Not sure what to do with your furry friend this holiday season? We share a collection of five fun festive ideas for you and your pet that will make this Christmas one to remember
1. Create your own Christmas card
With Christmas day fast approaching, many of us get to work creating and writing Christmas cards to send greetings to friends and loved ones all over the world. Instead of buying a boring old card from the shops this year, why not create a unique and memorable card featuring your pet?
Kerry Martin, editor of Puppy Tales (puppytales.com.au), says creating your own cards with your gorgeous pet allows you to be creative and, of course, to spend time with them.
2. Capture your pet’s paw prints
Does your pet have a little bit of artistic air? Are you looking for a creative gift idea for an animal lover? If so, you could turn your pet’s cute little paws into a work of art. Animal behaviourist Dr Jo Righetti explains how: “Paint your pet’s paws and let them stamp on white card. You will then have a record of your pet’s paw print forever,” she says. “This can make a great gift for someone who loves their pet or is away from home and missing their best friend, and the really adventurous painter can use a different colour on each paw.”
Just remember to use non-toxic paint and to wash the paint off before your pet runs through the house!
3. Take your pet carolling!
If you’re looking for a way to spread some Christmas cheer around your neighbourhood, taking your pet carolling could be the perfect solution. All you have to do is get your family and friends together, dress up your dog or cat in something cute (only if they’re happy to wear it, of course), and hit the streets with your best singing voices.
Visit the houses of friends and people you know to sing them a carol or two — they’ll love to see you and your pet getting into the Christmas spirit. Not only does this allow you to spread some goodwill during the festive season, it’s also the perfect opportunity for your pet to spend some quality time with the whole family.
4. Enjoy a pet-friendly holiday
Christmas means no school for kids and time off work for mum and dad. Why not make the most of your freedom and escape the everyday grind for a pet-friendly holiday?
“Everyone enjoys a holiday and breaks from our usual routines give us a chance to try new activities,” Dr Jo says. “Imagine swimming with your dog; walking in a new, undiscovered location; or training your cat in your backyard.
“Use your extra time to try a new activity with your pet. If you are lucky enough to be able to take your pet on holiday with you, remember
to pack all their personal belongings to make them feel at home, and keep them safe at all times. Enjoy your break!”
5. Help animals in need
Christmas is a time of giving, so have you considered giving something to the animals that might need some Christmas cheer more than your pet? “Why not volunteer at your local animal shelter,” Dr Jo suggests. “Most are open, even on Christmas day, but you may need to set things up in advance. Some like to give their volunteers training prior to working with animals.”
If you do decide to help out at your local shelter, this will mean spending some time away from your own much-loved pets — so make sure to spoil them with lots of cuddles and the occasional treat when you get the chance. And remember that helping out at an animal shelter is extremely worthwhile.
“Just think how rewarding it will feel to help those that need a little extra care,” Dr Jo says.