Christmas is a favourite time of year for many of us. With the fun of the holidays, also comes some potential risks for our four-legged family members, so it’s important to keep their wellbeing in mind when preparing for your family events. In this article, we’ll discuss some tips on how to keep your dog healthy, happy and safe during the Christmas and New Year celebrations.
Here are our top 5 tips:
1. Keep toys, decorations and small objects out of reach
Keep your dog in mind when decorating your house for Christmas and be aware of anything that may be dangerous or harmful to your pets. Be careful to keep them away from anything that could potentially get lodged in their throat.
Things such as electrical Christmas lights can cause electrocution and can also get tangled around your dog. Other dangerous items may include things like candles, tinsel, ribbon, wrapping paper, Christmas tree decorations, and any toys such as lego pieces and other small items that could be a choking hazard and cause an obstruction in their throat.
Be sure to evaluate and risk assess your surroundings to ensure any of these items are out of reach of your dog.
2. Keep your dog away from festive food
Trying to resist the urge to ‘treat’ your dog with your own food while eating your Christmas dinner can be tricky. Here’s why you should resist. Holiday foods can cause digestive upset, which often leads to vomiting, diarrhea, and in some cases can lead to pancreatitis and even liver failure. Because of the possibility of serious illness, it’s important to monitor your dog’s health and carefully watch what you feed them.
Many human foods can be surprisingly toxic to dogs. Holiday food often has a high fat or salt content which is not suitable to share with dogs. Don’t feed your dog meats such as ham or pork or anything that has a high fat or salt content and avoid giving dogs small bones that could get lodged in their throats. (click here to read more about feeding bones to your dog safely) Other foods such as chocolate, lollies, nuts, avocado, grapes, garlic and onion can be toxic and should not be fed to dogs. Also, be sure to keep alcoholic beverages out of reach.
As a general rule, simply avoid giving your dog any food that’s on your own plate. If you think your pet has eaten a toxic substance, take them to the vet as soon as possible.
3. Minimise stressful situations
Dogs can get stressed when surrounded by crowds or large groups of people. If you plan on having guests at your home, ensure your dog has a quiet space they can go to away from people or other animals if they start to get stressed.
Dogs can also get stressed by loud noises, and fireworks can be particularly distressing. See our article about preparing your dog for fireworks this season for further information.
4. Be prepared for emergencies
Make sure that you and your family members know what to do if there is an emergency and who to call. Have your local vet’s number saved on your phone or in an accessible place should you need to call them.
There are many emergency vet clinics providing 24 hour and after hours care in the Brisbane area, that are also open on public holidays, so ensure you are aware of your closest vet clinic.
5. Give your dog a treat!
Christmas is a time of giving so don’t forget to include your dog on your gift list! Dog-friendly toys always make for a great gift, as do delicious doggy treats!
With a bit of forward planning and common sense, you can make your Christmas and New Year celebrations as safe and enjoyable as they possibly can be for all the family, including your precious pooch.