While we may love the holiday season and all it brings – decorating, a constant stream of house guests and lots of revelry, music, food and drink – to a pet, this can actually be quite a stressful time. It’s so easy to get caught up in the festivities and forget our furry friends may have a very different view of the holiday season.
TIP 1: MAINTAIN A NORMAL ROUTINE
Dogs thrive on routine. They like for things to remain relatively unchanged but when the chaos of Christmas arrives, we may think nothing of feeding them at a different time or skipping that evening walk altogether. However, it’s really important to maintain his or her routine as much as you can. Feed him at the same time as he always is fed, take her for her normal planned walk if at all possible and make sure he gets just as much love and attention as he would any other day.
TIP 2: DECORATE GRADUALLY
You may be moving furniture around to accommodate your tree or you may find yourself putting away pet beds to make room for extra guests. Changing the whole look of the house can be incredibly unsettling for dogs so consider decorating your home gradually in stages rather than all in one day. Of course, you want to always ensure that any trailing wires are out of a dog’s reach and any hanging decorations are kept well away from curious paws.
TIP 3: GIVE YOUR DOG A GROOM
Make sure your dog feels happily pampered with a professional dog grooming before the big day. A nice-smelling coat and trimmed nails will make for a happier dog as well as happier guests when they enter your home.
TIP 4: MAKE SURE YOUR DOG HAS A SAFE ZONE
It may be best if you are expecting a big crowd to make sure your dog has a safe spot to retreat from all the noise. You might want to assess your dog’s behaviour around strangers or visitors well in advance to ensure he or she is not in any way aggressive or requires any (positive!) behavioural training.
TIP 5: BE AWARE OF TOXINS IN PAPER & PLANTS
Wrapping paper can contain harmful chemicals such as bleach and chlorine which can be dangerous to dogs when ingested so while he may enjoy ripping open his presents, it’s probably best to leave your dog’s presents unwrapped or use simple un-dyed kraft paper or cardboard boxes! Also, mistletoe, holly and poinsettia are all toxic to dogs!
TIP 6: SWEEP UP STRAY PINE NEEDLES
Make sure you sweep up any pine needles from your tree as they fall. If they are ingested, they can be toxic to pets, they are also known to get stuck in the dog’s paw which can be painful.
TIP 7: BEWARE DOORS OPENING AND CLOSING
Make sure guests are aware not to leave any doors open where the dog might escape during the day. With front and back doors or gates constantly swinging open and closed, it’s important you are aware of where your precious pet is. The last thing you will want is a full-on search on Christmas day.