Fido has good reason to look forward to the holidays. This year, pet owners will spend $76 on average on their furry friends’ gifts. If you’re searching for the perfect way to celebrate the season with your pup, you’ve come to the right place. From homemade dog treats to luxury retreats at pet-friendly hotels, here are 10 of our favorite gifts and festive activities to deck the paws with any size budget.
Posted by Erin Ballinger
1. Baking With Your Best Friend
Holiday baking isn’t just for humans. ‘Tis the season to spend some time in the kitchen whipping up delicious dog treats for Fido. The smells of these baked goods cooking will have your dog licking his chops in anticipation. These goodies make great stocking stuffers, gifts for friends at the dog park, or additions to your pup’s “pawliday” feast. Best of all, they’re healthy and fun to make (with canine supervision, of course)!
Gingerbread Mailmen Dog Treats
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 cup molasses
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup very hot water
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a gingerbread man cakelet pan, 9x13-inch pan, or cupcake pan with cooking spray.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together applesauce, egg and molasses until smooth and creamy.
- In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients together (flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt.)
- Add dry ingredients to the wet mixture and stir to combine. Slowly pour in the hot water and stir until smooth (batter will be thin).
- Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 15-20 minutes for cakelets or cupcakes, 25-30 minutes for a 9x13-inch pan, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
- If you’re feeling creative, decorate the Gingerbread Mailmen with berries, apple slices, bananas, carrots or Greek yogurt immediately before serving.
“Howliday” Sugar Cookies
- 2 cups flour (whole wheat or unbleached)
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon water
- cinnamon and sugar for dusting
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper or grease with cooking spray.
- Combine all of the ingredients until they form a soft dough. Add a bit more water if the dough is too dry.
- Roll out the dough on a floured surface and use holiday or dog-themed cookie cutters to cut out cookies.
- Place on the cookie sheet and bake for about 8-10 minutes or until the edges start to turn brown.
- Remove from oven and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Allow the cookies to cool before serving.
I’ll Have a Blue(berry) Christmas Pup Pies
Pup Pie Crusts
- 3/4 cup flour (whole wheat or a mixture of all-purpose and whole wheat)
- 1/2 cup ground oatmeal
- 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 3-4 tablespoons water
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray muffin pan with cooking spray.
- Grind oatmeal into a fine powder using a food processor or blender.
- Combine oatmeal and flour in a bowl. Slowly stir in the applesauce.
- Slowly add water until a ball is formed.
- Roll out the dough on a floured surface and cut out circles around 4 inches in diameter.
- Press into a mini muffin pan. Trim the edges with a knife. Use a toothpick to punch holes in the pie crust.
- Bake for about 8-10 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let crusts cool before removing from the pan.
Blueberry Pup Pie Filling
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt (do not use low-fat or sugar-free, which may contain Xylitol, a sugar substitute that’s toxic to dogs)
- Puree blueberries and water in a blender or with an immersion blender.
- Mix together Greek yogurt and blueberries.
- Fill pie crusts with the blueberry and yogurt mixture and let chill in the refrigerator or serve immediately. If desired, top with whipped cream.
2. Take a Snapshot With Santa Paws
Need a new photo for your holiday cards? Or maybe you just want a hilarious pic of your pooch with jolly old St. Nick to share with your friends and family on social media (using #BringFido, of course)? Check out our tips for getting great pix of your pup and places where you can find Father Christmas in a pet-friendly photo studio this yuletide season.
3. Sniff Out the “Pawfect” Tree With Fido
O Christmas tree, how lovely are your branches … Take your four-legged elf to one of these pet-friendly Christmas tree farms and find the best tree for your home. Most Christmas tree farms open the Friday after Thanksgiving, and many welcome leashed dogs to join you on the hunt for the perfect Tannenbaum.
4. Run or Walk in a Pet-Friendly Christmas Race
Run, run, Fido! Santa’s gotta make it to town! The holidays are filled with fattening temptations, so get moving and work off those additional calories by participating in a pet-friendly Christmas race. Help raise money for charity, spread joy with matching costumes and make room for those extra treats with a jolly jog. If running’s not your thing, check out one of these reindog parades with your pup instead.
5. Find Fido the “Pawfect” Present
Once you’ve made your list and checked it twice, the hunt is on for a gift that your four-legged friend will love. From comfy new beds and blankets to plush chew toys, we’ve dug up 12 of our favorite presents for cats and dogs that will have them purring and barking with joy.
6. Take a Tropical Vacation With Your Pet
A white Christmas isn’t for every dog. Travel to warmer weather and enjoy a bright and sunny holiday at one of these pet-friendly tropical vacation destinations this year. Fido can swim laps in a pet pool in Thailand, run off-leash on Cabbage Beach in the Bahamas, or sleep all day in a plush dog bed provided by Eden Roc at Cap Cana in the Dominican Republic. Sounds like a tempting alternative to chasing snowflakes, doesn’t it?
7. Go Shopping at a Dog-Friendly Christmas Market
Whether it’s in France or Philly, these 12 pet-friendly Christmas markets are shopping experiences worth the trip. Breathtaking light displays, ice sculptures, local holiday food and drink, and handmade gifts are just a few reasons these traditional markets are so special. For the best shopping experience with your pup, try to visit during off-peak times, keep your pooch leashed at all times, and only take Fido if he’s comfortable in busy surroundings.
8. Stay at a Pet-Friendly Resort With Over-the-Top Holiday Amenities
Imagine you and your pooch dashing through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh. This and many other festive activities might be possible at these 10 dog-friendly resorts that go all out for the holidays. Bedazzled by more than four million LED lights, Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort is a pet-friendly hotel in the desert with lots of holiday fun for you and Santa’s little yelper to enjoy.
9. Visit a Small Town for a Down-Home Christmas
Sure, big cities are buzzing with holiday action. However, if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of large crowds, head to one of these quaint small towns this Christmas. Festivals, light displays and parades are just a few of the festivities that dogs are welcome to attend, and even a simple stroll through these decorated communities will fill you with holiday cheer.
10. Catch a Christmas Light Display With Fido
Twinkling lights on a chilly night can turn almost anywhere into a magical winter wonderland during the holidays. These 10 Christmas light displays welcome you and your four-legged friend to be enchanted by drive-through exhibits or walk among the illuminations. It’s a lovely way to get into the holiday spirit.
What’s your favorite way to celebrate the holidays with your dog? Leave a comment or tweet us @BringFido!
BringFido is committed to providing authentic dog-friendly content that our readers will love. We may at times receive compensation from our partners or use affiliate links to promote products and services featured on our blog. Banner photo by Erin Ballinger.