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How to enjoy Christmas with your dog

11/12/2019 - Latest News

Everybody dreams of a harmonious, hassle-free Christmas. Here’s how to avoid problems and enjoy a Happy Christmas with your dog.
As any Mum will tell you, a Happy Christmas is the result of a great deal of forward planning and a lot of consideration for everyone involved. Including your dog. These are my top 10 tips for making sure that your dog will love the festive season as much as you do.

Adapting to a temporary change in routine
It may only be for one day, it may be for a fortnight, but Christmas has a way of disrupting everything. For us it’s brilliant. Days off work, some long lie-ins, indulgent dishes, party nights. Oh it’s great. But here’s the thing. We understand what the festive season is all about. And most of us are not dependent on anyone else for things like potty breaks or grabbing a few moments peace in the chaos.  Our dogs are not so lucky.

So this Christmas, try to keep to your dog’s normal routine as much as possible. If he or she usually goes out for a wee at 7am, take them out for a wee at 7am. You can easily make a coffee and take it back to bed afterwards.

Walks might be shorter – or they might be longer, depending on what you have planned for the day. But they’re still important. As is some form of mental stimulation for your pet. A stuffed Kong is a great way to keep your dog’s brain working while you celebrate Christmas your way.
Its’ great to have visitors at Christmas. Sometimes there’ll be lots of them and they’ll stay a while. Brilliant. But if your furry friend is not fond of strangers, make sure he or she has a quiet place to retreat to. And respect their space. If they prefer to hide in the bedroom away from Great Aunt Lil’s cuddles, that’s fine.

If you are going to be the visitors and you’re taking your dog with you. Try to take their bed along too so that they have somewhere familiar to settle. If things get hectic, they’ll probably also appreciate a short walk to escape the hubbub for a while.

Leaving your dog home alone? If Fido is happy to settle at home for a while that’s great. But please don’t be gone too long. Just because he or she can hold their bladder for hours on end, doesn’t mean they should have to….would you enjoy it?

Safety first – what are the hidden dangers for your dog at Christmas?
I can’t stress enough the number of potential dangers there are for dogs at Christmas time. Chewed wires, getting trodden on, being stressed out by bangs, battery toys and too many people. It’s a hazardous time.

Probably the most dangerous thing for dogs at Christmas is the stuff we’re most likely to leave lying around. Food.

A bit of turkey or some pigs in blankets make a great snack for your pooch. But if their tummy’s are not used to that kind of food, please go easy with it.

Chocolate is a no-no and so are mince pies. Both are toxic for dogs and can land you with a hefty vet’s bill and potentially a big heartache.

Here’s a list of things that are poisonous to dogs. Please read it carefully and remember it.

Christmas treats for people that are poisonous to dogs

Oh – and have the vet’s phone number handy in case Fido manages to ingest something he shouldn’t.

Road Salt
Not on the list of toxic foods, but nevertheless a significant risk to pets at this time of year is road salt. If you are walking on paths or surfaces that have been gritted to stop them getting slippery, your dog’s feet are having direct contact with the salt.

Road salt can cause burnt or sore pads. Worse, if your pet licks his or her feet after a walk, the result can be awful. Anything from an upset tummy to full-on kidney failure.

As a precaution, it pays to leave a bucket of water and a towel near the door before you go out. That way, as soon as you come home, paws, legs and tummies can have a good wash down to get rid of the salt.

Have Fun
I don’t want you to read this and think Christmas with your dog will be a lot of hard work. It won’t. Dogs bring a lot of joy all year round. Christmas needn’t be an exception. Just be sure to have a lot of fun.

Try to find time to just hang out with your dog. It’s a great way to look after your own mental health too. A long walk, a drive to the seaside or even chilling on the sofa in front of your favourite Christmas movie.

A little bit of trick training is a great way to break up a quietish day. Here are some great indoor activities for bad weather days…the blog I’m linking to mentions hot weather but actually, these games are also good for cold and wet days.

5 brain games to keep your dog happy  

Start the New Year Off on the right paw
What will your New Year Resolutions be for next year? I like to make resolutions that are easily achievable and will hopefully lead to some good habits. For example, instead of vowing to walk 10,000 steps every day for the whole year. I might aim for an average of 6,000 steps every day for 3 months.

Here are some doggy related goals that you could adapt for your new year’s resolution

  • By the end of March, improve Fido’s recall so that you feel happy walking him off the lead…this might mean spending 10-15 minutes a day playing recall games.
  • Go for at least one adventure walk every month – explore new places with your dog.
  • Learn a new skill - sign up for scentwork classes to find out just how clever your dog really is.
  • Help your dog overcome at least one problem behaviour eg pulling on the lead, grumbling at other dogs, lunging at traffic, barking at visitors. Working with a qualified dog trainer will make more achievable.

Remember – if you need any help to bring your New Year’s Resolutions to life, Premier Dog Training is right here. We offer dog training classes, one-to-one consultations and problem dog walking services.

Contact Sean today for more information

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