How to enjoy the holidays with your pet

Don’t forget your furry family member when planning festive fun. Here are some ways to include pets

How to enjoy the holidays with your pet

Source: Best Health magazine, December 2012; Image: Thinkstock

Get snappy with Santa

Many pet stores and even some malls across Canada hold pet-friendly photo ops with the jolly fellow in the bright red suit. PetSmart’s Santa Claws event takes place on weekends through December. Kelley Moore, PetSmart’s associate manager for public relations and social media, says pet lovers can bring in their dog, cat, hamster, rabbit’even their reptile’for some holiday-season photo fun. ‘Any pet can see Santa,’ she says. For every photo package purchased, PetSmart will donate $5 to help local charities save the lives of homeless animals.

Wrap wisely

December sees a multitude of pet paraphernalia flooding shop shelves. Pick up some festive toys, bedding or clothes for your pet, but be careful about what type of wrapping paper you use for his gift (and for that matter, for any gifts left under the tree). Shiny foil wrapping, and ribbons and bows, can cause intestinal lacerations or blockages if eaten by your pet. And always supervise your pet’s gift-opening theatrics.

Make pet munchies

We humans may love the chocolate and candy that is gifted over the season, but it’s toxic to our pets. So keep it up and out of reach’but instead of leaving pets out, bake up a batch of holiday treats tailored especially for their tastes. The Martha Stewart Pets section of PetSmart’s website offers drool-worthy recipes that your dog will love.

Donate in your pet’s name

This time of year is perfect to reflect, and help others in need. Why not make a donation to an animal charity on behalf of your pet? According to Barbara Cartwright, CEO of the Ottawa-based Canadian Federation of Humane Societies, Canada has almost 200 SPCAs and humane societies, most of which are completely reliant on community fin­ancial support. ‘The donations we get in December are essential, so remembering your local humane society or SPCA is critical to their ongoing success for the next year,’ she says. ‘It’s a great way to celebrate your pet and assist other animals who aren’t as fortunate to have a home.’

Funds a bit low? You can help vet clinics and animal shelters with donations of old towels and blankets, pet carriers, pet food, bags of kitty litter and toys.

This article was originally titled "No mistletoe required" in the December 2012 issue of Best Health. Subscribe today to get the full Best Health experience’and never miss an issue!

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