Tips for Celebrating Safely With Your Dog at Christmas

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.  When getting ready for Christmas it’s easy to forget to take your dog’s 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.

Dangerous and Toxic Foods for Dogs

When you’re preparing holiday meals and snacks keep in mind that all of those good smells are very tempting for a dog.  Everyone seems to have a story about their friend, neighbour or relative’s dog who stole the turkey right off the table.  Make sure you keep food out of reach and make sure toxic foods are put away.

  • Alcohol
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Bones (especially cooked)
  • Blue cheese
  • Chives
  • Chocolate (especially dark chocolate)
  • Christmas pudding and minced pie
  • Currants
  • Garlic
  • Grapes
  • Leeks
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Mouldy foods
  • Onions
  • Raisins
  • Rich fatty foods
  • Shallots
  • Sultanas

There are many other human foods that are toxic for dogs so make sure you educate yourself and keep food at a safe distance.

Dangerous Decorations and Other Things Lying Around

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 dog toy 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 and ribbons are other danger zones.  If consumed they can get clogged in a dogs intestines and require surgery to be removed.  Keep your pooch in mind, and an eye on them as they get used to the new décor, and keep dangerous items out of reach.

Here are some other hazards your dog may chew or swallow at Christmas:

  • Batteries
  • Candles
  • Cigarettes
  • Edible ornaments
    • Salt dough decorations
    • Popcorn strings
    • Cranberry strings
  • Potpourri
  • Silica gel packets
  • Toys
  • Wrapping paper

Oh, and if you’re in the habit of putting gifts under the tree before the big day, you’d better make sure they don’t contain any chocolate, candy, food or anything else they can sniff out and get into when you’re not looking.  It’s best to ask your loved ones to keep them out of harms way until it’s time to open them.

Don’t Forget 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 and 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 with your Dog

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 and have some fun!  For example, lots of businesses will offer dog photo’s with Santa or holiday backdrops where you can take pictures with the whole family.

If you remember to consider your dogs needs as you prepare for the Holiday season everyone is sure to have a good time.

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