Christmas is on its way, and children all over the country are beginning to get excited. For their parents, however, things begin to get a little more stressful. There is a lot to plan around the holiday season, and one of the aspects that can cause worry is looking after your dog.
Dogs need a little bit of extra care around Christmas time, but that does not mean that it has to be a chore doing so. You can have a lot of fun with your dog during the holidays, but there are several things you need to bear in mind.
The first is food. You need to watch your dog fairly closely on Christmas Day, as there are plenty of foods that will be left out while you are celebrating that can be very harmful to dogs, so you need to make sure they are not left unsupervised in a room with them.
Your dog is liable to eat things like chocolate, grapes, and raisins if they are able to, which is extremely bad as these can be quite poisonous to dogs. Be careful if you get given a plant for Christmas as well, as certain varieties such as poinsettias and amaryllis can also harm your dog if they are able to eat them.
When you go for Christmas dinner, it will be nice for your dog if they are able to eat at the same time. You can provide them with a treat when you do so as well, by giving them some of the meat. Dogs will gladly eat cooked turkey, although raw dog food can also be good for them. Be careful not to give them any bones though, as these can splinter and hurt your dog’s internal organs.
A spokesperson for canine charity Dogs Trust said: “Owners should look out for hazards in the home with everything from scissors to sellotape and small toys a potential risk to dogs. These items should all be hidden safely away to avoid your dog swallowing them.”
With all the exhilaration occurring on Christmas Day, your dog can also get a little agitated. Having lots of people over can make dogs nervous, especially if some of those people are children who are liable to be loud and overexcited.
Make sure your dog is provided with an area of your home that they can go to to be away from all the noise, people and unfamiliar sounds and smells. Your dog will probably want to spend some of their Christmas alone, as the day can be quite mentally tiring for them.
The Dogs Trust spokesperson said: “Christmas is a very exciting time and dogs may get stressed with all the stimulation. Make sure your dog has his usual routine to avoid him becoming unsettled. Feed and walk your dog at the usual times and set aside plenty of time for attention and play.”
Finally, think twice before getting anybody a dog for Christmas. Remember that it is a big responsibility, and not everyone is prepared to put in the same amount of energy towards caring for a dog as you are.
The Dogs Trust motto is “A Dog Is For Life, Not Just For Christmas”, and at this time of year it is important that people understand that. Only when they are genuinely ready for the responsibility should people be thinking about getting a dog. That way, they can ensure a happy life together.
Written by: Hannah Dyball