For many of us, Christmas is about spending quality time with family and friends. And if you're reading this, odds are that your household includes at least one fur-baby that you're excited to spend the Yuletide with too.

The general excitement of the festive season customarily begins weeks ahead of the big day itself; there's the decorating, wrapping and likely a few party invitations, just for starters. But there's no reason our dogs shouldn't be a part of that holiday fun too.

So, whether it's just you and the dog or lots of extended family, we've got the lowdown on how to include your canine in the yearly celebrations, so they have an awesome Xmas too.

Shopping

Most of us prefer to take our pouches wherever we go, whenever we can.

Yet, when it comes to shared spaces in the city, our canines are often unwelcome. Cafes, pubs and shopping malls all risk fines for allowing dogs on the premises.

All around the world, people, dine, shop and enjoy many of their daily activities with their pouches in tow. Still, in Australia right now, we're not quite so relaxed.

And as a consequence our furry friends are often abandoned on the outer, waiting for their owners. From parks to beaches, department stores and public transport, to cafes, bars and restaurants, dogs are often prohibited.

But don't despair when it comes to doing the Christmas shopping with your pup at your side. There are plenty of beach side and Twilight markets happening at this time of year. So, go online and find the best dog-friendly markets that Sydney has to offer.

Photos

Maybe kids are no longer interested in getting a photo with Santa. Or perhaps you just want a festive snap with the whole family.   In that case, it's time to find a canine-friendly man in a big red suit.

The big shopping malls might be a no go (though it's worth double-checking in your area), but other spaces also get a visit from Mr Claus and best of all, many of these are pet-friendly.

Check out the local pet shops or vets for more information. Or try the local rescue centre. Photos with Santa may be one of their biggest fundraisers of the year. So it's an excellent opportunity to get involved, help raise some money for a good cause and make some family memories too.

Dress-ups

If your dog enjoys a good dress up, now is the perfect time to go nuts! There are infinite festive-themed outfits out there to try. Just be aware of the quality as you don't want your pup being uncomfortable or suffering from heat exhaustion on or around the big day.

Perhaps consider a festive collar or some antlers instead of a full costume if it really is a hot. And consider keeping outfits on your puppy for shorter periods during the summer months.

Presents

Picking out some great toys and treats for your dog is so much fun but don't overthink your dogs present. As long as it's interactive and something that you can both play with and bond over then you're bound to get it right.

A gift could even mean dedicating some extra time on Christmas day to giving your pup your full attention. Groom them, take them on Christmas day walk or just have a play.

Take every opportunity to give them that extra bit of attention throughout the day too. Especially if there are lots of people around.

Treats loosely wrapped in paper are a fun thing for dogs to unwrap. Possibly a messy endeavour but absolutely entertaining.

You could even consider donating a toy or some funds to a local doggy charity on behalf of you and your pup.

Dinner

We love our dogs and want to share everything with them. But remember to be cautious about what you feed them. They may want to eat everything on the Christmas plate, but it's not necessarily good for them. Make them a dish of food but only include the dog-friendly parts of the meal.

A bowl full of turkey might make them drool, but it might also disagree with their tummy. Instead, give them their usual biscuits and add a bit of turkey that hasn't been cooked in garlic or other herbs and spices that aren't good for dogs.

It wouldn't be Xmas if we didn't all overindulge just make sure that you have dog-suitable options available.

Cookies

When you're making those cookies for friends and family, try baking a batch of dog-friendly cookies for your pooch. There are lots of great recipes online, and they make the perfect gift for your other dog-loving friends too.

Make sure you use your festive cookie cutters and make your dog part of one of the most significant Chrissie traditions.

But keep them away from anything sugary or coated in chocolate which can make them very unwell. In fact, keeping the human and doggy cookies separate and labelled is probably helpful for everyone in the home.

Conclusion

With all the buzz, our dogs will likely pick up on the Christmas fever pretty quickly. So make sure they feel a part of the action as much as you can.

But Christmas can also be a busy time in our social calendar, so you might need some extra help taking care of your dog. Particularly if you have lots of kids around, as there may be more noise and doggy hazards to consider. So, get all of your visitors involved and interacting appropriately with your pup.

Surround your pup with the things and the people they love and don't forget about their exercise needs. An after-dinner walk, for instance, is great for everyone. Or Rather than a post-feast snooze think about going for a swim with the whole family. Your dog will certainly love you all the more for it.

Our pooches may feel overstimulated and stressed out at times too. So make sure there's a space where they can have a time out with their favourite bed, toy or blanket. Because making your fur baby feel safe and secure is the real key to them having a happy Christmas.