Christmas is fast approaching, and it’s set to be the most wonderful time of the year for many families around the UK. But the festive season can pose a few additional problems for our dogs, and the change of routine and new experiences can be worrying to pups.
It’s estimated that six out of 10 households now include a canine companion, so dog welfare charity Dogs Trust has issued its top ten tips so the nation’s dogs can enjoy Christmas too.
Jenna Kiddie, Head of Canine Behaviour at Dogs Trust, explained: "As a nation of dog lovers, our four-legged friends will be a big part of Christmas for many families across the UK. But with unexpected visitors, a change to routine and endless food temptations, our canine companions can find Christmas unsettling and stressful. By following a few simple guidelines, you can make sure that your dog is kept safe and will enjoy Christmas as much as the rest of the family. The team at Dogs Trust would like to wish all our supporters and, of course, the nation’s dogs, a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”
Here’s the crucial festive advice.
1. Keep decorations up on high
Decorations hanging on a tree are incredibly tempting toys for our canine friends, but tree decorations can be dangerous. Small decorations can be easily knocked off the tree and swallowed and broken decorations can get caught in paw pads, so make sure all decorations are well out of reach. Photo: Canva/Getty Images
2. It's a wrap
Keep your dog out of the way while wrapping your presents. Not only will this stop them running away with your sellotape but will stop them eating wrapping paper, ribbon and tape, all of which can cause serious problems for your dog if swallowed, as can tinsel. Photo: Canva/Getty Images
3. Give them a break
When the big day finally arrives, many of us will look forward to seeing friends and family, but this might not be something your dog welcomes. Stick to your routine as much as possible and give them an area they can choose to go to for peace and quiet, where they won’t be disturbed. Give them their bed, fresh water and perhaps a chew and set this up as far in advance as possible so they have a chance to get used to it. If your dog isn’t ready to retire for a snooze when guests arrive, you could offer them a long-lasting chew or food puzzle to enjoy. Photo: Canva/Getty Images
4. Choose treats carefully
Many dog owners will want to spoil their dogs on Christmas day but beware of getting gifts for your dog that could be harmful. Avoid the festively coloured rawhide chews on sale in shops at this time of year as they can be a choking hazard for dogs, and some even contain chemicals that can be dangerous for dogs. When picking toys and balls for your dog, make sure they are appropriate in size so they can’t be swallowed, and remove any broken toys before they become a hazard. Photo: Canva/Getty Images