Christmas is a joyous time when we celebrate with family and friends. Those of us who have dogs include them in our holiday festivities. After all, they are part of our family and we want them to enjoy the holidays as much as we do.
During the Christmas period we need to make sure that our dogs are able to cope with the festivities and that they stay healthy and happy.
Like small children, dogs are curious, so it is your responsibility to puppy proof your home.
Christmas Tree Tips:
1. Prior to Christmas, when you are decorating your home and wrapping gifts, be sure to use caution.
2. Secure, hide or cover electrical cords and electronics. Holiday lights and decorations usually lead to many new cords being scattered around the house. Be sure all cords are taped down or completely out of reach for your pets as they can trip on them, chew them up, or even experience an electric shock.
3. Place your Christmas tree in a corner, blocked off from your pet’s wanting eyes. If this doesn’t keep your dog or cat from attempting to jump onto the tree, you can place aluminum foil, a plastic drink bottle filled with knick knacks, or anything else that creates noise on the tree’s bottom limbs to warn you of an impending tree disaster.
4. Dogs and Christmas Ornaments. Pick up any ornament hooks, tinsel, or ribbon that fall on the floor. Your pet could experience serious internal injuries if any of these items are ingested. If you have a dog or cat that is tempted to play with the ornaments on your tree, decorate the bottom third of the tree with non-breakable, plastic, or wooden ornaments, or decorate only the top two-thirds of your tree. Make sure that your dog has plenty of dog toys available, so they do not become bored.
5. Do not put lights on the tree’s lower branches. Not only can your pet get tangled up in the lights, they are a burning hazard. Additionally, your dog or cat may inadvertently get shocked by biting through the wire.
6. No Feasting for the Furries . By now you know not to feed your pets chocolate and anything sweetened with xylitol, but do you know the lengths to which an enterprising fur kid will go to chomp on something yummy? Make sure to keep your pets away from the table and unattended plates of food, and be sure to secure the lids on garbage cans.
7. Don’t forget Fido. In all the excitement of Christmas, don’t forget your dog. They will need the same amount of love, attention, grooming, walks and general care as they usually do. And don’t forget that pets are a great way for humans to de-stress, so stroking the dog has benefits for both of you.
Many of us eat more than usual at Christmas and sit around a centrally heated house. But remember to take your dog for their usual walks. Enjoy the fresh air and time together. If you have visitors, why not ask them to come too. Everyone will come home rosy cheeked and refreshed.
8. For those buying a live Christmas trees this year, keep the area free and clear of pine needles. While they may not seem dangerous, the needles can puncture your pet’s intestines if ingested.
9. That Holiday Glow . Don’t leave lighted candles unattended. Pets may burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock candles over. Be sure to use appropriate candle holders, placed on a stable surface. And if you leave the room, put the candle out!
10. Careful with Cocktails . If your celebration includes adult holiday beverages, be sure to place your unattended alcoholic drinks where pets cannot get to them. If ingested, your pet could become weak, ill and may even go into a coma, possibly resulting in death from respiratory failure.
If your dog is not used to children, take care if younger family members are visiting over the festive season. Older dogs especially can find young children hard to tolerate. Make sure any visiting children are told how to handle a dog and make sure they always show your dog respect. Do not leave children alone with a dog, any dog, at any time.
Remember the Dogs Trust mantra “A dog is for life, not just for Christmas“. Never give a pet for Christmas, ever. Similarly, it is not a good idea to bring home a new family pet during the holiday season either. It is tempting to get a new pet during the holidays when everyone is home but bear in mind that Christmas is a hectic and noisy time of year, with lots of loud bangs from Xmas Crackers and lots of strangers going in and out of the house. This would not be an ideal time for any dog to settle stress-free into a new home.