Our pups are family, so when it comes to celebrating the holidays I’m always looking for ways to include them in the festivities.  From previous experiences we’ve ruled out any helping with the gift wrapping or cooking, but watching the Hallmark Christmas movies with me is a hit.  And it sees like every Hallmark Christmas movie includes a small town festival or parade, am I right?

Did you know that you can walk in a holiday parade with your pup?  We’ve researched some of the best dog-friendly parades in Michigan; whether you’re looking for something big or small, these are great options for making sure your pup gets into the spirit of Christmas too!

The Parades!

(updated 11/1/23)

Breed Specific Parades


Santa Parade in Grand Rapids in November features Newfoundlands and Corgis.  This parade was initially canceled for 2023 but has been brought back!

November 18th, parade begins at 10:00am


Howell Fantasy Lights Parade – Heart of Michigan Bernese Mountain Dog rescue (must have lights)
November 24, 2023
Howell Fantasy Of Lights Parade – see Heart of MI Berner rescue FB page for details
Meet between 5:45 PM – 6 PM.
Parade Lineup @ 6:45 PM
Step off @ 7 PM

(Note: Grand River Ave closes at 5:30 PM)


Manistee’s Victorian Sleighbell Parade – Golden Retrievers (details can be found on the Northwest Michigan Golden Retriever Club Facebook page).  Dec 2nd at 5:30pm.

The Grosse Pointe Santa Claus Parade features Golden Retrievers on Friday, Nov 24th at 10:00am.

All breed parades:

All breeds, registration required:

2023 Fanny Mae Memorial Reindog Parade

Sat Dec 02 2023 at 03:00 pm.

St. Joseph, MI

Saturday, December 2nd

Ida, MI

Nov 24th

South Haven, MI

Is walking in a parade right for your pup?

As much fun as it sounds to us, the idea of walking in a parade might be too much for your pup.  Some things to consider:

  • There will be a lot of people and commotion, including children and other dogs.

  • Many parades include marching bands and other loud noises like fire truck sirens.

  • People along the street will be yelling and cheering.

If you think it might be overwhelming for your dog I would suggest going to the parade this year on your own and scope it out.  You can bring your dog and watch from the sidelines and decide if you want to commit to walking in the parade with them next year.

Keep your dog safe while parading

You want your dog to be safe during the parades, so here are a couple of things you can do to make sure that happens:

  • Keep him on a nonretractable leash. This is especially important if there’s going to be an abundance of activities going on. Not only will this keep everyone safe, but it’ll also allow you to enjoy the festivities more while still keeping an eye on your pup.
  • Make sure he has identification tags attached to his collar or harness/vest. Having his name and phone number helps ensure he’ll get home safely if someone finds him alone somewhere (like out in front of their house).
  • Gauge their mood throughout the night. Depending on the level of activity and decorations in your area they may become anxious or agitated. If this becomes the case then it’s better for both of you if you head home earlier than planned. 
  • Ditch the costumes if your pup isn’t into them and bring lots of yummy treats to make it a positive experience.
  • Make sure to have some water available after your walk!

Holiday parades can be a great way to celebrate the holidays with your dog and hang out with your friends. What parade will you go to?