Soon it will be December, and that can mean only one thing; it’s time to get ready for Christmas!
There are all the presents to buy and wrap, and a big dinner to prepare for, and of course the tree needs to be put up and decorated; but what about the family pet?
How do you prepare a dog for Christmas?
Our dog, Riker, has been living with us for five years now and he seems to have the worst luck at Christmas. Two out of the five years, he has had a fetching cone of shame over the Christmas period.
The first year we had him, he’d just been neutered and it hadn’t gone well. I know, I know. Poor pup. Last year he had a particularly horrible reaction to something he stuck his nose into, and his nose blistered to the point that we paid out £500 for a biopsy fearing it could be cancerous. Ouch.
This year, I quite fancy having a drama-free festive period (dog-wise, I’m not an optimistic fool).
So who better to collaborate with than Pedigree, who have asked me to come up with 12 tips for preparing a dog for Christmas!
1) Make deliveries calmer
I tend to do all of my Christmas shopping online for obvious reasons. However this does mean that in the week or two leading up to Christmas, the doorbell rings several times a day. This can cause a lot of barking and anxiety for the dog.
If you or your partner work in an office, consider getting deliveries made to your workplace. As I work from home, when I know a delivery is due often I will turn the doorbell off and make sure I look out for delivery vans via the window as that’s where my desk faces. A polite note on the door asking deliveries to be placed elsewhere could also work.
2) Keep dangerous food out of reach
Unfortunately, many of the treats which we humans enjoy over the festive period are very harmful to dogs. Make sure that mince pies, grapes, chocolate, nuts and sweets containing xylitol are well out of reach in cupboards, as they can all be toxic to dogs.
3) …Don’t forget the turkey!
Not only would it be really depressing to have no Christmas dinner because the dog got to it first, but the bones could also be very harmful. All bones, in fact, can cause blockages in the gut, intestinal damage and chipped or broken teeth. Dental chews are much safer!
4) Don’t skimp on walks
In December, it can be so easy to look out of the window at the dark, dreary outside world and think you’ll put off walking the dog, just this once. However, it’s definitely the case here that even one missed walk can lead to boredom and destruction (RIP Henry the Hedgehog toy).
We have tried to solve this by incorporating his walks into our day. My husband has a 40 minute walk to the train station and back again for work, and has started taking our pooch with him to the office. This is something which is becoming more and more popular.
Of course, a long Christmas day walk is a great tradition which will blow the cobwebs away and keep your dog happy.
5) Consider your dog when you have visitors
That constant stream of visitors you have over Christmas may be very exciting, but can leave a nervous dog very anxious. One good tip if you have new people coming over is to meet them at the end of your road and walk back with your dog together. This way they can have a good sniffing first. It’s definitely better to prepare them than locking the dog in a room to whine and bark.
6) Keep them happy
Do you have people coming over that aren’t happy with dogs? Perhaps you have a buffet and you know the dog just cannot be trusted? If there is no alternative than shutting them in a separate room, prepare a bed, water and some toys first and don’t forget to go and make sure they’re OK often.
7) Have a safe space
If there are lots of children and noise then it helps to have a safe space that they can retreat to. Riker isn’t crate trained but he does have a bed upstairs that he tends to go off to when it’s all a bit much.
8) Drive safe!
If you’re driving home for Christmas, a well fitting dog guard will protect them and you in case of an accident. It’ll also stop them getting their paws on the presents! It might be something you’ve not thought about, but it’s definitely worth considering sooner rather than later.
If it’s a long drive, make sure you stop along the way to let them stretch their legs, have some water and a wee!
9) Sort your sitter now
Leaving your dog on his own all day is far from ideal but sometimes it is not practical to take them with you when you visit family. My in-laws have an elderly dog who does not appreciate other dogs visiting, therefore when we go there at Christmas we always find a willing dog-sitter first, or at least have a familiar friend or neighbour pop in if we are going to be out more than a few hours.
If you’re going to be away overnight and you can’t take your pooch with you, then find a local sitter or kennels and start acclimatising them for short periods as soon as you can in preparation for Christmas.
10) Avoid the vets
Vet visits during the Christmas period are very expensive, as I have learned repeatedly to my cost. Ensure that before the vets click over on to golden time that you’re up to date with dog grooming such as clipping nails, de-worming and de-fleaing so that you’re less likely to be left with a hefty bill!
11) Check the presents
ALWAYS check before putting presents under the tree that they don’t contain anything remotely edible. Yes, we learned this the hard way!
12) Look from their point of view
I don’t know about you, but when we put the tree up it always necessitates moving around the rest of the furniture. One tip I’ve read which, applicable to both dogs and small children, is to get down on your hands and knees and crawl about, looking for anything that could pose a danger or be too inviting. We’ve lost several stuffed baubles this way…
I hope these tips will come in handy preparing your own dog for the festive period.
Wishing you and your canine pal a very merry Christmas!
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.
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