Christmas is coming (read that in a Jon Snow voice, of course) in fact, it’s only a week until Christmas Day. It’s Ember’s first Christmas with us and while Christmas is supposed to be stressful, with some fun too, it’s obviously more stressful when you are a dog owner. In order to make sure that Ember has the safest first Christmas, I’ve been making a list, and checking it twice. So I thought I would share with you to make sure the Christmas period goes smoothly for your dog and you.
O Christmas Tree
Make your Christmas tree as safe as possible by putting your Christmas tree in a corner out of site of any prying puppy eyes. Also make sure it is securely tied down, the last thing you want is your dog knocking the tree down (or trying to scent it!).
If you are purchasing a real tree be cautious of the pine needles which could be hazardous to your dog. The needles could get stuck in their paws as well as their throats, both which lead to trips to the vets.
Think carefully about the decorations you use, while tinsel adds a nice touch to your tree, if your dog ingests it it can cause nasty intestinal problems for them. If you are putting lights on the tree try to avoid them on the lower branches, otherwise your dog may get tangled in the leads. Alternately you can purchase Cherry Blossom trees which come with lights on the branches, there are no nasty pine needles and are beautiful with or without any other decorations.
Most dogs, especially puppies, love to chew anything they find around the house and just because decorations only come out once a year, they’re no less desirable.
Put any ornaments out of reach, not only could they cause choking or intestinal problems, if any shatter they may injure paws or any other parts of your dogs body.
Try to avoid any edible tree decorations, these are too enticing for most dogs which may cause them to knock your tree down whilst trying to nab one. Also remember chocolate is toxic to dogs. If you have an advent calendar make sure this is safely out of reach of any puppy jaws.
And if you want to have any candles around, make sure these are placed as high up as possible and securely placed away from the edge. You never know where wagging tales may end up, especially after Santa paws has been.
Food for thought
As well as chocolate, most of the food that humans enjoy at Christmas time are harmful to dogs including; mince pies, Christmas pudding and Christmas cake. This is as they are usually full of currents and raisins, are full of fat and will more than likely include large amounts of alcohol. Grapes are also harmful to dogs along with dates, Brazil nuts.
Any leftover meat may seem like a suitable treat for your dog, but before you allow them to eat it make sure there are no spicy or fatty bits and especially no bones. Once bones have been cooked they become brittle and will fracture a lot easier, this could lead to fragments getting caught in your dogs throat and intestines.
Therefore make sure any leftovers or sweets are well out of the reach of your dog, it’s amazing what lengths they will go through in order to chomp on something yummy.
As well as tree pine needles, many other traditional Christmas plants are dangerous to dogs including mistletoe, holly and poinsettias. Instead, opt for artificial plants (they last a lot longer too).
Wrapping and opening presents
The best option is to wrap any presents is when your dog is either asleep or happily playing and not likely to get distracted. Dogs have a tendency to attempt to be useful, especially when wrapping presents, but most people wish to receive their presents in one piece.
Once you have finished wrapping make sure all the paper, scissors, sellotape and ribbon is put away and out of the read of any dogs.
Again it’s probably best to open presents when your dog isn’t in the room, especially if they are young. Sometimes the excitement of opening presents and wrapping all around can be too much to cope and this may cause them to nip or jump around. Alternatively, they may get stood on in all the craziness.
Dog presents and clothing
There are plenty of dog-friendly Christmas presents and treats on the market. Make sure you only buy your dog a suitable present. I.e; nothing which can be destroyed easily if they are anything like Ember.
If you are buying Christmas treats make sure they don’t interfere with your dog’s diet and are suitable for their age and needs. Also keep in mind that, like humans, the consumption of these treats should be spread apart to avoid any cheeky Christmas weight gain.
There are also plenty of Christmas jumpers on the market for dogs. If you are dressing your dog for Christmas, make sure they are comfortable with it and never force them into a costume. Also, make sure they fit securely and can not cause any injuries.
If you are hosting a Christmas gathering make sure you keep your dog in mind. Most dogs love a bit of attention but make sure they have a safe, quiet haven to retreat to with someone comfortable for them to sleep and food and water if they wish to wish to get away for a bit.
Ask your guests not to feed your dog whilst they are there and make sure they abide by any house training rules you may have in place.