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129 Ways to be Dog-Centered and Give Thoughtfully this December

Hands up if you love your dog!

This time of year is all about celebrations, giving thanks, and spending time with those we care about. And what could be more worth celebrating than the special bond between you and your four-legged fur friends? If you love your dog and want to pay it forward to the wider dog-world, then how about becoming more dog-centered this December.

This year, reappraise your festive outlook and make a dog-shaped space for the fur friends in your life and those canine cousins who aren’t so lucky. And remember, this doesn’t have to be time consuming but can be something simple like signing an online petition, dropping blankets into the rescue shelter, or walking an elderly neighbour’s dog.

129 Ways to be Dog-Centered and Give Thoughtfully this December

Here are some of the ideas we came up with to support dogs, both those with loving homes and (in keeping with Christmas spirit) those not-so-fortunate. Remember, sometimes such simple things can make a real difference!

For Your Best Buddy:

1.  Keep up with your dog’s daily walk – December and Christmas is a busy time but your four-legger shouldn’t miss out.

2.  Turn your mobile phone off while you’re out walking. Concentrate on your dog and engage in their play.

3.  Don’t scrimp on worming treatments, vet care or vaccinations with all the other December expenses. If necessary, make it your dog’s Christmas present – they will appreciate being worm-free more than reindeer antlers!

4.  Book a dog walker or dog – If you’re going to be super busy Christmas week, make sure the dog doesn’t miss out.

5.  Buy yourself a book on dog training or attend an animal psychology course, so you and your dog ultimately both benefits from a deeper understanding and connection.

6.  Getting away at Christmas? Instead of booking a boarding kennel, take your four-legger along on a dog-friendly vacation.

7.  Look after your dog’s safety and make sure all the festive decorations are pet safe.

8.  Chocolates under the tree? Think again, because chocolate and candy is hazardous to your dog. Move tasty goodies out of temptation’s reach.

9.  Bake some healthy dog-friendly treats, so your dog doesn’t miss out when he’s not allowed rich human food.

10.  Want your dog to be happy and content? Then stick to his regular routine despite all the Christmas craziness and distractions.

11.  Create a doggy event calendar for your dog: Outings to look forward to in the coming year.

12.  How much fun would it be to make a Doggie Advent calendar for your best buddy, or a friend’s dog?

13.  Brainstorm a bucket list for your dog so that he gets the most out of life. 

14.  Buying your dog a Christmas present? Then choose something practical like a first aid kit for the car, in case he cuts a paw on a walk.

15.  Help your dog to chill in the party season, and consider an Adaptil collar that gives off reassuring pheromones.

16.  Do dogs a favour and resist the impulse to buy another pet for Christmas, instead think about adopting from a rescue shelter.

17.  Stuck for gift ideas for your dog? Then how about a flashing light to attach to their collar, or safety equipment such as a life-vest to wear on beach trips.

18.  Give the gift of protecting their health by investing in pet insurance.

19.  Plan ahead for the party season. If your dog doesn’t like fireworks, then help him overcome his fear with a CD of scary noises, to play at low volume so that they become more accustomed.

20.  Take your sociable dog to dog-friendly Christmas events.

21.  Is your dog a party animal or party pooper? If the noise and disruption disturbs them when you’re hosting an event book your four-legged friend into doggy daycare.

22.  Have your pet pose for a photo with Santa, for a cause that gives profits to charity.

23.  A dog is for life – double-check their registration documents are in order and their microchip working.

24.  If your dog loves to dress up, then make sure their Christmas costume is the right size and chew proof.

25.  If you’re out celebrating and it’s going to be a long night, have a neighbour pop by to give the dog a comfort break.

Ways to be Dog - Centred & Give Thoughtfully this December ~ Keep up wiht your dog's daily walk.

With Christmas Gift Giving

26.  Purchasing pet or human presents? Then buy from outlets connected to a charity or are not-for-profit.

27.  Check out to see if you can purchase the gifts you’re looking for through sites, like Shopnate, where you give to your chosen charity just by shopping online with them.

