People up and down the country and even all over the world love Christmas. After all, it has something magical about it and is full of laughter and indulgence.
However, it is important to remember our dogs at Christmas. Christmas can be an incredibly stressful time for them.
On top of that, Christmas can present a lot of dangers to our dogs. Some like the Christmas tree; you probably have thought of others like the Christmas post you may not have done.
As well as the tree and decorations, Christmas brings many dangerous foods to our dogs. These include Christmas pudding, mince pies, cake, dates, chocolate raisins and alcohol. After all, we don’t want our dogs to get into trouble around the home anytime, especially not at Christmas.
So, I hope this article will help you keep your dog safe this Christmas
Dog-safe Christmas tree
Most of us like a good old Christmas tree. This may be real with pine needles or fake. However, both can be a danger to our dogs.
The tinsel can attract a curious dog who may like to chew on it. This can lead to an internal blockage.
The bright lights with those electric cables can be dangerous as your dog gets tangled and possibly electrocuted.
If you go for a real tree, the Pine needles can be very sharp, especially if swallowed.
Whatever tree you decide to have, then please consider some kind of puppy playpen to keep the dog out. If it is a real tree, then vacuum the needles up daily. Please also make sure the dog can’t drink the water from the base.
Finally, please take a moment to read our article on dog proofing your Christmas tree.
Give the dog a good walk and wear him out.
Whilst we want our dogs to join in at Christmas after all, it is time to be with family and friends (although this may not be the case In 2020). It is a fact that an over-excited dog can not only be a nuisance but may also get himself into trouble.
To help keep everything calm, I would take the dog for a nice walk and play games before the festivities begin. This will help ensure they are tired and relaxed.
Christmas is the time to eat, drink and be merry, however. …
Christmas is a time to make a pig of ourselves with all the lovely spreads and lots of excellent comfort food that Christmas brings. This is not the case for our dogs.
It is important to make sure you and any guests are aware of which foods and treats are, in fact, highly harmful and toxic to our dogs. These include things such as Mince pies, grapes, and raisins. Chocolate, garlic, onions, stuffing etc. and of course, alcohol. Another hidden danger is xylitol, as this artificial sweetener can be found in many things. Our Toxic foods for dog list should help
It is important to ensure that you and any guests (if they are allowed) don’t leave leftovers or any other food around unattended unless it is high up where your dog can not get to them.
If the worst should happen and your dog gets hold of something they shouldn’t eat, then I strongly urge you to seek medical advice as soon as possible. Contacting Vetfone ASAP is a great place to start with any concerns.
Beware of toxic Christmas plants.
Christmas is a time when we bring strange plants into the house, and as all dogs are curious, they will want to investigate. Please take a moment to read our article on Christmas plants, as many of the popular Christmas plants are toxic.
This includes plants such as The Tree itself, Christmas Cactus, The Holly and the ivy, and the mistletoe are, just a few.
So when looking at Christmas decorations and putting up holly wreaths for a touch of colour, please make sure they are well out of the way of the dog and that you regularly vacuum up needles and fallen berries.
Leftovers are bad news for dogs.
Whilst we are all tempted to give the dog a small titbit or a leftover from our plate, it is essential to remember that a lot of Christmas foods can cause the dog to have an upset stomach.
Whilst dogs love a bone, the cooked bones of the Christmas roast must be avoided. Cooked bones, particularly turkey and chicken bones, can splinter and cause internal injuries
Rich food such as the turkey skin or the turkey itself can be hard for dogs to digest and cause pancreatitis and gastroenteritis.
If you do want to give your dog leftovers, then please read our article on this matter, as turkey meat can be safe in small amounts, Make sure you also let any other members of the household know.
Provide a quiet and comfortable space
It is essential to provide your dog with a place where he can escape to get peace and quiet. After all, Christmas gets a bit much for us all with loud noises from crackers and party poppers. The over-busy household of visitors and excited children running around etc
Make sure you have a room that is off-limits to everyone but the dog. Place their bed, a toy, and maybe some water in this room. If your dog is particularly jumpy, you may wish to use a plug-in diffuser.
Whatever you include in the room, you must let your dog know this is his safe place (it may even be the same safe place that you use for fireworks).
You may wish to consider a thunder shirt or similar to help them cope with the extra stress.
Popping champagne corks, crackers, whistles, and hooters can all upset your dog, as can all the comings and goings associated with the season. A joyful time for you but potentially unsettling for your dog. If you have lots of people visiting, make sure your dog has his safe place – perhaps introduce a crate to make sure he can be quiet somewhere. Remind guests, especially those with children who aren’t used to dogs, to keep an eye on their small people to make sure they respect your dog’s space.
Tidy up the presents and Christmas wrapping
Everyone loves a visit from Santa Claus at Christmas, which results in toys, Christmas wrapping, bows and possibly batteries being left all over the place.
These, along with crackers, can all contain small objects that can easily become a choking hazard for the dog or cause an intestinal obstruction. Please also read our article on the dangers of batteries, as these can also lead to severe chemical burns.
If you do not have a place for the new presents that are out of the reach of the dog, then please make sure they are kept in a cupboard – especially remote controls, as they are great to chew on
Christmas candles and fireplaces
The evenings are dark and cold, and there is nothing better than to snuggle up in front of a wood-burning fire whilst watching TV. You may even decide to light a few scented candles for that beautiful smell
However, it is important to remember that these candles can be easily knocked over by wagging tails.
If you have a dog like my rescue, who likes to get close to anything warm, the potential of burning themselves on the open fire is high. This is also the case for curious dogs.
It is, therefore important to use some kind of fireguard with open fires and wood-burning stoves to prevent anyone (including the dog) from getting burnt.
Provide your guests with a pet safety checklist
Unless you know that your guest has dogs and are fully aware of all the dangers, it is best to assume they are like Manuel from Fawlty Towers (Other great si cos available) and “I know nothing.”
When your guests arrive, make sure that coats and bags are hung up out of the dogs’ reach. After all, they could contain human medicines, makeup and other items that could cause your dog to be ill. Dogs are curious and will explore.
Alternatively, a much safer option, is to have a room where your guests can place all their belongings. It is then much easy to ensure that the door is kept closed so the dog can’t get in.
Dogs love routine
We all know that dogs tend to be a creature of habit and, in many ways, love routine. Therefore, you must try and keep to your dog’s routine as much as possible.
This includes taking them for a walk at the same time you usually do and, if you have a feeding routine, then sticking to it. My dogs don’t have a routine as we ditched the bowel, and mealtime is a mixture of brain games and snuffle mats).
Keeping as much as possible to their Christmas routine will make your dog feel less stressed even with the added chaos.