The best time of the year is coming up, and as the weather is getting colder and homes are getting cosier, we are all itching to get into the festive mood. Holiday season means more time to spend at home with your loved ones over Christmas, and this includes your pets. Here are some great ways to incorporate your furry friend into the festivities this year, and prepare them for the season ahead.
Dress Them for the Occasion
Nothing is cuter than a dog in a Christmas jumper, and it can make for a fantastic photo opportunity for Christmas cards or a lovely frame in your home. Dog breeds with fur that isn’t very dense, (greyhounds, for example), can find this time of year uncomfortably cold, so it is a good idea to purchase an accessory which will keep them warm in the harsher weather. Other dogs might find wearing this too contrasting or uncomfortable, however, so you can invoke some Christmas style in a sparkly collar or a bright red bow to add some fun, non-intrusive fashion to their day to day wear.
Grooming your pet for the occasion is a lovely way to add some pleasant fun to the period, as a nice smelling dog will be much nicer to cuddle on cold nights, and far more handsome in the holiday pictures! Guests will fawn over your beloved pet and you will have so much fun expressing your Christmas spirit with them.
Decorate the House with Your Pets in Mind
This is important both for your peace of mind and the safety of your pet. Many people, especially in family homes, use chocolate tree decorations and put their edible advent calendars on display in their home. This is not a good idea for homes with dogs, as this is toxic and can poison them if your dog ingests them. Unfortunately, dogs don’t know this can be harmful to their health, and are often prompted by the curious smell of chocolate to eat it anyway. It is your responsibility as a pet owner, therefore to make sure that chocolate, and indeed any other substance that can be harmful for your pet, is not used in your decorations or put in a manner where your pup cannot reach it. Not only is this a responsible practice in general, but it prevents any Christmas mishaps which might ruin the day with stressful trips to the vet.
Also, make sure any trailing wires from fairy lights are not left on the floor where they can be chewed upon, and ensure your tree is mounted firmly to avoid it being toppled if you have a larger breed. Hoover up fallen pine needles (don’t worry about this if you have an artificial tree) as these can be toxic to pets if eaten.
Maintain Their Usual Routine
Christmas can be a stressful time for pets that aren’t given a chance to acclimatise. Their surroundings change quite quickly due to decorations, new people come into the household, and there are lots of parties and social gathering that can confuse your dog. They like to be aware of their home and when the inevitable chaos of Christmas descends, we often forget to factor in their feelings. It can be scary for them as we aren’t able to communicate exactly what is happening, so it is therefore really important to make the experience as smooth as possible to transition into the festive period. This involves not compromising on their routine, to offer stability and comfort in a time of confusion. Don’t change their mealtimes, and always take them out in their walk. Proper nutrition and daily exercise do wonders for your dog’s emotional wellbeing. Keep the area that they sleep in unaltered, as this is their space to feel safe in. Finally, give them lots of love and attention to reassure them and keep them as happy and excited as possible in this period.
Be Aware on Christmas Day
Many people do not know that wrapping paper can sometimes contain harmful chemicals and bleach, which can have a nasty effect on your dog if eaten. Be conscious, therefore, on Christmas Day when everyone is tearing away the paper on their gifts, not to let your dog in the room to sneakily chew at the remnants, or have a bin liner on hand to collect the debris immediately if you want to involve your dog in the excitement. Having some pet supplies like toys or smelly treats will also prove a great distraction at this time. Time for Paws has a great selection that will keep your pet entertained. This pet shop has a wide range of products that cater to different breeds or dietary needs, and means you could even present your pup with a gift of their own, really making sure they are involved in Christmas!
Don’t Give Them Your Christmas Dinner
This one may sound like a party pooper, but trust us when we say giving your dog scraps from your special Christmas dinner is a waste of gorgeous food, and more importantly, detrimental to the health of your pet. Content them with pet food, although some of yours is fine to offer them a taste of – white turkey meat, for example. We love to include foods with high fat and salt contents which are poor for your dog’s health. Onions and leeks are two examples of common ingredients in Christmas dinner that can cause serious damage to their liver, and cooked bones can be a choking hazard, or even split apart and cause internal damage. Warn your guests of these, and ask them to refrain giving your dog sneaky scraps without checking first, no matter how cute your dog looks begging for them!
Why not keep some white Label Grain Free pet Treats at the table, so your dog does not think they are missing out.
No-one is more happy to have you at home this Christmas to spend some quality time with you than your dog. Follow this advice for a fun, stress-free Christmas, and to infect your dog with the festive cheer that makes this holiday so special and meaningful.