Thursday, 13 December 2012

How to Help Your Dog Enjoy Christmas

Christmas is a time for families and festivities, and as our dogs are part or our families we naturally want them to have as good a time as we're having.

But dogs, as we all know, are creatures of habit and are not keen on their routine being disrupted. At Christmas, routine tends to go out the window as we invite people in, go out more frequently and spend more time eating than at other times of the year.

With that in mind, here are a few tips to make sure your dog is kept content and safe over the Christmas period.

Keep the following, potentially harmful foods out of reach from your dog
  • Left over turkey - The bones and skin of turkey can cause choking.
  • Grapes and raisins - These can cause kidney failure.
  • Christmas cake - It contains raisins, sultanas etc (see last point).
  • Chocolate (especially dark chocolate) - It contains a substance called theobromine which is poisonous to dogs.
  • Onions and garlic - These can cause anaemia.
Christmas decorations
  • If you opt for a real Christmas tree, remember that pine needles are sharp and can get stuck in your dog’s pads and throat, and that tree water can make your dog sick. If you do have a particularly curious pet, perhaps an artificial tree would be a safer option.
  • Make sure your tree and other Christmas decorations (including balloons) cannot be reached and avoid using edible tree decorations, especially chocolate ones.  If you're worried about baubles falling and shattering, get unbreakable ones that are too big for your dog to swallow if they do fall off.
  • Unplug your tree lights when you go out. 
  • Keep all wires and cables tucked away.
Other precautions you should take
  • After the presents have been opened, make sure all the wrapping paper, bows, strings and the presents themselves are put at a safe distance from your dog.
  • If you have children, make sure their toys are not left lying around, especially if they have small parts that your dog might be tempted to chew on.
  • Don't leave your children unattended while they are playing with young animals as over-excitement can lead to accidents or someone getting hurt.
  • Keep houseplants out of your dog’s reach. Many of them - including Poinsettias and mistletoe - are toxic.
To help your dog enjoy Christmas ...
  • Give them some lean turkey (no skin or bones) as part of their regular feed and even some raw vegetables.
  • Keep them amused with an interactive toy, such as a Kong or activity ball. If it's new for Christmas, it will keep them entertained and they probably won't even notice all the activity going on around him.
  • Make sure they get their regular walks.
  • Give them the same amount of attention as they are used to getting.

I hope you and your dog(s) all have a very Happy Christmas!

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