Happy Lunar New Year (and Year of the Rat), good dogs and good humans! The Year of the Dog only occurs every 12 years (next time will be 2030), but the Lunar New Year is a time of celebration and gathering with family—and of course, that includes your dog. Lunar New Year is my personal favorite holiday to celebrate with Artemis because there are so many great ways to involve your dogs in the festivities—without firecrackers, of course! Because festivities occur for 15 days, there is plenty of time to spread the celebration over the course of two weeks. It’s a pace that Artemis and I enjoy more than January 1st, a day for which we never feel ready. Because Artemis is one-quarter Shih Tzu and I was born in China, the Lunar New Year is also a celebration of our shared heritage, of the traditions and legacies that bind us together.
We think everyone could use a Lunar New Year celebration in their lives, so here are our favorite ways to celebrate prosperity and good health with your dog:
Clean up and get groomed to get rid of last year’s bad spirits—just don’t do it on the first day of the new year.
You can clean before and after the first day of the Lunar New Year to avoid sweeping away the good spirits. Make good use of your vacuum (our favorite Dyson V8 Animal does not let us down) around the home—especially if your dog, like Artemis, is a shedder. (Sadly, I am a shedder, too. My nickname in college was Wookiee.) If your dog goes to a groomer, take this opportunity to give them the full body spa experience. If you reside in New York City, now’s the time to try Spaw, a new on-demand in-home grooming service. Artemis doesn’t need haircuts and requires minimal grooming, so we splurge on our favorite luxe bath products for DIY baths instead.
Fill a hongbao (red envelope) with treats for your dog.
It is tradition for children to bow to their elders, and in return, their elders to present children with hongbao filled with money for prosperity, but your dog probably isn’t as excited about ca$h money as you are. Fill these red envelopes with your dog’s favorite treats and we’re sure your dog will give you a downward dog. The portable envelopes are perfect for on-the-go snacking and for gifting your fellow neighborhood dogs! We recommend some of our favorite sustainable dog treats for the new year, but you can also buy cheese peanut butter treats in the shape of the rat from Maison de Pawz, which already come in hongbao, or these fortune cookie-shaped dog treats from Mr. Dog!
Wear festive dog accessories—or at least something in red.
Artemis has a full-fledged lion dance costume for Lunar New Year. Unfortunately, everyone loves it except for her. (She’s not into dress up.) Instead of a full costume, we get into the holiday spirit with more practical accessories. Artemis has a harness, collar, bow tie, and leash from the Hiro + Wolf Chinese Cloud collection, which is a gorgeous set that celebrates Chinese iconography. It is not only a beautiful print, but also a functional and comfortable everyday walking set that will be sure to turn heads. If you’re looking for something more classic, just wear red accessories! Wearing red is important for good luck, and it looks great on dogs of all colors. Finn + Me makes the most gorgeous collection of red collars, leashes, and poop bag holders we’ve ever seen. Over Christmas in Sweden, Artemis and I procured this Cloud7 Red Velvet bow tie, which we will be wearing year round!
Gift a new red ball to your dog to symbolize the chasing of the sun.
In some lion dances, the lion chases after a red ball, which symbolizes the sun. This is the perfect opportunity to gift your dog a new ball or two. You could opt for a classic red tennis ball, or you could opt for Artemis’ personal favorite, the Mr. Dog Devil Ball, which is made of 100 percent merino wool. Here are some more #ArtemisApproved chic balls you could get for your dog. (Lunar New Year is the best holiday for dogs, isn’t it?)
Studio photography by Shaina Fishman
Bath photography by Sylvie Rosokoff