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Dog Lovers' Holiday Survival Guide

Getting Through the Holiday Season With Your Dog

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The holiday season can be both fun and stressful, but proper planning can help prevent the latter. Your dog can tell when you are stressed out, so it can affect her too. As the winter holidays approach, we can become overwhelmed with all the preparations that go into festivities and gift giving. However, your dog and loved ones just want you to be happy and healthy. So, make a list and check it twice, but don't go overboard. Learn how to make the holiday season go smoothly for you and your dog, whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Solstice or anything else.

1. Holiday Safety for Dogs

Photo of Dog Staring at Food
Photo Chris Amaral / Getty Images
First and foremost, you need to maintain a safe environment for your dog. With the holidays come new decorations, tempting foods and all kinds of trouble for a curious dog. Take plenty of precautions and prevent a New Year's Eve trip to the animal emergency clinic.

2. Great Gifts for Dog Lovers

Gifts with dogs and owner
Photo © Dennis Wise/Getty Images
Think the dog lover in your life has everything? Think again. Here are some gift ideas that should make just about any dog lover smile this holiday. If you still cannot decide what to give, do not fret. When in doubt, a gift card to the local pet supply store will be much appreciated.

3. Top Dog Gifts

Dog Opening Holiday Gifts
photo © footloosiety on flickr
Our dogs might not know it's the holiday season, but that doesn't mean they wont enjoy opening gifts. While some people may think that giving presents to dogs is "out there," most dog owners actually do give presents to their dogs. With all the hustle and bustle, your dog will enjoy the extra attention. Plus, getting a good laugh out of watching your dog tear into wrapping paper can be entertaining.

4. Why Dogs are Not Gifts

Picture of Dog in Gift Box - Gift Dog Photo
Photo © Andersen Ross/Getty Images
A new puppy in a bow on Christmas morning is the stuff of children's dreams. However, this is as far as it should go. As cute as it may seem to give a new dog as a gift, it can actually be a terrible idea. Holiday gift dogs can be soon forgotten like all the new toys and gadgets. Video games and dolls are one thing, but a dog is alive and in need of attention. If someone you care about is interested in getting a dog, give a book about dog ownership or a dog accessory as a gift. After the holidays, if that person is truly ready for a dog, you can go along to pick one out.

5. Traveling with Dogs

dog in carrier, mutt
Photo © Chris Hondros / Getty Images
For many of us, the holiday season means traveling. As a dog lover, you probably want to spend holiday time with your dog. But is bringing her along always the best choice? If you do decide to travel with your dog, make sure you make all the arrangements ahead of time and cover your bases. Last minute issues are bound to crop up, but proper planning can prevent holiday disaster.

6. Holiday Dog Photos

Photo © Sarah Berg
Phew! After all that, it's time to take a break. Relax and check out some adorable photos of dogs that are ready for the holidays. These cuties have nothing to be stressed about, and we could learn a lesson or two from them.

Got some cute holiday dog photos of your own? Send them in to see them featured in the gallery.

7. Giving Back: Charitable Gifts

Photo Joe Raedle / Getty Images
The holiday season is a time of giving, and many of us want to reach out and help others. While pet charities need plenty of help all year long, the holiday season is a wonderful time to get started. You can help homeless, sick and unfortunate animals by volunteering your time, donating funds and supplies, or just setting a good example. Here's how to start giving back right now.
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