Christmas and your Canine Companion

Christmas is almost upon us again and the shops are filling with sparkles. Whether you love or hate the festive season it is difficult to go far without your senses reeling from carols, lights and selection boxes.

Your dog too, depending on his nature, will either enjoy the temporary changes that Christmas brings or he will become worried. For the more emotionally delicate dog a houseful can be a stressful experience and the sound sensitive dog will struggle throughout the sound of crackers and then the inevitable fireworks of New Year’s Eve.

Carol singers alone can be a nightmare for the owner of a protective dog. Trying to enjoy the sound of well-meaning charity warblers loses its appeal with the sound of a German shepherd or Jack Russell howling loudly in the background.

So if your dogs are not keen on the festive season, and the constant advertising drives you dotty too, why not find yourself a beach or a mountain and spend the day outdoors. Perhaps even do something completely different and invite other dog owners to a Christmas day barbeque somewhere green. Wrap up warm, get out in the countryside and leave the traditions behind. Christmas day is great for travelling because everyone is at home and the roads are clear for driving.

If you are having Christmas at home the social and confident canine will probably love the extra visitors and attention. But even the happiest dog needs to be watched carefully during the festivities. Most of the reason for this is all of the food around. There is so much at Christmas that is bad for dogs that it is important to be aware of the dangers.

The food that was pasted across social media sights last winter was Christmas pudding. A major supermarket made the mistake of showing a festive family oblivious, whilst the family dog helped himself to the pudding.

Raisins

Christmas pudding can be fatal to dogs. This is because it is packed with dried raisins which, along with grapes, are highly toxic in the canine digestive system. This particular fruit can cause renal failure having fatal consequences.

Not just pudding though, any type of grape or raisin can cause severe problems so keep an eye on the mince pies too.

Chocolate

Chocolate is a hugely popular Christmas treat. There is often a tin or box on every surface for the month of December and half of January. Chocolate too, because of its cocoa content is highly toxic to dogs. Theobromine is the substance which is in cocoa and the darker the chocolate the more toxic it is. So be really careful that your dog can’t get to the sweets.

Remember too that he may be overly interested in chocolate baubles on the tree, advent calendars and even chocolate gifts that are wrapped and within his reach.

Bones

It can be tempting to give the dog any leftover meat and bones. Particularly when he is looking wide eyed and you are full of Christmas spirit. I cannot state enough here that you must be extremely careful with bones, whether they are cooked or raw.

Some people feed their dogs a raw diet and it is very successful for them. These dog owners though have researched and looked at all the possibilities. They know the risks and believe very much in the health benefits, which is great because they know which bones are good, which can be digested and which to avoid, they know which can be dangerous for their dog.

Most dogs that end up at the vets for serious life-saving operations to remove bones from intestines are with well-meaning, often heartbroken, owners who just thought it was fine to give the Sunday roast bone to the dog. So be really careful with bones and if you are not certain then simply don’t give the dog a bone.

Otherwise and within reason, anything goes, have a wonderful time whatever you choose to do. Remember the dog, when you are sending gifts off to Santa, and if you choose a cheeky barbeque on Christmas day don’t forget to invite us along.

Have a great Christmas.