Christmas is coming and there’s a lot to look forward to, but don’t forget the needs of your four-legged friends. With a little planning and preparation, and extra consideration for your pet on the big day, Christmas can be a truly family affair that everybody including your four-legged friend can enjoy.
Keep the routine
Although all routines tend to get thrown out of the window on Christmas Day, it’s important not to let your dog’s routine fall by the wayside. If you pet has their first meal of the day in the morning, then make sure this happens before the present opening commences. A full tummy should hopefully make your dog fell more relaxed and less eager to sniff out the Christmas chocolates.
As long as you feed and walk your dog at the times your pet is used to, disruption to their daily routine should be kept to a minimum.
Be on the lookout
There are bound to be chocolates and other human foods that are poisonous to curious pets on Christmas Day. Potentially toxic foods include Christmas pudding, mince pies, Gravy. And, the chances are, your pet will know exactly where these foods are in the house. Remember your pets are very clever, they can figure out, how to open cupboard, or climb onto a shelf, so it’s important to keep food and presents out of your pets reach, or make sure your pet is supervised. Be careful about Christmas decorations on the tree too, as although they are not necessarily toxic, tinsel or an ingested bauble could cause serious problems with your pet digestive system, and you don’t want a trip to the vet on Christmas Day.
The smell of turkey cooking must be tortuous to our four-legged friends, but remember what foods is safe to humans, may not be safe to pets, for example bones in the meat, which may splinter and cause your pets to chock, and avoid gravy, which is far too salty for healthy pets, or anything fatty. It’s important not to let your pet indulge too much on Christmas Day.
Christmas has to be one of the best days of the year for a dog walk. Nearly everyone you come across is in a good mood, you can wear the new scarf or socks that you unwrapped earlier in the day, you can burn off those extra calories you consumed, and it’s the perfect opportunity to get the whole family to spend some quality time together in the great outdoors.
On and around Christmas Day you’re likely to have visitors coming to the door and also coming into the house and you don’t want them to be greeted by an out of control dog jumping up and licking them. Consider putting your dog on a lead when they arrive or, even better, consider putting in some prior training. Firstly, teach your dog to sit away from visitors and reward them with treats for doing it. Then, ask someone to approach the pet slowly, and reward your pet for sitting. If your pet breaks the sit, then the person moves away, but as long as your pet keeps the sit, then you pet can greet the person. This takes time and patience.
Your pet is one of the family
If you’re planning on visiting your family on Christmas Day, make sure you consider where your dog is going to spend the day. In an ideal situation, your pet should come with you and join in with the fun, but this may not be practical and you may need to consider the size of house, you are visiting, how many people, including children will be there, and whether your pet would be happier staying at home. It may be best to compromise and keep any visits to see family fairly short so your pet isn’t left alone for as short time as possible. It is not advisable to keep your dog in the car; where they can’t move around, and it will probably be way too cold for them in the car.
If you have a busy day at Christmas, the day can be a bit overwhelming for some pets, especially if they are young and have never experienced Christmas before, or if they have been recently rescued and aren’t used to lots of people. Let your pet have their chill out time, and consider move their pets bed to a quiet corner of the house, where your pet won’t be disturbed, should they want to go off for a Christmas snooze.
Fitzcharles Training offer Canine and First Aid courses throughout Scotland, in fact what an excellent Christmas present, for more information, check out their website.