It may seem like a no-brainer, but keeping your dog healthy is the number one way to keep him jumping and playing throughout your entire holiday season. In cases where you are hosting the holiday get-together and there is an abundance of table-scraps to be had, consider the aftermath of handing them out like candy. Your dog will be much happier without having to deal with vomiting, diarrhea, or stomach aches in the midst of the holiday chaos.
Spoiling your dog does not mean you have to give him things that you normally wouldn't. But the holidays could be an excuse to buy him that squeaky toy you've been eyeing for the past two weeks. Surprise him with his favorite dog treat and if he's comfortable around children, allow them to each hand him out a certain amount throughout the day. He'll love both the extra treat and the attention that he gets! However, do not use the holidays as a way to test out a new brand of food or treats. The last thing that you want your dog to deal with during the holidays is an upset stomach.
Everybody knows that holidays are synonymous with stress. Changing your dog's daily routine will only add to that stress. Avoid changing meal times or skipping a walk that you would normally take as it can make your dog anxious or confused. Changing a major daily activity can even lead to behavioral problems that can affect him for the next few weeks. Make sure to take the time to keep your dog comfortable in his daily routine and provide him with the same love and care as you do on a daily basis.
Before your guests start knocking down your door, you should consider your dog's state of mind. Does he like having all the attention from newcomers, or does he shy away and prefer to be alone? If he is a loner, provide a small room for him to retreat to and ask your guests to stay out of that particular room. Don't forget to leave the door partly ajar in case he decides to venture out into the crowd of crazy relatives. On the other hand, if he prefers to be the center of attention, allow him to greet your guests one by one and bask in the holiday spirit.
Your dog is as much a part of your family as some of your guests, so make the time to provide him some love and attention too. Include him in the holiday activities and allow him to participate in each event. Don’t' forget that he loves cuddles and attention too, so even if you are just sitting around the fireplace making small talk with neighbors and friends, invite your dog to jump into your lap for a cuddle. Consider budgeting in some time to take your dog on a walk before your guests arrive or make a point to buy him a gift to open during your Christmas gift exchange to make him feel included.