Christmas is one of the most exciting times of the year for most, but can be extremely stressful for our pets. With a little extra planning ahead of the festive season, you can help ensure that everything will run a little more smoothly for all.
Whether you are worried or anxious about keeping your pet happy, we have come up with some helpful tips to make sure you have the best time with your dog this Christmas.
Keep decorations out of reach
Putting Christmas decorations up around the house is of course tradition in most houses. Decorations are pretty, which is why most pets are of course attracted to them. Christmas decorations can become hazardous to pets if they were to use them as a toy or a chew or even a snack in some cases. Fairy lights and tinsel may just be some of things that pets are attracted too, which can cause them harm or make them ill if eaten or chewed. Keep them out of reach to avoid any unwanted trips to an emergency vet over Christmas.
Be careful what you put under the tree
A dog’s sense of smell is about 40 times greater than our own, so although we might not be able to smell those chocolates under the tree wrapped in pretty paper they certainly can. They are more than likely to sniff them out, and if they have a nose like Buddy’s then you certainly wouldn’t have any left to share at Christmas. If they do decide to eat them, they could become ill, so make sure you keep presents containing food out of reach.
Get them their own treats
We all know the smell of Christmas dinner can certainly have our taste buds tingling, so imagine how a dog feels when they can smell all of your goodies being baked or cooked. Dogs can of course eat some fruits and vegetable and meat so can enjoy a small amount of the dinner you may be cooking, but it’s the treats that may not be quite to a dog’s liking. By making sure you get your dog their own dog-friendly treats you can keep them occupied and lessen their interest in your cooking!
Give them some much-needed attention
We can often get caught up in the Christmas festivities and forget to give our dog’s the attention they need. They don’t understand that you are busy and they may think that you are ignoring them so be sure to give them some daily fuss so they know you are still thinking about them.
Create a safe space
Over Christmas you may receive more visitors than normal and this may cause a nervous pet to become anxious or stressed. Make sure you create a comfortable space for your dog in a quiet room with some of their favourite toys or blankets so they can escape if they start to feel overwhelmed.
Buy them a present
Don’t forget to include your dog in the Christmas shopping list. Giving them a toy or a treat will help to include them in the Christmas excitement. It also gives them something to focus on and keeps them occupied in the festive madness.
Don’t forget to exercise them
It’s really important to make sure that your dog remains exercised during the festive period. Continue to take them out for walks, and play with them, exercising them can help them de-stress and keep calm over the Christmas period, so make sure you make this a priority.
Keep children away from them
Even if your dog is happy to be around children, you should try to make sure that children don’t give them too much fuss over Christmas. The added stress of a change in routine and an increase in guests can stress some dogs out and cause a change in their behaviour.
Don’t leave you pet alone
As well as guests coming to visit you, I’m sure you will be visiting others as well or going out to enjoy a few more festivities. Try to avoid leaving your dogs for long periods of time. If you aren’t able to take your dog with you, arrange for someone to pop in to let them out to the toilet and play with them for a while and make sure they have plenty food and water.
Stick to routine
Try to keep your festive routine as close to your regular routine as possible. Dog’s don’t understand that this time of year is a bit more chaotic and may become distressed if they are not taken on their walk first thing in the morning or played with like they normally are. Try to compensate wherever you can for a change in routine. Re-assure your dog and make this Christmas period a stress free one for all.
We hope these tips help you to have a stress-free time across the Christmas period. Don't forget to enjoy this time with pets, family and friends!