Your ultimate guide to a dog-friendly holiday season

December 15, 2020
christmas dog

For some people, fairy lights and Christmas rom-coms are the things that bring the most cheer. For us (and we’re sure, some of you too!) having our dogs around during the festive season makes any celebration feel complete.

No matter what part your pup plays at Christmas, there are a few things that are worth considering while you get into the festive spirit.

Christmas trees and decorations

Christmas tree and dogs

Whether you’re a real or artificial tree in your home, it’s smart to make sure it’s as safe as possible for your dog to be around.

Make sure you’ve got a sturdy stand for your Christmas tree to prevent it falling, especially when you have dogs around. It’s also wise to guide your dogs to play elsewhere than near the Christmas tree. The less the dogs pay attention to the tree, the better! Also, consider setting the tree up in a place where it won’t cause any serious danger if it were to fall. Better safe than sorry, right?

Oh, and if you have any gnawing little puppies in your home during the winter holiday time you should pay attention to the Christmas light cords. Keep an eye on those shark sharp teeth and think whether you can place the electric cords out of their reach.


About candles — they’re pretty, they smell lovely, and they’re a part of many people’s Christmases. However, they shouldn’t be left in your dog’s reach — they likely won’t understand what it is until it’s too late. Make sure your outdoor candles are safe too, and never leave your dogs alone in a space or area with real fire.


All the interesting shapes, moving or noisy holiday ornaments are just the thing to catch a playful dog’s attention (I mean, what’s the difference between a bauble and a ball, right?). This may lead to potentially dangerous situations if the dog can get it’s paws or teeth on the ornaments. Baubles, wreaths, garlands and jingle bells are very interesting for puppies especially.

Christmas presents

Christmas presents that are dangerous (sharp, involving chemicals, small pieces) should also be kept away from the dog’s reach. So don’t leave your presents unattended under the Christmas tree! Ribbons may also be a treat the dog’s will consider tasty, and eating them might lead to serious problems.

No matter whether it’s present-unwrapping time, or that sneaky nap after Christmas lunch, if you suspect that your dog has eaten something — contact your vet immediately.

Christmas gift ideas for dogs (or dog lovers!)

’Tis the season to spoil your loved ones! And if you’re anything like us, your gift list probably includes your furry best friend(s), and your friends with furry best friends of their own.

If you asked your dog what she wants the most, she’d probably tell you to never go to work again and stay at home to play and cuddle with her all day instead. Unfortunately someone usually has to pay for the dog food, so this might not be a totally realistic option for most of us!

This holiday season, we’d like to suggest a few other tried and tested, sure-to-make-their-tails-wag gift ideas.

  • Toys are always a great gift and they can help keep your pup entertained even when the weather is bad and you can’t play as much outside. And the thing many dogs love most about toys is destroying them. If you have a monster chewer who is able to rip apart any toy you put in front of them, you probably want to get something extra durable. KONG toys are widely known for their durability and safety, and you can stuff many of them with delicious goodies.
  • If you want to further stimulate your pup’s mind, check out other interactive options like the snuffle mat that lengthens the meal times and puts your dog’s nose and brain to work!
  • The holidays are filled with fun memories, parties, and of course, delicious treats! While it’s okay to sneak your dog a little bit of turkey or ham from the dinner table, we don’t recommend giving dogs too much human food, as it can contain a lot of sodium and fat. Bully sticks, dried sweet potato or pumpkin treats, and dried chicken strips are healthier options long term.
  • If you live in a colder climate and need to protect your dog from the elements, we warmly (ha!) recommend gifting your dog Hurtta’s parkas, jackets or overalls. You can choose from a wide range of alternatives ranging from light softshell jackets to very warm quilted coats.
  • For new puppy parents, we’ve released Online Puppy Training gift cards (at 20% off!) for the perfect welcome home gift. Starting puppy training early is so important, and this gift is a great way to show you care.
  • And finally, we also have a gift idea for the agility enthusiast in your life! Treat them with a gift card to OneMind Dogs Premium or Foundation for Agility memberships (you’ll save 20% here too!)

At the end of the day, the most important thing about the holiday season is spending time together and making memories.

We hope you’ll all have some time to do fun things with your dogs! At the end of the day, your dog will appreciate hiking, playing in the snow or practicing agility together far more than any material gift you could ever give them.

Holiday food: do’s and don’ts for dogs

Is there a ham or a turkey at the center of your Christmas dinner table? If it’s tempting for us to resist grabbing a slice before sitting down to eat — imagine what it’s like for our dogs?

Having a taste of the turkey or ham should be limited to a small bite given to the dog as a treat. Also, never give any cooked bird or pork bones to a dog by intention or even by accident. These can cause serious harm when they chip inside the dog’s gut.

Teaching a ‘place’ command, or crate training your dog is extra helpful around the holidays, as it gives you a little extra peace of mind, knowing that you can trust your dogs to stay put while the family is eating.

Many other Christmas treats may also be harmful or poisonous for dogs. For example, raisins and chocolate are completely forbidden. Also make sure your dog can’t accidentally lap up any alcoholic beverages while you don’t notice. Even a small amount of alcohol can cause poisoning in animals.

If despite of being careful your dog has eaten something poisonous, making them throw up is the first aid. The safest way to help a dog throw up is to feed 3ml 3% hydrogen peroxide solution per weight in kgs. After that, contact the on call vet immediately, as making the dog throw up may not empty their stomach properly.

Though it’s tempting to treat your best friend with Christmas foods, a sudden change in diet or over-eating isn’t healthy. So treat your dog by giving her your time and doing things that she likes the most. Go for walks, play games, and do an agility practice on the OneMind Dogs Christmas Tree Course!

New Year’s Eve fireworks: how to prepare your dog

Keep calm

If you are stressed from the holiday hustle and bustle — your dog will be stressed too. Stay calm, it’ll help your dog stay calm too. If your dog is nervous, try not make a big deal out of it. Dogs will often will take a cue from you and mirror that behavior.

Lead with body language

While soothing words can help calm our nerves, body language is what dogs naturally understand and responds to first. When it comes to dogs, non-verbal communication speaks much louder than any words you could possibly say. Communicate to your dog that it’s okay to hide in a safe place by showing him—not telling them—where to go. This could be a bed or your dog’s crate.

Reassure with play and rewards

Reward your dog throughout the day using treats, or their favorite toys. After all, they’re a real champ for making it through such a loud, exciting holiday! To keep your dog interested in following your lead, spend time finding which reward works best as an incentive.

Prepare well in advance

If you’re in an area of the world where gathering over NYE is appropriate, consider your dog when making plans. While if you’re hosting yourself, choose a place where your dog can rest and take a break from the action.

However, if you’re leaving your dog at home, be sure to give them all they need to make it through the evening. Another pro tip: Leave one of your unwashed shirts out for them to cuddle up to if they get nervous; the familiar smell may help calm them down.

Share your holiday celebrations with us!

How are you and your pups celebrating the holiday season? Share on Instagram and tag #oneminddogs so the OneMind Dogs community around the world can celebrate together.

Follow OneMind Dogs on Instagram!

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