Santa Paws Is Coming to a Photo Shoot Near You

Posted by Jessica Roberts

Here comes Santa Claus! ‘Tis the season to snap the cutest, sweetest and sometimes most hilarious photo of your pooch with the big bearded fellow in the red coat to share with your friends and family (and #BringFido, of course). We’ve created our very own “nice list” of tips for getting the most precious portrait of your Christmas canine with jolly old St. Nick.

  1. Start Fresh - Take a tip from the pros and bring your pup’s comb and some pet wipes with you so he is perfectly groomed for his photos. And don’t forget to shine up his pearly whites to capture those sweet smiles. Santa will certainly appreciate the fresh breath, too!
  2. Dress to Impress - While your little cutie is absolutely perfect just as she is, if you want to add a little extra pizzazz to her pic, a classy Christmas dress (make that a festive bow tie for the gents) or reindeer antlers are always a great addition for the occasion.
  3. Bring the Treats - The secret to getting award-winning puppy grins? Reward your good boy’s behavior (or bribe him) with some of his favorite snacks.
  4. Get Involved - Put your pooch at ease and capture her attention by standing behind the camera. If she’s a bit camera shy, just jump right in the photo with her! But if you're taking the shot, make sure to get down on her level for the most angelic angle.
  5. Embrace the Imperfections - Sometimes, the silliest Santa pics make the best holiday memories.

So, where can you take your furry elf to strike a pose with Mr. Kringle? The good news is that you probably won’t have far to travel, no matter where you live. From one-day events to ongoing "Pet Nights with Santa," here's where you can go for Fido’s festive photo op this year.

1. Pet Pics with Santa Claus for a Cause

Various Locations
“Oh Em Gee it’s really you!” Photo by Donna a

It’s a well-known fact that Mr. Claus loves paws (and hooves and claws and flippers, too). That’s why it’s no surprise to learn that he’s a regular fixture at pet shelters during the holiday season. Many shelters take the opportunity to host or partner with local pet-friendly businesses to offer pet pics with Santa and raise funds or promote pet adoptions.

Here are just a few of our favorite places to snap a shot of your pup’s cute mug with Father Christmas while supporting a good cause:

Support a good cause and bring home an adorable holiday keepsake ... it’s a Christmas win for everyone!

2. Pet Nights With Santa at the Mall

Various Locations
“Ho, ho, woof!” Photo by Facebook.com/thesantaexperienceMN

Even malls that typically don’t permit four-legged shoppers may open their doors for them to sit with Santa and tell him what good boys and girls they’ve been this year. Here are a few of the jolliest mall Santas who welcome furry friends:

The Pet Night! with Santa Claus at Mall of America is a unique opportunity for your pooch to have a one-on-one with St. Nick. After Fido whispers his wish, you can purchase photos, videos and Christmas merchandise like commemorative frames, snow globes, ornaments and keychains.

The Pet Photos with Santa at FlatIron Crossing takes place at Santa HQ, a modern technological twist on the traditional version of a North Pole wonderland created by home improvement conglomerate HGTV. At this fancy setup, you can take an Elfie Selfie with your buddy, place Fido’s paws on the Naughty or Nice O’Meter to find out if he’s getting bones or coal in his stocking this year, and enjoy a light show together before capturing a memorable snapshot with the big man.

More than 100 Simon malls across the country will be hosting a special pets-only night for dogs and cats to get their holiday photos with Kris Kringle. Check here to see if and when the location nearest you is hosting Pet Photos with Santa this year.

3. Santa Photo Days at PetSmart

Various Locations
Who Wore It Best, beard edition. Photo by Facebook.com/PetSmart

Fido loves to join you to pick out food, treats and toys at PetSmart, but he’s going to be holly jolly when he learns that, for two weekends in December, your shopping trip can include a visit and photoshoot with Mr. Claus. The annual Santa Photo Days at PetSmart gives pet parents the opportunity to capture an adorable snapshot of their pooch with Kris Kringle after doing a little browsing for the “pawfect” gift.

You will receive a free digital photo from PetSmart, and you’re welcome to take your own pics as well. The event will take place at participating PetSmart locations from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, December 14 and 15 and December 21 and 22.

