LIFESTYLE: Keeping your dog safe and happy this Christmas

To share a stress-free and safe Christmas with your dog, The Kennel Club has rounded up some tips on how to keep them comfortable and safe during the festive season…

A dog’s dinner – Each Christmas there are thousands of cases of dogs needing veterinary treatment after stealthily stealing chocolate and other unsuitable festive treats. With so much going on during Christmas so try and keep treats out of paw’s reach.

One of the most hazardous Christmas treats is chocolate, which is highly toxic for dogs. It is important to keep any chocolate treats, including tree decorations, out of your dog’s reach to avoid poisoning, and ask your visitors to do the same.

Christmas dinner also involves a lot of foods which can be dangerous for a dog, either through being toxic, too salty or too fatty. Owners should avoid feeding dogs turkey, goose or chicken as bones can easily splinter causing an obstruction and possibly even piercing your dog’s tummy.

Sweet treats like mince pies and Christmas pudding all contain dried fruits including raisins, currants or sultanas which are toxic to dogs. Other dangerous Christmas treats that should stay in a cupboard and away from your pet include macadamia nuts, blue cheese, alcohol, bones, fatty foods and mouldy foods.

Festive fun – Christmas festivities can be overwhelming for dogs, from excited and noisy children to crackers banging, so avoid forcing festive fun by making sure their routine isn’t disrupted. Take them out on their usual walks and keep their dinner at the same time too. To help them feel secure, ensure they have their usual space and bed where they can retreat if they want to.

When visiting family and friends over Christmas, or fitting in some Christmas shopping, make sure you don’t leave your four-legged friend alone for more than four hours.

Dangerous decorations – Christmas decorations and presents are often just as intriguing and exciting for dogs as they are for humans. However, some seasonal decorative plans including holly, mistletoe, ivy and poinsettia, can also be dangerous. When decorating your house, make sure these plants are out of your dog’s reach.

When choosing your tree, consider an artificial one as they don’t drop needles and are likely to be less harmful to pets. It can also be a good idea to leave the tree up undecorated for few days, giving your dog a chance to get used to it being there.

Avoid hanging any chocolate, sweet or salt-dough decorations on the tree and keep the bottom branches bare of lights, tinsel and baubles.

If you think your dog may have eaten, touched or inhaled something that they shouldn’t, speak to your vet straight away.

There is further advice on how to have a carefree canine Christmas on The Kennel Club website:

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Author: Minerva Studio