28.  Buy and send charity Christmas cards.

29.  Buy your Calendars and other items directly from your favourite dog group or not-for-profit.

30.  Buy your presents from animal charity catalogues (or should that be dog-alogues?).

31.  Supply your friends with catalogues so they can do the same.

32.  Mention to friends and family you’d prefer them to donate to charity than buy you a present.

33.  Offer to make a donation to a not-for-profit in your friends or families name, in lieu of a Christmas present.

34.  Host a no-gift holiday party for friends, and pass around a donation jar.

For Wider Dog Kind

35.  Lobby your MP or sign a petition to bring an end to Puppy Farming.

36.  Petition the council for more dog-friendly parks and beaches.

37.  Lobby developers to build more dog-friendly apartments and retirement homes.

38.  Encourage responsible dog ownership through your words and actions.

39.  Speak up against animal cruelty.

40.  Volunteer to speak at a school about responsible dog ownership or how to meet dogs appropriately.

41.  Contact your favourite not-for-profit organisation and ask how you can help.

42.  Promote the services of those organisations to your family and friends.

43.  See if you can help with items on a charity’s Christmas wishlist.

44.  Purchase and wear advocacy T-shirts.

45.  Show your support for a worthy cause with a bumper sticker.

46.  Write or share blog posts about animal topics and events that matter to you.

47.  Many homeless people with pets go to food banks for help. Donate dog food to your local food bank.

Be Neighbourly

48.  Help an elderly or sick neighbour by taking their dog out for a walk.

49.  Be the ultimate Christmas elf and pick up animal waste that other’s have left behind.

50.  Now be the Christmas fairy and leave extra dog-waste bags at the park to encourage others to poop scoop.

51.  Make like Santa’s sleigh ride and offer to drive an elderly neighbour and their pet to the vet.

52.  Throw a Dog Christmas Party in the park for the dogs in your community.

53.  Share information via social media about keeping dogs safe at Christmas.

54.  Bring Christmas cheer to others and volunteer for a service that gets pet food to owners in need.

55.  Be Santa’s little helper and offer to assist a neighbour to apply their dog’s flea treatment or ear drops.

56.  Register your dog as a PAT dog and visit sheltered housing or a hospital to spread some canine Christmas cheer.

57.  Dog Walking Date. Meet and connect with your community – it’s good for both you and your dogs.

Ways to be Dog - Centred & Give Thoughtfully this December ~ Give your dog a practical gift like safety equipment

Rescue Groups and Shelters

58.  Have a Christmas clear-out and donate the items in good condition such as:

        – Towels and blankets
        – Dog food or treats you’ve acquired over time
        – That good-as-new toy your dog ignores
        – Unused grooming products and shampoo
        – Dog jackets
        – The dog collar that is too big 
        – Crates and carriers
        – Dog beds
        – Puppy pads

59.  Take beautiful photos of the shelter pets to spruce up to their adoption profile.

60.  Volunteer to clean out kennels or walk the dogs while shelter staff are on Christmas holidays.

61.  Use your social media account to share posts of dogs looking for homes.

62.  Use the power of social media to share pro-adoption-a-rescue dog information.

63.  Offer to paint the shelter’s reception area in order to brighten it up.

64.  Supply old furniture or armchairs for the dog kennels to make it more like a doggy home from home.

65.  Organise a “read to a shelter dog” roster, to decrease their stress.

67.  When you’re next at the vet, pay off part of the rescue group’s outstanding bill.

68.  Drop of a surprise hamper for the dogs at the shelter.

69.  Sponsor a shelter dog or donate the funds to pay for a dog’s care while in a foster home.

70.  Organize an event to raise awareness of pet adoption.

71.  Adopt your next fur family member.

72.  Donate a Christmas tree to brighten the shelter’s yard.

73.  Find out how many dogs need a home in your area and write blog post about it.

For the Foster Dogs in your Area

74.  Purchase a festive gift to give to a foster dog.

75.  Start foster caring: Rescues are always looking for foster carers for dogs who don’t cope with shelter life or are elderly or have special health needs.

76.  Offer to care for dogs whose foster careers are going away this holiday (respite foster care).

77.  Offer some time to assist with transporting pets to the groomers or vets.

78.  Send Christmas cards with a heartfelt message of thanks to foster carers and rescue workers.

Support Your Local Shelter

79.  Commit some time each week to walking dogs at the shelter.

80.  Buy some enrichment toys, such as KONGs, for the dogs in your local shelter.

81.  Gift the shelter a supply of tasty treats to put inside the KONGs.

82.  Buy some special doggy Christmas dinner treats for the dogs in the shelter.

83.  Give the volunteers a boost with much-needed biscuits for their coffee break (You’d be amazed how much it boosts their morale).

