Christmas is a time for families, and that includes your dog. Not only do you need to keep your canine companion safe during the holiday season, but you want them to have fun, too! It may be that you are welcoming a new dog into the household this Christmas, perhaps as a gift for your kids, or maybe you have had your faithful friend living with you for some time. Whatever the case, these are the festive do’s and don’ts we think you need to consider.
DO remember a dog is not just for Christmas! Particularly if your children have been pestering you for a dog, you all need to realise the commitment it takes to look after your pooch properly. Many people buy a dog as a gift for their loved ones but return the poor thing back to where it came from when they realise they don’t have the time or energy to look after it properly.
DO supervise your dog around your Christmas visitors. While your dog should get involved in your festive fun, you still need to take care when you have visitors. Not only does this include keeping your dog away from Great Aunt Sheila’s walking stick (your dog’s impromptu chew toy) but there may be children coming into the house who are too rough with your furry friend. There will be times when for your dog’s safety, and the safety of others, when your dog may need to have a quiet place to rest for awhile.
DO prepare a special room for your dog. When your dog needs to be out of the way for awhile, you should prepare a special area. This includes a few chew toys for him to play with, a comfortable bed to sleep and rest on, and perhaps a few Christmas carols playing in the background to drown out the exciting activities elsewhere in the house.
￼DON’T shut your dog out of proceedings for too long. So what if Great Aunt Sheila has an aversion to dogs, she (or any similar relative) are coming into your home this Christmas, so they need to abide by your rules. Shutting your dog away for the duration of the season isn’t fair, and you are guaranteeing him a miserable Christmas if you do. Of course, during busy periods, such as when you are preparing dinner, or when guests are first arriving, it may be safer to put your dog in his special room. When everything has settled, and calm has filled your home, let your dog in to be with the people he loves.
DON’T leave your dog alone with possible hazards. Festive plants, such as holly, can be dangerous to your pet if eaten, and lit candles can easily be swept onto the floor with a swipe of the tail. Pine needles from the Christmas tree can cause a blockage in your dog’s intestine if ingested, and anything breakable, such as Christmas decorations and snow globes, can also cause injury. When preparing your dog’s special room, remove everything that could potentially cause harm to your pooch and your home, and be mindful of the rest of the house, too.
DO involve your dog in the Christmas gift unwrapping. Yes, he will probably take more pleasure out of the wrapping paper than the actual doggie present you have bought him, but at least he will get to enjoy the excitement of unwrapping you are sharing with the rest of the family.
DO get rid of anything that could be a choking hazard. This includes stocking fillers and small toys that your children may leave lying around the floor. While it’s impossible to keep a tidy house for long with kids and pets, you still need to be vigilant. We recommend VetIQ best dog dental chews as a distraction to anything else that your dog may take a fancy too when looking for something to nibble on.
DON’T let your dog eat anything that is dangerous for his health. While this includes the hazards mentioned above, it also includes chocolate, which contains toxic properties, and other
human foods which are dangerous to your canine friend, no matter how much he pleads to you with his paw and big brown eyes. Your relatives will be prone to sneaking him a few tit-bits under the table, so make sure everybody knows that sharing some elements of the Christmas dinner could make poor pooch unwell.
DO make time to exercise your dog. Not only will you need time away from your visiting relatives, but you and your dog will benefit from a good walk after consuming all the festive foods that are common at this time of year. Even (boneless) turkey is fine for your dog, in moderation, but it’s not good for anybody’s diet plan, least of all your dogs. Remember, of course, to dress your dog up in winter clothing if the weather is chilly outside.
DO make sure your dog is wearing an identifiable dog collar. This is especially useful when you have a lot of visitors in and out of the house and leaving your front door open, but essential if you are travelling over the holidays, as you don’t want your dog to get lost in locations unfamiliar to you and them. Remember to get him microchipped as well.
DON’T leave your dog at home alone while you are away. Your dog will pine for you when you’re not around, and his whining and barking is also going to spoil the Christmas for your next door neighbors. Accidents can happen, and this can be potentially dangerous for both your dog and your home, as discussed earlier. When possible, take your dog with you when you travel, but consider kennels (or a trusted friend) if you are away overnight.
THE FINAL DO. Spend time with your dog. He loves you unconditionally, and despite the chaos that will surround you this festive season, you don’t want to leave him out in the cold, literally and figuratively. As we said, your pooch is part of your family, so celebrate with him in mind throughout the season, and let him join in the fun when appropriate. Enjoy the holidays!