We know that the Holidays are an exciting time of year, and for dogs, the festivities can be exciting too! But, for some of our darling pups, it can be a little stressful and overwhelming at times. Think about it... lots of new people, smells and sounds! So that’s why you, as their pet parent, need to know how to prepare them for Christmas Day and the entire festive season!
Here are some tips to follow to ensure your dog stays safe and happy during the holidays. The more prepared you are, the better time you and your dog will have this Christmas!
Dogs are creatures of habit, and as a dog owner, it’s important to stick to your dog's daily routine of exercise and feeding. This should be as close to clockwork as possible - even over the festive period.
However, we know that the holidays can be hectic for most of us, especially for pet owners! And we know it can make it difficult to fit everything into a day, so sometimes schedules need reshuffling.
It’s essential that you try to keep your usual daily routine as much as possible for your pup. Feed them at the same time as normal, and take them for walks at the same hour you usually would. It’s difficult enough for them having to deal with other changes and chaos around this time.
Changing the whole look of your house overnight could overwhelm your beloved pup. Moving furniture to get your tree in, and adding seating for extra guests all in one day might be too much, so do it gradually over a few days rather than all at the same time.
Does your dog love to explore and examine new things? If they do, it is vital to their safety that you keep wires and hanging decorations out of reach of their mouths. Licking or biting into electrical wires could cause them an electric shock.
If your dog is playing with decoration and they swallow a little part, they may choke on it, or it could cause harm to their throat or stomach. If you think your dog has swallowed something and notice they start to cough, choke, or vomit, take them to the vet immediately.
If you’re expecting a big crowd of guests, ensure a safe spot for your pup to go to so they can relax. Even if your dog loves socializing, they might still get tired and need some time away from the party.
If you’re going to someone else’s house for Christmas day, it’s a good idea to get there the day before the festivities, so your dog can get used to the surroundings, or if the place isn’t too far, visit the place before going. Your pup will have the chance to sniff around and become accustomed to the smells and sights.
If you’ve used crate training with your dog, bring the crate with you, and set it up with his favorite blanket, toys, and bed. It’s the perfect way to bring home with you if you’re going away to someone else’s house.
Let others know when your dog is resting in their safe zone so that people don’t disturb them when they’re resting from the excitement!
There are human foods that are toxic to dogs – and some might surprise you! It’s possible that there’ll be foods on the table this Christmas that could cause harm to your dear pup, so you need to know exactly what to keep away from them.
If dogs swallow even a small amount of alcohol, they won’t be able to tolerate it. Symptoms will begin within an hour of consuming it, so look out for tiredness, depression, vomiting, diarrhea, lack of coordination, and poor breathing. In worst-case scenarios, too much alcohol may cause seizures, lung failure, or death.
Another which is likely on your plate is cooked bones and meat fat. Bones from cooked meat are more fragile, meaning they could break in your dog’s mouth, causing choking and scratching of the throat and stomach.
Be wary of onions, garlic, and raisins too. All these can be toxic to dogs, so it’s best to keep your dog away from the dinner table. And don’t let your guests feed your dog food from your plate!
Many gift-wrapping papers contain harmful chemicals, including bleach and chlorine, which when ingested, can be extremely dangerous to your dog’s health. We suggest using recycle brown paper and ribbon, or use cardboard boxes, and dispose of the wrapping paper of other gifts away from your dog. There are wrapping papers that don’t contain any dye, so if your pup does love tearing the paper with his teeth, make sure it is safe!
A lot of plants that are associated with Christmas time are toxic to dogs when eaten, including holly, mistletoe, and poinsettia. If you love Christmas decorations that feature these popular plants, make sure that they’re well out of the way of your dog’s mouth!
Pine needles tend to fall from trees very often, so it requires a little sweep or vacuum to get them up. It’s important to do this frequently if you have a pet because those small pine needles can be poisonous to ingest for animals.
You may or may not have heard that we shouldn’t give our dogs chocolate. Well, it’s true, and this time of year makes it particularly hard to regulate. Dogs should never eat chocolate, because the plant that cocoa comes from, Theobroma, is toxic to our furry friends.
If your dog does get their teeth on some chocolate, you may not notice any changes, but that’s just lucky. It could be down to the size of your dog – larger dogs are less affected by a small amount of chocolate, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be careful!
Signs to look for include vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, increased urination, and an abnormal heart rate. If you notice any of these symptoms after your dog has eaten chocolate (or could have eaten it), seek medical attention from a vet straight away.
New toys and treats are excellent ways to distract your pup from the stress or excitement of all the changes that are occurring at this time of year. Think about what games your dog loves to play, or try buying a brand new type of toy to get their mind active! They’ll appreciate getting a Christmas gift as much as everyone else does!
Sometimes it’s hard to be aware of everything going on, but the safety of your dog should be a priority! With people arriving and leaving throughout the day, doors and gates swing back and forth, giving your pup the chance to run out.
Make sure you know where the exits may be and just tell your guests to watch out for your dog when opening doors. You don’t want your dog to go missing!
Whether you’re hosting a party of guests or going to someone else’s house with your furry friend by your side, you should have a little chat with other people around.
Just warn them that your pup might get overwhelmed by loud noises, and ask them not to feed your dog foods that will harm them. It might be a little awkward, but they simply may not be aware of the risks involved with the other points we’ve listed above.
If there are children around, it’s worthwhile asking them to not disturb your dog when they’re in their safe zone, because they need some time to relax from the excitement!