and the best part, new gifts! We’ll be sharing some advice that will make the holiday season in your house enjoyed by all members and avoid some common holiday issues that can put a damper on the celebrations.


During the holiday season, many people come over to celebrate, drop off gifts, and send good wishes. These visits are an absolute delight most of the time with visitors and pets being able to mutually benefit.

However, these visits are a major disruption for your dog’s routine and can stress them out. Keeping them calm is important for their mental health and neglecting this can cause them to act destructively. To help relieve their stress, you can take them on a long walk, give them soft pats, or talk to them in a soothing voice.

Dogs have been used for protection throughout history and possess a genetic desire to defend their household, which can lead to aggression around new visitors. Socializing your dog is important as it makes them accepting of new people and pets. While it's more difficult when they are older, it can be done, and it is very important as it ensures visitors feel welcome in your home. 

We all want to make visitors enjoy their time but not all of them are comfortable around pets. Having a designated area your dog can call his/her own is a good practice in general and becomes paramount during visits. Dogs are territorial and giving them a space of their own under a table, in their crate, or in a certain room, helps them feel comfortable. Many dogs will decide this area on their own but moving certain items they are attached to can help ensure they have a comfortable place to go during holiday festivities. By putting them in this area with toys and distractions, you can ensure your guests will feel at home and your dog stays occupied.

Sometimes you’re a visitor instead of a host. If you are heading out to a Christmas party, make sure that your pets have enough food and water before you leave and give them a yummy chewy chicken stick when you get home.  

Keeping yourself, visitors, and dog comfortable this holiday season can truly make the season wonderful.

Presents & Decorations 

Presents are such an exciting part of the holidays! Sharing gifts between people and pets strengthens the bond and makes for a joyous occasion. Including your pet in the gifting makes for many moments that are guaranteed to be adorable.

New pets may get into gifts and should be introduced to them under supervision. Keep a close eye on their initial reaction.  Training them to ignore gifts is a great idea.  Using beef liver training treats to keep their attention while putting out gifts is a great idea, and giving them a little morsel every time they act appropriately around presents will keep your gifts safe this season.

A dog’s nose is phenomenal and it may be best to bring their presents out, only when they are ready to open them.  Even if they ignore gifts intended for humans, they may not be able to resist the smell of certain gifts and get into them when no one’s looking.

Common gifts like chocolate bars, colognes, and candy should be kept out of reach of even well-behaved pets. These items can be especially harmful to a dog if ingested, and we never want to see a dog get harmed.

  • Tip from the Farm: Treats are the perfect gift for Christmas! They offer dogs instant gratification and keep them occupied during the festivities. Our Plaque Busters not only keeps them busy but also helps clean their teeth!

Homes go through major changes with the introduction of the Christmas tree, ornaments and other decorations. Some dogs may not understand these new additions and become destructive (either playfully or maliciously). Keeping your dog around while decorating is important and using treats as positive reinforcement when they stay away from them is the best way to ensure you don’t have a mess of broken Christmas items on your hands

The holidays are the most wonderful time of the year! With our tips, we hope you and your family can have the best holiday season you’ve ever had.





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