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Christmas is a fun and busy time full of traditions, friends, and celebration. We bake mince pies, eat plenty of chocolate, and decorate the house from top to bottom. Amid the excitement of the holidays, it’s important to remember our furriest family members – our pets. They can face hidden hazards during this exciting time, from dangerous treats snaffled from a countertop, or the stress of an overcrowded environment, it’s crucial for dog owners to be aware of the risks of this otherwise joyful time of year.
Stressful Events for your Pet
Dogs are creatures of routine and the visitors, guests, and unfamiliar smells and faces can create feelings of anxiety and unease in a dog used to a quiet daily life.
To help reduce stress in your pets over the festive season, consider trying a few of the following:
Stick to your normal walking and feeding times to provide comfort for your pets by following their habit
Putting up decorations gradually rather than all at once can give your dog a chance to acclimate.
Provide a safe space to escape in a quieter part of the house with their bed, water, and food bowls. This allows your dog to retreat from unfamiliar people or excessive noise. Help your visitors – especially children – understand that this ‘safe area’ is off limits to humans. Your guests may be keen to make friends with your dog but it’s much better for your dog to take the lead in its own time.
If you’re travelling over the festive period, take their toys and beds with you for the smell of home. Try to stick to your normal schedules where possible.
Although the temptation of cute photographs is strong, many dogs don’t enjoy being dressed up. Treat your pet to a toy instead of a hat or jumper.
If your pet is known to be anxious, or is a known nervous traveller then speak to your veterinary team as early as possible to explore help that is available for them. There are calming supplements that may be beneficial to your dog at this time of year, but they are often best started well ahead of the event.
Some of the food and drinks you may be enjoying at Christmas can themselves be dangerous to your dog. A season known for the indulgence, keep an eye out for these hazards this year:
Christmas is a fun time for the whole family so enjoy those long winter walks and new presents but taking a few extra steps means you can all have a fun and safe dog-friendly Christmas.