This holiday season, show your four-legged friend just how much she means to you with a little pampering. Let your love shine through to your little sidekick by making her day, every day, during the holidays and beyond with these tips. Read on to discover how to pamper your pooch.
1) Set aside some time for your dog every day.
There never seems like there is enough time in the day to get everything done, but spending time with your dog every day is an important way to show her that she is loved and cared for. Each day, be sure to set aside some time to spend with your furry friend.
- This could be something as simple as snuggling up together in front of the TV or cuddling with her while you read a favorite book.
- Going to be spending time on the computer for work or just to browse the internet? Set up a doggie bed next to you so that your pooch can spend time with you.
- Place your pup’s crate or kennel within your living room or whatever space you use the most in your home. That way, she will always be a part of the action when she is in her safe space.
2) Spend time outdoors together with your dog.
Everyone needs to get out, inhale the fresh air, get a little vitamin D from the sun and have some fun, including your pooch. A little outdoor fun is a great way to pamper your pooch.
- Visit your local dog park to give her a chance to socialize with other canines and enjoy a good run off-leash. The Ontario Veterinary Medical Association recommends daily exercise and this is a great way to get it.
- If you can’t get to the park, make your backyard dog-friendly by clearing away brush and thorny plants that could harm your dog. This way, you can play fun games like fetch by simply heading out your back door.
- Set up an agility course to give your pup a fun workout that lets her slide, jump, run and explore with you so that she not only spends time with you but also has a chance to get some much-needed exercise.
3) Teach your dog new tricks.
Who doesn’t love learning new things? Teaching your pup tricks is a great way to give her some mental exercise and help the two of you bond. This is especially true when there are treats involved!
- Train your pup at home using a clicker and some delicious treats like little pieces of hot dogs or bits of cooked chicken to positively reinforce the behaviors you want.
- Lead your pup into the behaviors you want and reward those behaviors with a treat. Remember to stay positive during the training so your pup enjoys it.
- Don’t know how to get started? Contact a trainer to see if they offer one-on-one sessions for your furry friend.
- Only work with trainers who uses positive reinforcement training techniques, not punishments and other negative training methods, recommends the Ontario SPCA and Humane Society. You want to keep training fun for Lassie – after all, you’re trying to pamper her!
4) Play indoors with your dog sometimes.
With the exception of your dog’s potty breaks, you might not have the chance to head outdoors for extended periods of time. That’s because the weather isn’t always that pleasant so you might be trapped indoors during rainstorms and snowstorms. That doesn’t mean that you should deprive your pooch of some much-needed fun.
- If you can’t play a rousing game with your dog outside, why not play inside too? Not all games require the outdoors.
- Teach your dog to find her favorite toys after hiding them within the same room or another one. Better yet, teach your dog to pick up all of her toys and put them away in a basket.
- Play indoor hide-and-seek with your dog. Simply pick a spot to hide within your home and call for your dog to find you. It’s also a great way to practice her skills with the “Stay” and “Come” commands.
- A fun game of tug-of-war is good anywhere, anytime, even indoors.
5) Feed your dog something yummy.
Eating shouldn't be a chore for anyone, including your four-legged friend. Give her something delicious that she will look forward to eating each day. You can even try out a few different foods at once, seeing which dish your dog heads for the most. Then feed her foods from that same brand so she won’t experience any tummy upset from dietary changes.
- Look for foods tailored specifically to your dog’s age, weight and dietary concerns.
- Don’t give your dog table scraps. Although most pups love a treat from the table, it’s more than likely to cause her some tummy upset, which isn’t fun for her or for you.
- Stick to commercial foods or homemade diets approved by your veterinarian.
- Always feed your dog according to the package directions. Overfeeding Lassie isn’t showing her love and could make her obese.
6) Hire a pet sitter or walker for your dog.
If you're gone all day, that can leave your furry friend bored and lonely. A pet sitter or walker can check on them during the day and even play some games with them too.
- Check out Rover, which features many qualified dog walkers and sitters who can look after your pooch when you aren’t around.
- Be sure to tell the dog walker or sitter what your pup’s food preferences are so that he can feed her the correction food and portion that you specify.
- Discuss what types of activities you pooch loves, including her favorite games, and nearby parks that the walker can visit with your pup.
By having someone stop by to check on your dog during the day, you know that your little one is having fun and being pampered when you aren't there, rather than chewing on your shoes.
7) Purchase interactive dog toys.
You may not be around to play with your pooch for most of the day, especially during the week, but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep her occupied. That’s where interactive toys can help you out.
- Invest in some simple puzzle toys that you can hide your furry buddy's snacks in. With these types of toys, your pooch has to work for her food so she won’t just scarf it all down at once. Plus, it will keep her busy for hours.
- Check out toys that you can record your voice on for Lassie to play with. Each time she plays with these toys, she’ll hear your voice which will make her super happy.
- You'll even find toys that play fetch automatically with your dog. You simply teach your dog to put the ball back into the slot that “throws” the ball out to your dog to retrieve.
- Best yet, there are toys you can use to check in on your dog using a video camera and that you can use to treat your pup with. These toys work with an app that you can use to call over your dog and press a button to deliver a treat to her.
8) Set up doggie play dates.
Playdates aren’t just for kids – they are for dogs too. Keep your pooch well-socialized by setting up some play dates with fellow furry friends.
- Get together on weekend in your backyard with human friends and have them bring their furry sidekicks.
- Meet up with fellow dog owners at the local dog park for lots of fun interaction.
- Grab a snack at a local dog-friendly café with some fellow dog-owning friends.
- Keep interactions friendly by providing lots of treats and praise for positive interactions.
9) Give your dog a spa treatment.
Who doesn’t love a spa day? Daily tooth brushing keeps teeth healthy, combing fur removes debris and regular spot cleaning will keep your pooch clean, plus it's pretty relaxing to have your fur brushed as it just feels nice. If your pooch is a little stinky, a nice warm bath is a great way to make her smell good and remove any dirt from her fur. Remember to use some pet-specific shampoo that's gentle on her skin. Or give your pooch a massage. That’s right – just like people, pets love a massage and it’s great for older pets who may suffer from arthritis.
10) Make your home dog-friendly.
Your furry little buddy lives with you, so why not make your home as dog-friendly as possible for her?
- Put a few comfy dog beds in your home to provide your pooch with relaxing spots to nap during the day. This is also a great way to keep Lassie off of your furniture too because she’ll have her own to enjoy.
- Install a covered dog run in your yard that your pooch can access through a doggie door. This is the perfect way for her to get some exercise when she wants, even in inclement weather. It also prevents her from escaping from your yard because it’s fully enclosed.
- Always have a bowl of fresh water for your pooch or, better yet, a pet fountain that gives her running water to enjoy.
11) Give treats for cuddles with your dog.
Having some snuggle time with your furry friend is fun for you both. Why not encourage this behavior with some yummy treats to reward your dog for cuddles? And include a few snacks for yourself too so that you both have a yummy treat after a long day. This way, the two of you can cuddle up and enjoy each other's company while also getting an extra-special treat too. For humans, cookies are optional but encouraged during said snuggle time. What do you do to pamper your pooch each day?