Christmas is a time of year when all routines tend to get put to one side. Not least because there’s always so much going on, people visiting or perhaps you’re away from home, but have you stopped to think about how all these disruptions can affect your four-legged friend?
Dogs Like Routine
Dogs are sensitive and intuitive creatures, so they’ll notice a change in the household with more comings and goings, decorations and a change in routine that can often can cause them to feel stressed. As a London dog walker, I’ve seen no end of stressed out pooches, so I’ve put together some tips to get you all through the festive period unscathed.
Signs of Stress
Key signs of stress to look out for in your dog over the festive period include, hiding away, licking of flanks, lips and paws and generally being more vocal with barking, whining or yawning. If you find your dog is displaying any or all of these signs, it may be that they’re trying to alert you that something is wrong.
Making sure your Christmas is dog friendly – gradually introducing decorations into the home, making a safe place for them to retreat if necessary and giving them plenty of fuss and attention, especially when there are lots of people around, will help – as well as maintaining their usual routine as much as possible.
Keep on Walking
Whilst the thought of braving the cold over Christmas isn’t always that appealing, especially after a big dinner, your dog still needs to have his regular exercise – as do you! Where possible try to keep dog walks at their usual times and duration throughout the holidays, so there is minimal disruption to their routine. If you take your dog out first thing in the morning and a longer walk in the afternoon, try to keep this up and not let this slip.
Other key aspects of their routine include feeding times and snacking. Naturally over Christmas, eating routines go out the window, as there always seems to be something to graze on. However, it’s important to remember your dog still needs to stick to his usual meal times and portions sizes where possible. Also, be aware of giving your pooch treats. Too many and the wrong kind, could give him an upset stomach or result in weight gain.
Caring for your dog at Christmas simply takes a little consideration for their usual daily routine. By maintaining their walks and feeding rituals, as well as giving them places to retreat and a little extra attention, you’ll hopefully make for a thoroughly enjoyable Christmas for you and your dog.