How to Have a Happy ‘Howlidays’ with your Santa Paws

by Beth McDonald // December 2017

How to Have a Happy ‘Howlidays’ with your Santa Paws

That time of year is quickly approaching, the dark cold nights are brightened up with colourful lights, every shop or restaurant you enter you are greeted with a joyful song and most importantly the big man in a red outfit and an impressive beard makes his big appearance.  You guessed it, it’s Christmas! Love it or hate it, you cannot escape it and neither can your furry companions. This may be your dog’s first Christmas or even his or hers’ 5th but either way December is a month unlike the others.  Here at Dog School Shropshire & Cheshire we are going to help you with this month and help you make the most of this festive period safe for yourself and your four-legged companion.

Firstly, is it just me or do the Christmas decorations make an earlier appearance every year? If you are anything like myself, you want to go full out decorating the home to make it seem like a window display at Harrods in London. You spend hours untangling the fairy lights, deciding which colour theme the tree is going to be or if you’re like my mother finding all those Christmas tree decorations that have sentimental value. I will always be haunted by that little paper angel I made in nursey which stares at me from the top of the tree every year. Firstly, the dog will probably explore the house, their environment has changed. If you’ve got a real Christmas tree, the house now smells different an unusual smell they’re not used to. Allow them to explore but keep them supervised

Did you know holly, mistletoe and poinsettia plants are poisonous to dogs and cats? Make sure you pop them out of reach. Dogs love to chew, a fun game you can play with them is hide some of their favorite treats in the left over wrapping paper, they will love it! You can even hide them in the cardboard tube when you’ve run out of wrapping paper. Stuff the scraps of left over paper into the tube along with a few bits of kibble and watch your dog delight as they rip it apart to get to their food!

Christmas is a time when distant family members and friends come together. You may have people staying over at your house who your dog may have never met before which can be so exciting! Sticking to a normal daily routine such as exercise and feeding time will help them to enjoy it as much as you do. After you’ve been on walk, make bath time a great opportunity to have some fun, use lots of toys and treats in the bath!  Rico our office dog’s favourite is when his mum (Head Coach, Rachel) spreads peanut butter on the tiles around the bath. Rico then happily licks away at the peanut butter while he is given his bath to impress the human grandparents.

 

At Christmas, we all need a break, a time to relax. Luckily enough for us we have television and countless movies to make our way through. Your dog, just like us, wants that downtime to relax. Give your dog somewhere he can escape to, a quiet area away from the noise and excitement. Provide them with some bedding and some fresh water and allow them to return when they wants to join in with the festivities.  This can also help with the loudness of Christmas, you think we’ve just escaped from the fireworks at bonfire night but don’t forget New Year when people will let them off again. Providing your dog with that safe quiet area during the fireworks can make a massive difference. Add in lots of reassurance, some treats and chews on their bedding and of course don’t forget the new toy they got for Christmas will go a long way in helping them to be entertained and content. Make them a den, get creative and use Christmas themed blankets but make sure you leave the door open for them so if they want to come and see you, they can.

Finally! I think everyone’s favorite thing about Christmas is the food and your dog just loves food too. We all share our food with our dog there is no doubt about it, but be careful what you feed your dog. Did you know chocolate can be very dangerous to a dog’s stomach, also walnuts and macadamia nuts? Mince pies, Christmas puddings and chocolates are just frankly going to have to eaten by yourselves and not shared with the dog if you find him lurking around the Christmas table pop him some of his favorite treats or toys when he’s not looking to keep him occupied, maybe a sausage or two, it is Christmas after all! A great idea is to create a special version of a Christmas meal for your dog using all his favorite food which he can eat whilst you tuck into your meal. Try making doggy mince pies for dessert, be creative! If you have a family member like me, then this won’t be an issue anyway as all of the chocolate will be eaten VERY quickly on Christmas morning! Oh and Maybe remember to shut the fridge door….

I hope I have been able to help you and your dog have a safe Christmas and how to make it extra special for you both. Remember this time is for family to come together, to relax and make the most of it, dogs and all.

Have a Merry Christmas from all of us at Dog School Shropshire & Cheshire!

 

Thinking you wished you had a trick your dog could show off to family and friends this Christmas? Book on to Dog School classes for the new year so you have one ready for next year!

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