84.  Hold a garage sale in reverse – ask people to donate dog food or items for the shelter.

85.  Show you care by handcrafting toys (You’d be barking mad to ignore the ideas on this Barkpost!)

86.  Gather a group of friends and make arrangements with your local shelter for a working bee.


87.  Organise your own Christmas themed fundraising event for an animal charity.

88.  Put on your party outfit and support fundraising events held by others, such as a trivia night or quiz.

89.  Go carol singing with your dog, and donate the proceeds to charity.

90.  Use social media to promote awareness of the needs of dog charities and shelters.

91.  Collect bric-a-brac door to door, to donate to pet charity shops for them to sell.

92.  Assemble 12 epic photos of your dog, and sell the calendar to raise money for charity.

93.  Auction your services as a dog walker or pet sitter, and donate the proceeds.

94.  Set up a direct debit to a dog charity.

95.  Give to Christmas appeals when you see them collecting.

96.  Sell unwanted items on internet auction sites and donate the proceeds.

97.  Donate artwork, products, or services to a rescue to use as prizes in an auction.

98.  Organize a Christmas raffle for a dog not-for-profit organization.

99.  Go without a coffee (or something similar) during December and donate the savings.

100.  Get sponsored for every three days you can go without chocolate and do this!

101.  Stay in on a Saturday night and the money you save, donate it.

102.  Undertake sponsored events for your favourite charity. Bike ride, walk, swim, head shave, etc. Seek support from your personal and business networks.

103.  Unwanted presents? Donate them or sell them to others and donate the proceeds.

Ways to be Dog - Centred & Give Thoughtfully this December ~ Volunteer to clean our kennels or walk the dogs while shelter staff are on holidays

In Business

104.  Allow staff to bring their dogs to work over the Christmas period.

105.  Sponsor local Dog Day Outs, Expos or events.

106.  Partner with a dog charity or not-for-profit.

107.  Promote the work and effort of your aligned charity amongst the team, in company newsletters and on social media.

108.  Lend some of your workplace talent for a day to help your charity or not-for-profit – bookkeeping, graphic design or IT support are all highly likely to be appreciated.

109.  Start a Christmas collection for a local dog charity.

110.  Have fundraising chocolates that support dog rescues in the office/s.

111.  Give staff gifts from a charity catalogue.

112.  Donate your old stock items to a not-for-profit organisation.

113. Sponsor fundraising events held by dog not-for-profits or donate prizes for fundraising at events.

114.  Find out what your business can do to help a local dog charity, such as displaying posters or sending a team to an event.

115.   Donate samples to be raffled or raise money for a shelter.

116. Have a sale day or sell a product where all the profits go to a dog not-for-profit.

117. Sponsor a guide or assistance dog.

118.  Foster a dog.

119.  Start a project or program that benefits dogs in need.

120.  Post about the project you started on social media to raise awareness of dogs in need.

121.  Choose services that offer a give-back program and designate a dog charity for the profits.

122.  Host days or events that generate donations for dog not-for-profits. 

123.  Host an ‘Ugly Christmas Sweater’ or ‘Dress Down’ day. Those participating make a donation ~ and those not participating make twice the donation for being a spoilsport!

124.  Office Swear Jar? Have ‘fines’ for work misdemeanours like inappropriate language, being five minutes late for work/meetings/to leave, playing on mobile phones, etc and donate the proceeds.

125.  Charge for favours! Every time someone asks a colleague for a favour or a client receives a small service for free; the payment is a bag of dog food or a gold coin which is (naturally) donated.

126.  Have a workplace competition or challenge, where the entry fee is donated or where participants are sponsored.

127.  Pay Day raffle, where a portion of the funds is donated.

128.  Host an end-of-year and thank you morning tea. Make it dog-friendly or bring along some of the dogs from your aligned charity to highlight the difference that’s been made with your support.

129.  Work christmas party? Invite the staff and volunteers from your aligned charity.

So there we have it dog-lover! 129 ways to be more dog-centered this Christmas. Why not bookmark this post and see how many of these ideas you end up putting into action? Whether it’s a grand gesture, a small act of kindness, or acquiring a shelter pet, it makes a difference.  We’d love to hear any more suggestions you have and how you get on ~ please share in the comments!

Kerry Martin

Kerry Martin

Kerry is 'Top Dog' here at Puppy Tales. With her own adored dogs, she completely gets that your four legged furry buddy is absolutely part of the family. That they sleep on the bed, that you want to take them everywhere, that you plan holidays so they’re included & that their presence makes your life incredible.

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Dog Mum Kerry Martin is the editor and photographer at Puppy Tales.

Meet Kerry

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Photographer, Editor,
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