On Our Way To A Merry Petmas, Kutie Kwanzaa, & Happy Houndukkah!


The holidays are right around the corner, and as usual, I find myself scrambling last minute to try and gather everything together in time. I’m excited, yet at the same time anxious, all in one.  

Let’s face it, this year has been tough, what with Covid and the presidential election – and  the holidays are proving no less. Events and parties have been cancelled, shopping is all online, and I don’t know about everyone else, but it looks like I won’t be able to connect with my own family in person this year. A lot of ‘gatherings’ will have to be done virtually, so I count my blessings that I at least have Huckleberry and Bobo, by my side. My plan is to go all out on decorations to add some good vibes and cheer within my own four walls.

As I shop and click, I’m reminded of holidays past. Many of my family’s stories revolve around kids of course, but there are some equally favorite stories about our dogs or the dogs we looked after. 

I remember good old Delia, an ancient Doberman who slept all day and barely even twitched her ears. However, the minute we handed her a gift, she’d suddenly bounce up like the baby she once was, and in complete excitement, tear right through all the wrapping in one swipe to uncover the big treat inside. 

Then there was Nylie, a mid-sized mutt, who loved to wriggle under the tree skirt. I have no idea what she found so interesting under there, but we always had to keep an eye on her. Sure enough, one fine day when we left her unattended for just a couple of minutes, the tree came crashing down. By the time I ran across the two rooms to see, it was already total chaos with ornaments cracked on the floor, garlands splayed out everywhere, some of the presents crushed, and a couple of the cats already pawing through things. My initial reaction was to yell and reprimand her, but Nylie was nowhere in sight. It took a little while, but we finally found her behind the sofa, crouched down trying to make herself as small as possible. She looked so miserable that all I could do was pick her up and cradle her. Poor little thing.

And then there was Mimi, a little West Highland White Terrier. She was quite the character – and smart. Her owners loved to dress her up in all kinds of outfits. I watched the ‘show’, and it was curious to see how she pretended to be humiliated with all the fuss and bother…but by the time we hit outdoors, she’d look up slyly at me and then start showing off her look to other dogs passing by. Just like a mini human!

In and around all this, it’s clear that dogs can and should play a role in our merry  festivities. They might not know what the meaning of the holidays are, but they feed off of our excitement and are thrilled when we actively include them. But it’s easy to get carried away too far and that’s when things can go wrong all too quickly. 

So here are a few DO’s and DON’Ts to keep in mind.


  • Do involve your fur baby in the festivities and buy them a little gift so that they feel included, part of the ‘family’, and have a turn too when names are being called out.
  • Do collect all wrappers and ribbons immediately as gifts are being opened to ensure that nothing is lying around for your dog to chew or swallow. Ribbons are nasty for the intestines.
  • Do create a quiet space if things get too busy and your dog needs a place a bit out of the way where they can calm down.


  • Don’t feed your dog any chocolate. It contains theobromine, a caffeine like molecule that increases blood flow to the brain and is hard for dogs to process. While it may not be fatal right away depending on the quantity ingested, it is poisonous to dogs and even small doses can lead to seizures and other symptoms.
  • Don’t give your dog any alcohol as it is like a poison to them, and even if not the alcohol itself, then any additives in the beverage such as xylitol, an artificial sweetener, can be lethal. 
  • Don’t give chicken bones to your dog as they might splinter and perforate the lining of their mouth or esophagus.

So that’s it!  

We wish you all the best for the holiday festivities and hope you find some comfort and cheer!

P.S. By the way, it’s not too late to make last minute orders for your fur babies. Gone to the Dogs has a whole line of toys, wear, and walk items for your dogs and cats as well. Check our Instagram posts for ideas!