We are well and truly in the festive spirit in our house and the whole family are getting involved with putting decorations up, putting Christmas music on, choosing Christmas movies and writing Christmas cards. But, it’s easy to forget about pets at this time of year and expect them to just go along with the flow of festivity.
But, Christmas can be hard on pets. Jasmine, Hubby’s parents’ dog, definitely feels out of sorts at this time of year – with the tree going up, bright colours everywhere and so many more visitors and knocks at the door.
Jasmine is such a big part of the family – as any dog owner will know – and so I’ve put together my top twelve tips – in the spirit of the 12 days of Pedigree – for getting a dog ready for the festive season both physically and emotionally. After all, we want pets to enjoy Christmas just as much as we do.
Make sure your dog looks the part – Take them for a spot of dog grooming – maybe a hair cut and give them a bath, Make sure they feel pampered and are nice and clean for the holidays.
Plan where the dog will be for Christmas – Make sure you are able to feed and walk them around your Christmas plans. If you’re not at home for Christmas, take them with you, ask a neighbour to pop in or find a lovely boarding kennels to look after them if they really can’t be with you.
Think about your tree – If you get a real one will your dog lick it, chew it or even relieve themselves against it? Having a real tree in the house may be confusing for them so an artificial tree may be a better investment.
When decorating the tree, try and avoid tinsel – It’s the sort of thing that a dog will find irresistible but if eaten it can get caught up in a dog’s mouth – or further along – and cause them to choke, vomit or worse.
When decorating the rest of the house, make sure things like berries, holly leaves, poinsettias and mistletoe are kept out of your pet’s reach – they can make dogs quite sick if they eat them.
The same goes for chocolate and sweets – if they’re not made for dogs they really shouldn’t be eating them. Make sure they don’t eat chocolates hanging on the tree and instead invest in festive dog treats so they don’t feel like they’re missing out.
Does your dog like to rip up post and wrapping paper? This year I’ve come across dog-friendly wrapping paper that doesn’t have any chemicals in it, doesn’t need tape to secure it in place and is completely safe if the dog decides to eat it.
Christmas dinner is such a great meal, full of treats that we look forward to all year. But, instead of giving the dog a portion of our Christmas dinner it may be a healthier option to buy them their own, specially created Christmas dinner – full of all the nutrients they need whilst still being an extra special treat for Christmas day.
Make sure that your dog has somewhere to go during the busiest and noisiest times of the day. It may all get a bit too much with wrapping paper flying everywhere, screams and shouts and excitement. So, make sure your dog can get to his bed, outside or a different room to lay down and have some time out when they need it.
Invest in something to keep your dog away from any off-limit areas – This could be a motion-detection device that gives off unpleasant vibrations or sounds or even a spray that dogs don’t like. This could be used to keep them away from the kitchen – and that expensive Christmas turkey – or the Christmas tree.
Feel free to dress your dog up for Christmas if they’re happy with that. You can get festive collars, festive coats and other accessories. But, always make sure your dog is comfortable and has all their important contact information on them when out and about.
Make sure you stick to your dog’s routine at Christmas – They still need to have food and water, walks and play dates. So, even if you have a busy schedule of meeting up with friends and family, make sure your dog still has a routine and is still looked after as well as possible over the festive season.
Jasmine loves Christmas. She loves having all of her family around her as well as the endless treats and attention. But, it can be hard for her too. There are so many unfamiliar noises, smells and people that it’s something we really have to take at her pace.
But, over the last few years we’ve worked out what works for her and how to make her as involved in Christmas as possible without making her stressed or anxious. And now we’re looking forward to a family Christmas that we can all be a part of.
How do you make sure that your pets are happy through the festive season?
Disclosure: This post is a collaboration with Pedigree, but all thoughts are my own. For additional dental care information you can read the following Pedigree Reviews article for tips and advice.