A Dog Owner’s Guide to Christmas
Here at AATU, we love the festive season; the food, the decorations, the merriment are all highlights of the year for us. That said, we love our dogs even more, and we’re sure that you do too.
The health and happiness of our pets should never be neglected, no matter how busy the time of year. We have already talked about how to keep your dog happy in the winter, but how can you enjoy your Christmas to the fullest whilst still prioritising the wellbeing of your dog? Read on to find out in our very special dog owner’s guide to Christmas.
There is nothing like a home made cosy and decorated for the festive period - it’s one of our favourite Christmas traditions. However, as dedicated dog owners, we can’t help but be painstakingly aware of all the subtle hazards that these decorations can harbour.
The homes festive hearth, it’s no wonder that dogs find these as welcoming as we do. To avoid potential trouble, place this in an area wherein your your dog will not be able to drag, move or pull at it.
Consider using a fake tree this year. Fir trees are toxic to pets, and should your dog happen to eat anything from it or sip at any of its water, it could cause sickness.
The eye-catching effect of decorative baubles and ornaments doesn’t only attract humans, but dogs too. Wherever possible, place these as far up as possible - higher on the tree, out of reach and hopefully out of sight so that your pup won’t even attempt to grab it.
We know how keen a dog’s sense of smell is; they are bound to pick out any edible decorations, such as chocolate or candy canes, on your tree and attempt to eat them. These kinds of foods are particularly toxic towards animals. If you decide to place these on your tree, ensure they are out of reach.
As well as their sensitive noses, dogs are notoriously curious. If you are using real plants for decorations, these also need to be placed so that your dog can’t eat them. Holly, mistletoe, poinsettia and other festive plants are all toxic when ingested by animals.
If you are a pet owner, we’re sure that you already know all about the importance of maintaining a regular routine for your pet.
Whilst Christmas is an enjoyable time, it is fair to say that it can cause a lot of chaos throughout the household. Your pup could become easily unsettled; sticking to your routine will help to keep them calm.
Walks are a vital part of your dog’s routine. For one thing, that bit of exercise is incredibly important for their health- it helps to keep their weight down and their energy burning. Dogs that don’t burn off enough energy can become anxious, depressed, or act up.
Walks also stimulate dogs, giving them an opportunity to explore new surroundings and interact with different environments; the new sights and smells keep them alert. Further, a walk is an opportunity for you and your dog to spend time together, it’s an important chance for socialisation and bonding.
Try to keep daily walks at the same time and length over the festive season. If you really can’t find a chance to walk your dog, then you’ll need to at least dedicate some time to play and exercise at home. If anything, dogs need even more walking over Christmas, as it will help them cope with the commotion and unfamiliarity.
Christmas is well known as a party period, and being followed directly by New Year’s Eve, there are often celebrations galore.
While dogs often like to be a part of the commotion, remember that they can be easily overwhelmed. They may not be used to sharing their home with a high volume of people, especially strangers.
Ensure that there is an area, preferably near their bed, that is a little quieter and less crowded, so that they have a place for respite away from your guests.
As indulgent as the Christmas period may be, this shouldn't be extended to your pet. Just as we’ve explored the essential nature of maintaining a walking routine, the same mindset should be applied to diet. The health of your dog doesn’t become any less important just because of the festive season.
Rather than deviating from your usual routine, feed your dog at the same time as you normally would, with the same amount of food.
Don’t overfeed or spoil them with too many unhealthy treats. Instead, stick to your designated meal times and portion sizes so as not to disrupt their routine.
Be wary of cheap, Christmas-themed treats that are sold as ‘presents’ for your pooch as well; these don’t offer any health benefits, and probably won’t even be very tasty. Why not pick up a packet of our delicious Artisan Bakes as their Christmas treat instead?
Dog owners aren’t unused to seeing their dogs beg for a bite of their human food, but just because it’s Christmas, it doesn’t mean you should make any unusual exceptions.
In fact, Christmas Dinner contains a lot of food that your dog absolutely shouldn’t have; the richness of the seasonings used can cause an upset stomach and further intestinal problems. Certain festive favourites - bulb vegetables like onions and garlics - are poisonous to dogs, while others, such as gravy or turkey skin, are simply too fatty and salty for your dog to digest easily.
Turkey bones splinter easily and pose a choking hazard - don’t risk it. Instead, top them up with a bowl of Free Run Turkey, a much tastier option that’ll also come with all of the health benefits that AATU products offer.
Bruno would recommend it:
Don’t become caught up in the Christmas commotion - put the health of your pup first. We hope that we’ve provided you with some great suggestions for enjoying the festivities without compromising the happiness of your dog, but if you think that we’ve missed anything, do get in touch and let us know your own tips and tricks. Tweet us at @AATU_1, or give us a follow on Facebook.
Read next: 8 Reasons to Feed Your Pet AATU