Puppy Pampering

Coddling Your Canine During The Hectic Holiday Season
Original article published in Circa Magazine October – December 2013

With the holidays fast approaching, it will be easy to get overwhelmed with working, shopping, entertaining, and all of the children’s activities. So take a moment to close your eyes and imagine an escape to your favorite spa. Picture yourself starting the day with a light breakfast, and then heading down to the spa for a relaxing massage, complete with a full manicure and pedicure, and completing it with a little shopping – the perfect way to pamper yourself during the stress of the holidays. But what about your canine companion? He loves to be treated to those little luxuries as well.

Following are a few suggestions on how you can spoil your furry, four-legged friend on a light budget this hectic holiday season, while helping to de-stress yourself at the same time.

There is nothing better than enjoying a delicious homemade meal at the end of a long day, and the same goes for your dog. Treats you can make yourself – like bacon bites, cheese cookies, and peanut butter biscuits – are tasty and perfectly healthy for your pet when given in small quantities, and are very easy to prepare. Making your own treats at home or purchasing all-natural, locally-made treats isn’t only a tasty and creative way to pamper your pet this holiday season, but is also a great way to know exactly what you are feeding her, as many dog treats contain unnecessary additives, just like human food. Pick your favorite from the many recipes available online or at local canine bakeries.

After a long busy week, I am often tired and sometimes feeling a bit stressed. Our pets hold stress in their muscles just like we do. We love our massages, and our pets love to be rubbed as well, so why not give Fido a dog massage? Massages can increase his circulation, promote his flexibility, and eliminate his stress. While there are massage therapists that will work on dogs, you can simply try rubbing his muscles in the comfort of your home. If your pooch groans, that’s a good sign.

Your dog might not need a bath or haircut at this particular moment, but regular brushing at home is a great way to make her feel like she just left the salon. This will remove any debris and mats from her coat, and will also give you an opportunity to check her out for any adverse skin conditions, lumps, bumps, or parasites that may have taken residence on her. She will surely appreciate and love you for the added attention you are giving.

There are dog-specific salons around that provide pampering services like blueberry or cucumber facials, sweet brown sugar or sea salt scrubs, and “paw-dicures.” I know what you’re thinking … facials and paw-dicures for a pup? Our pets’ paws are often overlooked and their nails can grow too long, becoming a bit painful and scary looking. Take the time either at home or at a pet salon with assistance to have your pet’s nails trimmed, and if desired, add a little color that compliments her sassy personality during the holiday’s many festivities.

Dogs love nothing more than spending the day frolicking outside. After all, it’s in their nature to run and play. Pick a nice day to visit a local park, greenway, or lake and have a picnic with your pooch. Pack some food for the both of you, then spend the day running, playing, and enjoying the beautiful, crisp weather. A few games of fetch with a Frisbee or tennis ball or jumping in a pile of autumn leaves is a great way to keep your dog active – and you can get a little exercise as well, helping to fend off those pesky holiday pounds.

At the end of a day of puppy pampering, I have not only spoiled my pet, but I have also had an opportunity to de-stress myself as well – something that is often needed, especially during the chaos of the holiday season. Talk about time management!