4. Santa’s Wonderland at Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops

Various Locations
“Which of these gifts is for me?” Photo by @paisleyannedoodle

The outdoor sporting goods specialists at Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s (both stores are owned by the same company) welcome dogs inside to shop all year long. Starting on November 15 at every location, pups can get their photos taken with Santa for free. Seeing Mr. Claus requires a ticket that assigns your time slot. When you arrive at the store, visit the Bass Pass Ticket Depot next to Santa’s Wonderland to reserve your place in the virtual line, and then shop the store while you wait for your turn. Bass Passes are free, but only a limited number are granted per day.

Santa arrives on Saturday, November 16 at 5 p.m. and will be available for photos every day until Christmas Eve. You’ll receive a free 4x6 studio-quality portrait of your dog with St. Nick, and other photo packages and Christmas cards are available for purchase and instant print at the store.

5. Photos with Santa at Petco

Various Locations
“I’ve been a very, very good boy this year.” Photo by Facebook.com/PetcoFoundation

Petco will be hosting Santa Claus on December 7, 14 15 at participating Petco locations for its 2019 Photos with Santa event. Capture your canine’s big grin when he meets the world’s most generous two-legged gift-giver, and pick out a few items to put on his wishlist while you’re there. Check with your local Petco store to find out what time the sleigh will be arriving. The event costs $9.95, and all proceeds benefit animal welfare organizations in your local community through the Petco Foundation.

6. Santa Paws Comes to Pet Supplies Plus

Various Locations
Say “puppermint!” Photo by Facebook.com/Pet-Supplies-Plus-Bloomfield-Hills

If your pal needs a little face time with Father Christmas to get back on his nice list, check with your local Pet Supplies Plus location to find out when they expect his arrival this year. The man with a belly like a bowl full o’ jelly will be at store locations as early as December 1 and is only too happy to pose for photos with the whole fam: kids, dogs, cats, birds, iguanas or any harmonious combination thereof. Keep your eye out for some of your best bud’s favorite stocking stuffers while you’re there.

7. Picture Your Pets with Santa at Feeders Supply

Various Locations
Mr. Claus loves paws! Photo by Facebook.com/feederssupplyco

Feeders Supply is a pet store with 20 locations in Kentucky and Southern Indiana that also provides pet wash stations, dog training classes, pet wellness clinics and pet nutrition counseling. The stores will be hosting St. Nick during two weekends at all locations, with all proceeds donated to local animal rescues.

Picture Your Pets with Santa will be held on December 7 and 8 and December 14 and 15 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Photo packages start at $12, and you can also purchase commemorative items featuring your pet's pic including ornaments, mugs, and key chains. For a list of local animal rescues supported by this event, visit the Feeders Supply website.

8. Purina Farms Pet-acular Holiday Bazaar

Gray Summit, MO
“Now bring us some Milk-Bone and cookies.” Photo by Facebook.com/PurinaFarms

Santa and Mrs. Claus will be the guests of honor at the Purina Farms Pet-acular Holiday Bazaar, a family-friendly holiday event especially for dogs. Pups can participate in a variety of games and activities, like agility courses and herding events, and watch canine acrobatics demonstrations while they wait their turn for a photo. Help Fido get a little higher on the nice list and donate new, unwrapped pet supply items like collars, harnesses, dog leashes, Purina brand dog food, dog and cat sweaters, KONG and other hard plastic toys, or blankets as presents for pets in shelters. In exchange for your donation, make a free paw print ornament with your pooch. Then, shop for one-of-a-kind gifts made by local artisans for all the dogs on your list.

The Purina Farms Pet-acular Holiday Bazaar will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on December 14 and Dec 15 at Purina Farms’ indoor event center. No reservations are necessary, and admission is free. Photos with Santa are $5.

9. “A Major Event” - A Christmas Story Reenactment

Hammond, IN
“You’ll shoot your eye out, kid.” Photo by Facebook.com/achristmasstorycomeshome

Take a trip to Indiana and stop at the welcome center to partake in a unique reenactment of “A Christmas Story’s” famous Santa scene with your candy canine. “A Christmas Story” Comes Home is an annual tribute to the beloved movie, with seven replica scenes from the film to enjoy and collectible leg lamps for purchase. On Wag Your Tail Wednesdays, bring your pets for the holiday photo op of a lifetime. St. Nick awaits Fido atop a replica of Santa’s Mountain from the movie, complete with a red slide and a pillow of snow at the bottom.

The Indiana Welcome Center is about 20 minutes from Chicago and 2 hours from Indianapolis, but you could walk there from your room at the pet-friendly Residence Inn by Marriott Hammond.

Where is your Christmas canine going for photos with Santa? 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 Facebook.com/thesantaexperienceMN.