Christmas is my very favourite time of year – I love the decorations, the clear cold days (when it isn’t torrentially raining), shopping, visiting and everything that goes along with it. With everything that goes along with getting ready for Christmas it’s easy to forget to take your dogs needs into account while you’re busy preparing. Here are a few things to watch out for during the holiday’s and some tips for enjoying them with your dog.
First up: Food! When you’re preparing holiday meals and snacks keep in mind that all of those good smells are VERY tempting for a dog. Make sure you keep food out of reach (everyone seems to have a story about their friend/neighbour/relative’s dog who stole the turkey right off the table) and make sure toxic foods are put away. Chocolate is particularly toxic for dogs (especially dark chocolate) and should never be kept in nose-reach. There are many other human foods that are toxic for dogs so make sure you educate yourself and keep food at a safe distance.
Decorations: Shiny fancy decorations, ribbons and bows are as tempting to dogs as they are to children. Keep in mind that to a dog a Christmas ball ornament looks suspiciously like a ball hanging on the tree and the temptation to play with it may be overwhelming. Since many Christmas balls are made of glass this could cause serious damage to a dog if they were to bite and break it. Tinsel is another danger zone (along with ribbons). If consumed it can get clogged in a dogs intestines requiring surgery to be removed. Keep your pooch in mind (and an eye on them as they get used to the new additions to the décor) and keep dangerous items out of reach.
Exercise: With all of the parties, shopping, food preparation and other events that go along with the season it can be easy to neglect your dogs exercise. Remember the golden rule: a well exercised dog is a happy/well behaved dog. Make sure you make time in your day to keep up with your dogs exercise routine. Your dog will be happier and less likely to get into mischief if you do.
Quality Time: When everyone is busy and otherwise occupied don’t forget to spend some quality time with your dog – playing a favourite game, going for a walk or just having a snuggle. Your dog needs your attention just as much at Christmas time as he does the rest of the year.
Find activities for your family that your dog can join in on! Look for some new walks or hikes, consider taking the whole family and your pooch on a dog-friendly snowshoe trail, look for dog related events in your town (lots of businesses will offer dog photo’s with Santa or holiday backdrops where you can take pictures with the whole family) and have some fun!
If you remember to consider your dogs needs as you prepare for the Holiday season everyone is sure to have a good time.