With Christmas fast approaching, have you thought about how you can safely include your dog in the festivities? This blog will hopefully help you enjoy a fun but safe Christmas with your companion.
Whilst it is the most wonderful time of year, the run up to the big day is also probably the busiest time of the year. We work longer hours, we spend more time in cues and traffic than we care to, we are helping Santa, decorating the house, preparing food and trying to visit family and friends. We all end up more stressed than normal and on top of it all the dog still needs walked. I say, drop everything and get some fresh air with your dog, enjoy a little time out from all the rushing about. Your self care is important so try not to miss a dander with your dog.
I just adore Christmas trees. Dark nights and tree lights just mesmerise me. Imagine how intriguing they must be for our dogs. However, those pretty but fragile decorations, twinkling lights and gifts below the tree can all pose a risk to our dogs. Place a pen around the trees to stop your dog from being tempted by baubles or from chewing on the fairy lights.
Have the room closed off when dog can’t be supervised.
One decoration to be extra careful with is snow globes as some contain ethylene glycol or better known as AntiFreeze. It is very palatable for dogs making it really dangerous as just a small amount can prove fatal. So, ensure snow globes are kept well out of reach from your dogs.
Christmas is all about the presents. While you can’t wait to open those gifts to see what inside your dog's nose will probably already have a good idea if there is anything of interest under the wrapper. Best keep gifts out of reach before they ruin your surprises on you!
TIP - When wrapping your presents give your dog the cardboard roll from the wrapping paper filled with a few treats to entertain them.
May make a little mess but it’s easy cleaned up!
FOOD & DRINK
Time to eat till we pass out! We are all guilty of over indulging on food, drink and sweet treats over the festive period, and why not?! You may be tempted to share your goodies with the adorable, four-legged friend who is giving you puppy dog eyes but here is why you should think twice before you share. Many of our festive favourites can be toxic to our canine companions resulting in vomiting, diarrhoea or more serious life-threatening damage to the kidneys or pancreas. A quick google search will result in lists of human foods that we should avoid when it comes to our dogs! However, the easiest way to ensure you dog remains healthy through the holidays is to stick to their regular dog food and treats.
If you really want to treat them why not try some JR Pet Products from Oh Doggy. Their Pâté is 100% meat with flavours including TURKEY, CHICKEN, DUCK, BEEF, LAMB and FISH. Meaning your dog can enjoy some delicious but healthy meaty treats minus the fat and seasoning that we add to ours. You could add a little on top of the kibble as a festive treat. Or use it to stuff Kongs, K9-Connectable or our new personal favourite the Soda Pup Honey Pot. Follow it up with a natural chew for dessert and you have the perfect way to treat them without any worries.
It is a time for friends and family! My house starts with the usual family games but has often ended up in a dance off. Usually when the dancing starts, we have had too much wine. I hope it goes without saying that dogs cannot drink any amounts of alcohol! However, it is also important that when alcohol is being consumed our dogs have a safe place to rest, let’s be honest, drunk people can be unintentionally annoying. They can become louder and their movements can become staggered which could unnerve even the most placid of pups. For safety I also make a point of locking my front door so I have to personally let people in or out. This will ensure doors or gates aren’t left open or the dog can’t sneak pass distracted guests.
It’s Christmas Morning, Santa has been and the place is crazy. Why not give your pup their gift first to get them busy. Here are my Christmas morning enrichment ideas. Fill a box with left over Christmas paper scatter in some loose kibble, treats and a long-lasting chew. Pop a few new Christmas toys in there and let them investigate. Do this behind a pen, baby gate or in their own safe space it will keep them busy while the family find out what the big fella left them.
Dogs with a tendency to swallow things could be popped away with a large long-lasting chew. For those pups who enjoy ripping stuff up get them help with the recycling by allowing them to shred some of the left-over packaging while you do the dreaded Christmas morning clear up.
If you have a busy house for Christmas lunch it is important that you get the dog out to exercise in the hours before your guests arrive. Getting in some physical exercise after their morning of enrichment will set them up for a more relaxed afternoon.
When guests arrive make them aware of any rules. No feeding the dog no matter how lovingly they stare at you. Chances are your visitors are completely unaware of the lists of toxic food you have now googled therefore blanket banning human food will stop your dog getting sick. If you have a dog who likes his space and needs to be away from the crowd make everyone aware of where this space is so they can rest uninterrupted.
I don’t think I have had a Christmas without a dog in my house. I have watched each of them go from young inquisitive pups who wanted to be in the middle of every parcel, game and dinner plate to happily taking themselves upstairs to relax on a bed as they matured. I guess we mature the same from young children who couldn’t sleep with excitement into adults who long for the chilled evening after a busy day!
Hope you all have a very Merry Christmas with your family, friends and your canine companions. If you feel you need any further advice or help with your dog you can contact Cathy through her website at https://www.teachingtails.co.uk.
More about Cathy:
I'm Cathy, a qualified puppy and dog trainer. I did my training and assessment with the IMDT headed by celebrity dog trainer and UK's #1 best-selling dog book author Steve Man.
I have a mentorship with The Puppy Specialist, Lee Hobbs from First Class Dog Training. An excellent dog trainer with over 13 years of experience and an assessor/instructor with the IMDT.