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A Safe & Happy Dog At Christmas

Dec 21 / Sally Gutteridge
It’s Christmas again, it comes around so quickly doesn’t it?
This year is a little different for us and it might even be quieter for our beloved dogs, but there are still some things we need to keep in mind for their physical, emotional and psychological safety. Let’s take a look at how to best care for and protect our dogs over the Christmas period.

Watch Their Diet

Many dogs across the country will probably be getting their own roast dinner this year. Meat and vegetables will be fine, watch out for any hidden nasties in there though. Stuffing and gravy with onions for example should be avoided as onions are really bad for dogs. Watch out for anything overly salty on your dog’s dinner as that can put pressure on the dog’s body.

Avoid pudding for your dog too, raisins are really nasty and can cause poisoning very quickly, so no mince pies, no Christmas pudding for your dog. Similarly, chocolate is terrible for dogs and can be fatal, and certainly no alcohol. This might sound a bit boring but believe me, avoiding all these things on your dog’s behalf make you a kind and excellent guardian. 

Don’t Overwhelm Them

It’s so easy to expect our dogs to cope with everything we throw at them, including way too much noise and physical contact than they are comfortable with. Whilst we likely won’t be having big Christmas parties this year, we may still have one sherry too many and be tempted to hug our dogs, telling them how wonderful they are (because of course they are) but remember that dogs are unique individuals and we shouldn’t force hugs on them, just as we shouldn’t on each other as it can be very uncomfortable for them (just as it can be for us). So, give them the space they need and ask their permission before you hug.

Bang Less – If At All

Take the crack our of your crackers this year. And don’t be tempted to spice up your Christmas with fireworks, because even if your dog can cope many can’t, and that’s not fair. Sound sensitivity in dogs is an issue bigger than many people know and it’s linked with anxiety. Being sensitive to sound has also been linked with pain in dogs by some studies and science tells us that if a dog is sound sensitive they should also be checked for joint pain. Sharp bangs can make a dog – and let’s face it many people – uncomfortable and even stressed. So, try to avoid them if at all possible.

Treat Them With Activity 

Treating your dog this Christmas can involve activity and enrichment, which most dogs love. Even if you don’t have cash to buy them lots of stuff to play with, you can make toys and enrichment activities from anything at all. Old cardboard tubes can be utilised as rip open toys for a treat. Towels can be wrapped in many ways around a few tasty treats and scattering food around the home and garden will help them to relax as they find it and afterwards. 

Do They Like That Santa Coat?

Ask yourself too if you really need to dress up the dog. How do they look in their Christmas outfit? Happy like the dog in the picture above or worried and uncomfortable? Whether your dog gets festive attire or not should be really up to the dog, some like it, some don’t mind, and some would rather be anywhere else in the World. Your job is to assess what your dog likes and respect their wishes, if you really want to dress up your dog do make sure your dog is having fun too.

This might sound a little killjoy but in all honesty try to look at it this way. We humans are great at sabotaging ourselves, we eat the wrong things, do things we know are bad for us and persist in doing them especially when we have an excuse – like it’s Christmas! Our dogs are part of our lives, and part of our family now, so let’s not sabotage them too. They rely on us to keep them happy, healthy and relaxed. Let’s not let them down.

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