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  • Writer's pictureSally Tran

Top 5 Dog-Friendly Holiday Activities

The holiday season is a perfect time to make fun and amazing memories with your dogs. There are so many things that you can do and see together leading up to the new year. Below are just some top suggestions on how you can make this time memorable with your fur babies:

1. Get Your Holiday Shopping Done Together

Rather than leaving your fur babies at home alone while you shop for gifts all day, consider bringing them with you to enjoy the experience even more! These days, there are so many stores that you can visit with your leashed dogs, including Nordstrom, Macy’s, Marshalls and TJ Maxx. Many local outdoor shopping centers are also highly dog-friendly, including Irvine Spectrum, Fashion Island in Newport Beach, Pacific City in Huntington Beach, and The Grove in Los Angeles. These shopping centers are all beautifully decorated for the holidays, and you might even get the chance to pose together with Santa in between your shopping. They also feature many restaurants that offer dog-friendly outdoor dining if you need a quick break from shopping. The Great Maple at Fashion Island even has their own doggy menu with delicious bacon and burger patties. If you need to get your Christmas lights or décor, your dogs are also welcome to join you at larger home improvement stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot.

2. Get Your Dogs Their Own Christmas Gifts and Stockings

Chances are that your dogs have been on the “nice” list this year, so be sure to show them so love this holiday season with new toys and yummy treats. Hang up stockings by the fireplace for your fur babies, and maybe even wrap some of their gifts and put them under the tree so that your dogs also get a nice surprise on Christmas Day. Jax & Bones and The Pet Shop by Fringe Studio are just some of the many great toy brands that you can check out online if you want to purchase unique holiday-themed toys for your dog. If you enjoy baking, you can even look up some recipes for your dogs on Pinterest and gift them with yummy home-made treats. However, don’t fret if you are less savvy in the kitchen, as there are many wonderful local dog bakeries that you can visit to get specially made, gourmet treats for your dogs. Woofpak Kitchen, located at Irvine Spectrum and The District at Tustin, Top Dog Barkery in Huntington Beach, and Jackboy Dog Bakery in Anaheim are just a few great local spots you can visit. Woofpak Kitchen even offers a special “Howliday Barkcuterie” Bar this season for you to create your very own snack board for your fur babies.

3. Attend a Pet-Friendly Holiday Event

There are many fun local events that you can attend with your fur babies leading up to Christmas. You can stay in the loop through social media and local city websites on major events happening throughout December. For instance, there are many local boat parades in Huntington Harbor, Naples Island, and Newport Beach that happen in mid-December. Bring your dogs with you to watch beautifully decorated yachts, boats, and kayaks sail along these local harbors. You can also head to San Diego later in the month to participate in their annual Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade. Last year, more than 100 dogs and their families showed up in elaborate themed costumes and parade floats in celebration of the holidays. After the pet parade takes place, there is a “Pups at the Pub” after-party that includes beer tastings, live music, holiday costume contests, and fun games that you can enjoy with your dogs.

4. Include Your Dog in Family Photos

There are endless possibilities with the types of pictures that you can take with your dogs during the Christmas season- making it the perfect holiday activity! You can dress up your fur babies or place them in front of different holiday-themed backgrounds. You can also go through local pet photographers, such as The Salty Dog Studio, to capture professional portraits of both you and your dogs. Once you take your photos, you can share them with family and friends through social media, email, or even via printed Christmas cards. Fun fact: according to the American Animal Hospital Association, surveys found that 70% of people include their pet’s name on greeting cards.

5. Enjoy the Christmas Lights Together

Strolling through neighborhood Christmas lights is a great way to enjoy quality time with your family that your dogs can also be a part of. There are many local areas that you can check out together, and even get in some exercise with your fur babies along the way. One great place to visit is the Zimmerman House on Balboa Island (327 Sapphire Ave)- which can be viewed by car, foot or boat. This award-winning house features animated décor and even a machine from the rooftop that dispenses real snow. Eagle Hills in Brea (2960-2970 Primrose Ave) is another great spot with around 100 homes participating in holiday lights displays. All through December, you can drive or walk through the street to enjoy the lights, décor, live music and live nativity scenes. You can also visit Candy Cane Lane in El Segundo (1200 E Acacia St) or Woodland Hills (5966 Lubao Ave)- which is one of the most popular residential areas for holiday light viewing. You will see lights strung from every house along those streets, with each home featuring their own unique holiday theme. Candy Cane Lane is so popular that police typically barricade off the roads to ensure pedestrian safety.


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