Well it’s that time of year again – I’m sure by now, most of you have put up your Christmas trees and decorations, bought and wrapped your presents and are well into celebrating the party season!
But spare a thought for your dogs a moment. Just because we love Christmas, it doesn’t mean your dog does too. If you have a young dog, have taken on a rescue dog this year, or your dog is becoming elderly, Christmas can be chaotic and stressful for them.
Christmas trees and decorations can be strange unfamiliar objects to your dog, your home may be full of people your dog has not met before, there may be loud music and children running around, there will no doubt be lots of party poppers and crackers being pulled, and there will be lots of tasty food lying around.
Here are a few considerations to keep your hounds happy during the festive season:
- If you have a young puppy or your dog does have a tendency to chew, keep your Christmas tree and all decorations out of reach. Instead, give your dog something else to keep him occupied such as a stuffed Kong or a Busy Buddy toy. Never leave your dog unsupervised around the Christmas tree until you know they are not bothered by it and completely ignore it.
- Dogs cope better when they have a consistent routine so maintain this as much as possible when it comes to walking and feeding times.
- If you are having lots of people over, keep their beds in a quiet place so they can retreat if the festivities become too much. If your dog is nervous of strangers, ask them to completely ignore your dog. Then when your dog approaches them, have them throw a few tasty treats that your dog loves.
- We love to over-indulge at Christmas, but over-feeding your dog or giving him food that he may not be used to can cause an upset stomach. Remember that there will also be lots of food lying around that is poisonous or can cause severe stomach upsets in dogs, (chocolate, grapes, mince pies and Christmas pudding, cooked bones from meat joints, alcohol) so keep all these items well out of reach from your dog. This includes any chocolate decorations on your Christmas tree!
- If your dog is nervous of loud noises such as fireworks, your dog is probably not going to like party poppers or crackers either! Take them to another room, put on the TV or radio to block out the sounds and give them a food-dispensing toy to keep them occupied. If you have a Thundershirt already for your dog, put it on them – this can really help to keep them calm. For more information on Thundershirts, please go to www.thundershirt.xtradog.com.
If you find your dog is not coping well over Christmas and New Year, then call us on how we can help you. We can come round for a home visit, assess your dog and go through the issues you are having, creating a tailor-made, manageable plan to help you and your dog.
Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and a very Happy New Year.