10 Tips to help your Dog Enjoy Christmas

With Christmas almost on us, its time to consider how you dog will fit into the festivities. You want him to have as much fun as you and be safe and happy. Pets are family members too and their needs and desires need to be considered. Christmas day can be stressful for you and also for your dog. Its so easy to get swept up in the fun and forget your pups routine, leaving him feeling left out (and perhaps desperate for a comfort break!)

Here are my top 10 Christmas tips for a happy holiday hound:

1. Christmas tree 
The tree is an essential part of Christmas but is a trove of hazards for your dog. Make sure your Christmas tree and any other decorations are safe and secure. You should consider:
– Placing any present out of your pups reach
– Avoid using any decorations that could be harmful to your pet. Swap out glass baubles for non breakable ones and avoid tinsel which can get twisted in your dogs gut.
– Locate your tree in a separate room to one your pup has access too.
– Buy an artificial tree instead of a real one. You dog can be attracted to the water and any preservatives a living tree needs. Also dropped needles can get stuck in paws or worse, eaten.

2. Foods
I always share a some of my Christmas dinner with Annie but its important to not over feed your dog which can give him a belly ache or if the food is too rich for him them an upset tummy. A small bit of turkey and some roast carrots would make a wonderful treat for your dog. You could also get the kids to help bake your dog some special Christmas cookies.
There are several Christmassey foods that your dog should avoid:
– Chocolate: It contains a naturally occurring stimulant called the bromine which is extremely poisonous to your pet.
– Christmas Pudding: These are full of nuts and raisins which are toxic to your dog. Raisins are toxic and nuts can cause blockages in your dogs gut.
– Lollies (Sweets and candies to the rest of the world): In addition to being full of sugar which your pet should not have some lollies contain Xylitol which is very toxic to dogs.

3. Weather
If you are near us in Australia then you have the hot summer to contend with and need to ensure your pup has a cool spot, plenty of water and doesn’t get over excited. And if you’re heading to the beach take Fido with you.
If you are in the Northern hemisphere and have the cold to content with (lucky you!) and should consider buying your dog a nice warm jumper and making sure you have a suitable guard around any fires. 

4. Guests
Most Christmas celebrations involve family and guests which can be stressful for your pet, consider where he will want to be during the day
– Consider your dog and any young children who may not be used to your dog and might make him feel uncomfortable. Children also like to feed puppies things they shouldn’t- Make sure he has his own safe place in case the festivities become too much for him and he wants a break, a crate or bed in a quiet separate room is perfect. (make sure he has his water in there).

OscarsLaw_Xmas15_FBProfile5. Presents.
Annie always has more presents under the tree than we do and buying your dog a snowman shaped stuffed toy or a treat ball can be a great way of including your dog in the fun that is present opening and give him something special to play with during the day.
Please remember that your dogs nose is awesome and he can sniff food out a mile away so keep any edible presents in particular up out of puppy’s reach.
After unwrapping the presents, quickly clean up any plastic, ribbons and bows that could strangle or be swallowed by your pet.

Puppies are not Presents.
They’re living creatures that require a lifetime commitment. We strongly believe in Oscars Law and have made them our December Charity of the Month so if you really want a new family member then please consider adoption. Also wait until after Christmas when a new dog can adjust easier to his new home. You don’t want to be cleaning up ‘accidents’ with a house full of guests or worrying about little ones leaving choccies about. 

6. Outfits
I love to dress Annie up in santa hats and tinsel but I never leave her unattended with them. Not all dogs are comfortable in fancy dress and its not fair to stress these dogs out. If your dog is scared of antlers them why not buy him a Christmas patterned collar so he can join in without having something unusual around his neck to worry about? Us Aussies should also remember that a ‘Santas little helper’ t-shirt whilst very cute, is too warm for this time of year.

7. Schedule
You want Christmas to be fun and relaxing for your dog  Make sure your schedule in your dogs daily walks and toilet breaks, if he always gets a walk at 3pm them try to fit this in between taking the mince pies out and opening the presents. Also plan an active walk just before your guests arrive so that Fido is nice and relaxed, and ready to welcome your guests.
8.  Plants
Holly, ivy, and mistletoe are traditional Christmas plants but they can be very harmful to your dog if ingested. Poinsettia plants are particularly toxic to dogs are should be avoided.

9. Games & Activities
Its going to be very boring for your dog if you’re sitting playing Monoply all day ignoring him. Why not invent some fun for everyone. You could play ‘find the toy’ with his new stuffed snowman or how about making him, his on super present to unwrap? (You put a treat in a small box or wrapped up, then put that and another small treat in the next box or paper layer and so on. 

10. Crackers & Fireworks
Most crackers go off with a small bang or crack when pulled which can be very frightening to a dog. Consider making your own cracker or bonbons and leave the explosive out. And I don’t know of a dog the enjoys fireworks so consider leaving these out of your celebrations.

Have a fantastic Christmas from Annie and Me!


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