Christmas can be a fun time for the whole family, but it can also be stressful and dangerous for your canine companion. Your dog may be exposed to many unfamiliar sights and sounds, as well as lots of tempting treats!
For some dogs, having all that extra attention at Christmas can be pure bliss but for others it may be very stressful. Houses start to fill up with all sorts of new things including trees, presents, decorations, food and strange visitors. Any type of celebration can bring about change, so taking the time to think about it from a dog’s point of view can make these periods more enjoyable for all.
We’ve put together a few tips that might help both you and your dog during the festive period.
Walking home for Christmas…
Unfamiliar sights and sounds can lead to nervous responses such as cowering, playtime ‘frenzy’ and possible aggression. Taking your dog for a walk earlier in the day may mean they have less energy to react later on when festivities are in full swing.
If your dog is sensitive to noise, it’s best to avoid party poppers and crackers. We suggest providing a quiet and cosy familiar place in the house for your dog to seek refuge – this may include a favourite room or play pen.
Deck the halls…
Christmas decorations can easily fall on the ground and your dog may ingest and or choke on these items. If you suspect your dog has swallowed any non-food related materials please contact us straight away.
We run our own out-of-hours emergency service providing reassurance that your dog will be well cared for day and night. Please check our website for our Christmas holiday opening hours.
In addition, lit candles can easily harm your dog so please keep these items out of reach and do not leave your dog unattended.
Baby it’s cold outside…
Be extra careful when opening the door to any visitors as your dog may escape. Do not leave your dog alone where they may see hyperactive children or people as this may cause them to become fearful or anxious.
Jingle bell choc…
Be careful with sweets and treats that are left around, especially chocolate and raisins as these are toxic to dogs. Chocolate contains theobromine which can be lethal – the darker the chocolate the higher the amount of theobromine.
Contact us immediately if you suspect your dog has eaten these food items, especially if you see any of the following symptoms:
· a sore abdomen
· excessive thirst
· changes in heart rate
· changes in heart rhythm
Cooked bones can be especially harmful to dogs and can get stuck in the intestines. We recommend making sure dogs can’t get to the bin after Christmas lunch and never leaving any food unattended.
All I want for Christmas is…
Consider using Adaptil – dog appeasing pheromone. This is a scent which you can’t smell. It comes in a plug-in diffuser, spray, collar or tablet forms and can comfort your dog and help him cope, especially during stressful periods. Please telephone the practice for more information or if you would like to order any of the Adaptil products.
Rocking around the Christmas tree…
Christmas trees can pose many hazards. Injuries can be caused by falling trees, chewing through Christmas lights and wires, eating pine needles as well as the fake snow which is applied to them.
We suggest securing the Christmas tree so it’s not able to fall over, monitoring for fallen pine needles and putting multiple extension leads in a box or covering them.
One more sleep….
Please keep a watch over your dog this Christmas to reduce any chance of distress, so that they and the rest of the family can enjoy the celebrations without any accidents or injuries.
If you have any particular concerns about your dog’s behaviour please ring one of our qualified nurses who will be able to advise or recommend a reputable behaviourist.
Merry Christmas from all at Arun Veterinary Group.