Christmas and New Year should be a happy time for people and pets. Everybody here at Alaska Dog Works hopes that you make the most of the holiday and that your celebrations go to plan. Please don’t forget to include your dogs in your Christmas celebrations. Remember that they may have a different idea of what is and isn’t good to do at this time of year.
Here are our tips for keeping your dog safe and happy at Christmas.
New Dogs and Puppies
The Alaska Dog Works team never advocates giving dogs as Christmas presents but, as this is often the time of year when we have plenty of time off work, there can be some great advantages to welcoming a new dog at this time of year. Research your dog properly, find a reputable breeder or rescue home and be confident that your new friend will have the time and space to settle in his own time. If in doubt, wait until after the holidays to bring him home. Don’t forget to register your new arrival for training puppy and dog training classes to help them integrate into the family and become a well balanced doggy citizen.
Always remember that dogs see the world differently to people. Whilst we understand the chaos of presents, parties, posh nosh and alcohol – dogs don’t. Even a seasoned family pet can be overwhelmed at Christmas. A new addition to the family is even more likely to be stressed at moving into a hectic new home.
- Make sure your dog or puppy has somewhere to escape to – perhaps a quiet corner of the room or his own crate.
- When your dog is taking time out – leave him be and let him relax. That applies especially to puppies. You might need to be strict with children, but they are better to be disappointed than bitten.
- Try to stick to a routine with regular feeding time, toilet breaks, walks and nap times.
- Be vigilant. Many of our Christmas delights are toxic to dogs so find out what’s naughty and nice and keep the dangerous stuff well and truly out of reach.
- If you are visiting friends and family, take his favourite toys and treats with you and maybe even his blanket if you’ll be there for a while. Familiar things will help him settle.
What’s on the naughty list?
Dogs are incredibly curious and they like to discover the world in two ways. By sniffing and by chewing. You would be amazed what they can find with their clever noses and horrified at what they ingest sometimes.
To avoid an expensive visit to the vets. Everything on this naughty list needs to be kept well out of your dog’s reach
- Chocolate: even white chocolate is highly poisonous to dogs. So no chocolate santa’s hanging on the tree, no tins of choccie biccies on the coffee table or sneaky treats when no-one is looking.
- Dried fruit: I love a mince pie or three at Christmas but anything containing raisins, sultanas or currants can cause kidney failure in dogs. Chocolate raisins are double-trouble. That means you’ll have to eat the Christmas cake, mince pies and pud yourself and not share any of it with your furry friend.
- Onions: You’d probably not think that the humble onion is dangerous but they can cause awful problems in dogs. The main effect is on red blood cell counts and you might not know about the damage for several days after the culprit was eaten. Same applies to all plants in the allium family. Onions, leeks, garlic, chives and shallots are all potentially lethal to dogs.
- Alcohol: Even a little bit of booze can make your dog wobbly on his legs. Drunk in excess there’s a risk of low blood sugar and coma. Nasty. Keep the drinks out of the dogs’ reach.
- Macadamia Nuts: They’re not as innocent as they look. Macadamias cause lethargy, tremors, lameness and a raised temperature in dogs.
- Silica Gel: Those little sachet things you find tucked into packaging for shoes and electricals. Dogs, like toddlers, can’t read the “do not eat” warning. So make sure you tidy all of the packets away.
- Decorations: Small pieces, sharp pointy things and plastic bits can cause problems. They’re rarely toxic but could get lodged in a throat, a stomach or a gut. Believe me, accidents like that are traumatic and expensive. Be vigilant – especially with young dogs. The other thing to watch out for is trailing electrical leads, they’re not terribly edible!
- Potpourri. Smells nice but can be devastating if it’s eaten. If you think your dog has scoffed the scented decorations he needs to see the vets very quickly indeed.
- The Holly and the Ivy: Quite why a dog would eat holly, ivy, mistletoe or pine needles I can’t imagine. But if they do, they can get a very nasty tummy upset.
What’s on the nice list for your dog?
There’s no reason why your family’s best friend shouldn’t have some treats at Christmas. They just might not be the same as yours. So what’s safe for dogs?
- Fresh cooked Turkey Meat (no bones or skin)
- Scrambled Egg
- Cooked potato
- Yorkshire puddings
- Sprouts (really!?)
- Dog chocs
- Dog biscuits
- Gravy – but avoid too much salt
What to do if things go wrong?
Every vet in the area will have somebody on call for every hour of the holiday season. Make sure the phone number is firmly in your phone. That’s especially important if you and your dog will be out and about this Christmas. If your dog eats anything he shouldn’t – or if you suspect he’s been indulging in anything from the naughty list, talk to your vet ASAP.