Holiday Traditions Aren’t Just for People

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Pet Lifestyle Expert, Sandy Robins, Offers Easy Ways to Make Your Pet Part of the Festivities

With 118.2 million pet-owning households, according to the latest survey by the American Pet Products Association, many families will invite their four-legged family members to participate in the holiday festivities. Whether it’s lighting the menorah or decorating the Christmas tree, every family has their own customs that make the holidays special. Pet lifestyle expert and author, Sandy Robins, has put together some easy ways to incorporate pets into the family traditions this season.

Family Game Night Around the Fire: As winter weather chills the air, pets may see less active time outdoors. Ten minutes of thinking play can equal 45 minutes of active play for pets. As many families that light a fire and warm up with a family game night, why not include pets in the fun? Find out how smart and motivated the family pet is with Kyjen Dog Puzzle Games. The games stash treats or tennis balls inside, creating a fun and mental exercise for dogs that the entire family can participate in.

Steal a kiss under the mistletoe: Kissing under the mistletoe is a custom that traces back to the Greek festival of Saturnalia and this tradition is still sure to heat up any holiday party. If the family dog finds himself under the mistletoe, steal a kiss only if he has fresh breath. Fresh Breath Tropiclean foam makes it easy for pets to have fresh breath without having to use a toothbrush. The all-natural, foaming product gets in to the hard to reach spots and is completely safe for pets. This easy-to-use product freshens breath so four-legged friends can have a special Christmas kiss too.

Counting Down the Days: No partridges in a pear tree here. Petco’s 12 Days of X-Mas calendar gives pets a toy or tasty treat during the 12 days leading up to Christmas. This durable calendar counts down the days to the big day and lets pets join in the advent calendar fun.

Dressed to the Nines: The holidays mean plenty of parties and shopping for the perfect party dress or festive Santa tie. Dressing the part is now more fun for cats. Petco’s Holiday Cat Tie gives your feline friend a comfortable, yet festive accessory for the holidays. The festive bow tie features Christmas colors in a hip checkered design so cats look their best this holiday.

Delicious Dinner: The National Turkey Federation estimates that Americans eat 18 pounds of turkey a year, 33 percent of which is consumed during the holidays. Whether the family is feasting on a turkey dinner or delicious latkes, food is always part of the holiday celebration. Let pets safely join in and give them a special treat this holiday. People food is for people, but Merrick’s Holiday Dinners give dogs their own turkey dinner packed with wholesome ingredients that won’t ruin their diet and means they can be a true part of the family dinner.

Cookies for Santa: The excitement of waking up on Christmas morning isn’t complete without the anticipation of whether or not Santa ate the cookies that were left out for him. What about Santa’s four-legged helpers? No, not the reindeer, but the dogs that live at the North Pole. Gourmet Tails Holiday Gift Pack Cookies are beautifully decorated holiday cookies, made with natural ingredients, giving dogs a healthy treat. Leave them out for Santa, but make sure to let him know they’re for the dogs- they look so delicious he may want to take a bite himself.

Annual Pair of Pajamas: Opening presents in a brand new pair of pajamas on Christmas morning is a holiday tradition many people share. With WAG-A-TUDE dog pajamas, pets can share in the excitement. Many dogs with short coats really feel the cold of winter. Fashion meets function with these pet pajamas that are ideal for home wear or a casual outing.

Giving and Getting Holiday Toys: A 2010 MSNBC report estimated that Americans spent $584.3 billion during the holidays. Giving and getting presents is one of the most popular holiday traditions. When waking up on Christmas morning, make sure cats and dogs have a little something under the tree with Petco Holiday Toys. Make Hanukkah's eight crazy nights a little crazier with Hanukkah-themed pet toys from the same collection. These classy and classic holiday toys make the perfect gift for the family pet or a fantastic “thank you” to a pet-loving holiday party host or hostess.

Photos with Santa:Taking photos with Santa is a time old tradition. Luckily, pet parents won’t have to stand in line at the mall to let the family pet share in the fun. Petco stores nationwide will be offering pet photos with Santa on December 3 and 10, 2011. Contact a local Petco location for times and details.

Let’s Play Dress Up: What Christmas is complete without a little dress up fun? Whether it’s sporting a Santa hat or buying a sweater for that holiday themed party, everyone likes to play dress up at the holidays. Get dogs involved with Mr. Claus Coat & Mrs. Claus Dress. These durable and affordable outfits are made for any size dog from XXS to XXXL. Don’t leave cats out of the holiday spirit. Petco and Unleashed by Petco stores also carry a Cat Elf Costume, complete with a hat and boots for our festive feline friends.

*Make giving part of the holiday tradition through the Petco Foundation’s annual Tree of Hope campaign. Every year four million pets do not live to see the holiday season and Petco is encouraging those who are passionate about animals to donate from November 14, 2011- January 1, 2012 at their nearest Petco store, Unleashed by Petco store or online at http://www.petco.com/holiday. Donations help feed homeless pets in shelters, give lifesaving medical assistance, enable rescuers to grow their resources so that they can help ease the burdens of overfull shelters, and provide venues and grants to help usher those without a voice into loving homes who will continue to be their voices.

About Petco

Petco is a leading pet specialty retailer that provides the products, services and advice that make it easier for our customers to be great pet parents. Everything we do is guided by our vision for Healthier Pets. Happier People. Better World. We operate more than 1,100 stores nationwide, including more than 30 Unleashed by Petco locations, a smaller format neighborhood shop, and http://www.petco.com. The Petco Foundation, an independent nonprofit organization, has raised more than $80 million since it was created in 1999 to help promote and improve the welfare of companion animals. In conjunction with the Foundation, we work with and support approximately 7,000 local animal welfare groups across the country to help find homes for more than 250,000 animals through in-store adoption events every year.

About Sandy Robins
As one of the country’s leading multi-media pet lifestyle experts and author, Sandy Robins, documents the wonderful relationship that we have with our pets highlighting trends and innovative ideas as they happen. Sandy documents this industry every step of the way. Her award-winning work is very visible on many of the country’s leading pet platforms such as MSNBC.com and TodayShow.com. She is a regular contributor and columnist in multiple national publications such as Dog Fancy, Modern Dog and Cat Fancy. And host of her own radio show Pawsitively Pets Radio. Sandy is an avid campaigner for no-kill animal shelters and law that protect animals everywhere.

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Mia West