In all of the excitement and hustle that surrounds the holiday season, don’t forget to share some quality time and cheer with your favorite four-legged companion! Whether you’re looking for something low key or a bit more active, here are some creative ideas to celebrate with the entire family:
- Have a Holiday Bake Party – Gather everyone in the kitchen to make some homemade holiday pet treats. You can find all kinds of simple and delicious recipes online or from your local pet store. Then, you can have fun decorating them for your pet to enjoy. Cut the treats into fun holiday shapes, decorate them with “icing” made of plain, unsweetened yogurt, and save a few to put in their stocking.
- Play Games – Spread the cheer, and keep your pet engaged by playing fun games this season. The games you play might incorporate and work on their communication and command skills, memory skills, agility, etc. The point is to keep them both physically and mentally sharp. After all, you don’t want any pent-up energy running around and destroying your carefully decorated house before the big day! You can play a game of hide and seek with your pet by hiding your freshly baked treats around the house and letting them find them based on your verbal guidance and physical gestures. Or, you can work on your pet’s memory skills by letting them watch you hide the treats around a room, removing them for a while, then letting them back in the room a while later to see if they can find them again based on memory.
- Take a Brisk Winter Stroll – Now that the weather’s cooler, it makes for enjoyable walks in the fresh air for both you and your pet. So, put some time aside each day to get out and explore. While you’re out, you can check out all of the holiday decorations in and around your neighborhood. It’s a great way to spend quality time together while getting some exercise and taking in the festive holiday delights.
- Wind Down – After all of the hustle and bustle of the days surrounding the holiday season, there’s nothing better than settling in with your pet to just relax. Spend some down time together snuggled on the couch with a calm movie on, maybe even a holiday film that features animals. You can also make it a petting session for your pet. Petting is healthy and proven to greatly decrease heart rate and blood pressure for pets while increasing the output of oxytocin, the hormone related to bonding, attachment and love.
Make the most of this holiday season by spending quality time with all of your loved ones, including those furry and four-legged. Get creative and festive, just don’t forget to keep things engaging to stimulate your pet’s mental acuity to keep them happy and healthy all season long.