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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Anderson - K9 Hydrotherapist

Care of your dog over Christmas and New Year

Christmas can be a festive and joyful time, but it also poses some potential risks to dogs. Here are some tips to help you protect your dog during the holiday season:

Secure the Christmas Tree:

  • Make sure your Christmas tree is securely anchored so that it cannot tip over if your dog decides to investigate the hanging delights or bump into it whilst chasing the cat or kids.

  • Consider using a gate or some form of barrier to prevent your dog from accessing the tree if you know he or she can't resist the baubles and hanging delights.

Avoid Harmful Decorations:

  • Keep decorations out of reach, especially those that can be harmful if ingested, such as tinsel, ribbons, and glass ornaments.

  • Skip using edible ornaments, as these may tempt your dog to munch on them.

Be Mindful of Plants:

  • Some holiday plants, such as Poinsettias, Holly, and Mistletoe, can be toxic to dogs (and cats too!) Keep them out of reach or choose pet-safe alternatives and fake ones.

Secure Electrical Cords:

  • Dogs may be tempted to chew on electrical cords from Christmas lights. Make sure to secure cords and keep them out of your dog's reach to prevent electric shock and chewing hazards even if they are not switched on whilst you are out.

Watch the Presents:

  • Keep an eye on gifts under the tree, especially those with bows or ribbons that can be tempting for dogs to play with or chew on. Remember that for the rest of the year, these temptations are not available, something new is something for a dog to investigate.

Mindful Gift Wrapping:

  • When wrapping presents, avoid using materials that your dog might find appealing, like wrapping paper with shiny, metallic elements or materials that can be easily torn and ingested, hard we know but recycled paper and natural wrappings are better than plastic and foil type paper. Just in case your dog decides to unwrap them before the big day with their teeth!

Limit Table Scraps:

  • While it's tempting to share Christmas and party treats with your dog, be cautious about giving them human food. Some festive foods can be harmful to dogs, including chocolate, grapes, onions, and certain spices. Have a dog treat bowl at the ready, as well as your usual dog's treats you could include chopped carrots, apples, dried cooked meat chunks, and even the odd slice of turkey is OK assuming there are no known allergies. If you overwhelm your dog's digestion system at this time of year you may end up cleaning the rug from an accident or having a poorly dog. Always keep watch on the rubbish bin, many dogs end up at the veterinary clinic after rummaging through the bin and finding the turkey string or other strong-smelling cooking delights.

Create a Quiet Retreat:

  • The hustle and bustle of the holiday season can be overwhelming for some dogs. Create a quiet, safe space where your dog can retreat to if they need a break from the festivities. Lock your dog away in a quiet room where no friends can access it and ensure to check on him or her regularly to reassure them that they are safe and you are still around despite the festivities noise and change of routine.

Keep an Eye on Candles:

  • If you use candles as part of your holiday decorations, ensure they are placed in secure holders and are not easily accessible to your dog. Place them up high on shelves away from your dog's reach. If you know your dog is likely to jump about and knock things over then maybe opt for artificial candles instead.

Monitor Guests:

  • If you have guests, make sure they are aware of any rules or considerations regarding your dog. Some dogs may be stressed by unfamiliar people or noises. Tell your friends not to feed the dog at any cost. Ensure alcoholic beverages are not left unattended in case your dog attempts to drink the liquid thinking it's water.

By taking these precautions, you can help ensure that your dog stays safe and happy during the holiday season. Always be mindful of your dog's behaviour and well-being, and seek veterinary attention if you suspect your dog has ingested something harmful or is showing signs of distress.

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