Over the festive period, spending quality time with friends and family is very much the spirit of the festive period and our dogs are obviously very important family members so we need to give them a little TLC during this busy time. Here's a few tips to help your dog feel happy and loved during the holiday season ...
Spoil them with little things that mean a lot
We love this bit - finding ways to include our dogs in the celebrations in a dog appropriate way.
Brutus loves a snuffly Christmas gift!
- All of our gang love to unwrap presents, not least because we put some dried treats in their parcels so they snuffle around for ages unwrapping their presents - it's great fun for them and fun for us to watch!
- All that gift wrap that has been opened up from your own gifts? Take some of the paper, lay it out flat, drop in some small treats and then scrunch the paper up into a ball - instant treat ball for your dog to play with!
- Naughty but nice ... Brutus is obsessed with rolls of loo paper. This Christmas I will give him a whole roll to shred, just for fun!
- Cooking this Christmas? While you're peeling those carrots don't forget that a carrot stick is a healthy and happy chew stick for a dog as a treat
- Our gang always have their own Christmas dinner from our table ... a little bit of turkey breast and some cooked vegetables, but not too much in case it unsettles their tummies. No gravy allowed - invariably our gravy has onion in it which is poisonous to dogs.
- Left over turkey or mashed potatoes? More yummy treats ... try putting them in a treat ball or mashing it up and spreading it on a Lickimat as a nice way to keep them occupied
Keeping them safe
- Warning - toxic! Chocolate (especially darker chocolate), raisins, onions - all are poisonous to dogs so keep anything containing the above well out of reach of your dogs and that includes Mince Pies, Christmas Pudding and all manner of human festive treats.
- Don't forget to "vet" gifts that are under your tree for anything potentially hazardous to dogs before they go under the tree where your dog has access to them unsupervised!
- Also be careful about what's on your tree. Curtesy decorations and tinsel can be intriguing to dogs - a great big toy dispenser has suddenly arrived in the house! Tinsel is not toxic but it can get stuck in dogs' tummies and lead to emergency trips to the vet.
Help them chill
Don't forget to check in on your dogs to make sure that the excitement of the festivities isn't overwhelming them.
With all their favourite people in constant supply, Christmas & New Year can be a happy time for dogs, but it can also be stressful. Their daily routine is disrupted and there’s lots more humans around busying up the place and making noise. While some dogs take it all in their stride, others can find it a bit too much. Dogs communicate stress in different ways, but common signs of an unhappy pooch include pacing, panting, trembling, excessive yawning, drooling and licking. If your dog shows any of these signs, some ways to offer them a little TLC to help them relax include:
- Make sure they're getting extra playtime, exercise and mental stimulation before lots of visitors arrive - it will help to release nervous energy and tire them out, so they're in a calmer state of mind when all the excitement starts
- Calming supplements can help if extra exercise isn't sufficient - our friends at Dorwest have an excellent and trusted range of natural Scullcap and Valerian supplements to support your dog with anxiety and stress, especially around New Year's Eve when there are usually fireworks
- If your dog is home along, leave soothing music such as classical sounds playing on the TV or radio to help your dog relax
- Avoid crackers ... the loud snapping noise can be very stressful for dogs, just like fireworks
- If your dog is stressed, you need to stay calm and act as normally as possible - don’t fuss over your dog if they show any signs of stress as over-fussing can escalate the situation and potentially make it worse for the dog
A calm retreat
Make sure your dog has somewhere which is just for them - even confident dogs like to have their own private den
With giddy children and jovial adults this time of year can be an ‘excitable’ time, which can throw off your happy hound. So, it’s important that your dog has a safe retreat if the festivities and the noise gets too much for them.
A cosy, comfy dog bed is the perfect retreat away from all the hustle and bustle of busy Christmas parties. Our blog on how to choose the best winter dog bed blog is full of useful tips to create your dog’s happy hibernation haven.
Key to remember - make sure your dog has free access to a cosy, comfy dog bed away from all the hustle and bustle over Christmas and if your dog likes to be in the same room with you then crate a space for them that is their own - placing a bed in the corner or in a sheltered spot (e.g. under a table) can help.
We hope you have the most pawfect Christmas with your dogs!