Christmas & New Year with your dogs

Christmas-Tree-Bad-Dog-4 (1)This is a time for us humans to get together with family & friends and enjoy good times, but what it is like for our four legged friends can often be some what different to us.

A “tree” to a dog or cat is often seeing as a “toilet/scenting post or a climbing frame to see further” – can you imagine their confusion when we bring one indoors once a year!  Artificial tree’s are not viewed in quite the same way, as they do not smell like trees, so fair a little better with dogs, but cats still want to climb in them and play golf with all those baubles!  A real Christmas tree also drops its pine needles and this can easily work into a paw making for a costly vet visit.

Many people do not have lots of visitors all year round, just a select few who may visit more regularly.  Then at Christmas or New Year the house is packed with visitors and many dogs find this very hard to cope with as they are not use to it.  They may get over excited and jump up everyone, chew things they shouldn’t due to feeling stressed, bark or even bite people (the number of dogs bites escalates over this period).  With a little bit of fore thought we can help by having a room set aside and made safe beforehand (no loose wires/pick up anything that’s valuable and put it away etc) then put a stair gate across rather than shut the door, as dogs find this easier to cope with as they can still see and smell whats going on more easily.  NO VISITOR is allowed in this room unless they know and get on with the dog really well.  Make sure the dog has somewhere comfortable to rest/sleep on and leave him/her with things to do, such as a meaty bone or stuffed Kong, something extra special to amuse them that they do not get all the time.  Pay regular check ups and let the dog out for toilet trips.  But if we have visitors that are staying longer than one day or one evening, then you should prepare for this more in advance, by desensitising them to more people in home and training them using rewards how to accept and cope.

Some dogs cope admirably with this and mix well when visitors stay, others don’t and especially if they already have training or behaviour problems to start with.  So keep your dog safe and stress free.

  • Holly, mistletoe, and poinsettia plants are poisonous to dogs and cats
  • Edible tree decorations need to be put on upper branches only.
  • Burning candles should be placed on high shelves or mantels, out of your pet’s way — there’s no telling where a wagging tail may end up

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