Dogs Trust

Keeping your dog safe this Christmas season

Christmas can be the most wonderful time of the year but with a lot of forbidden food and decorations within reach, it can be a very busy time for veterinary practices around the country!

Here are our top tips to help ensure your dog enjoys a happy and healthy Christmas.

Preparing for Christmas

  • 🎄When wrapping presents, it’s probably best if your dog is in another room enjoying a tasty, long-lasting treat. Wrapping paper and string are very easy to get hold of and can cause severe intestinal issues if swallowed. Also, nobody wants dog hair stuck to the tape on their Christmas presents!
  • 🎄Try not to use glass decorations when decorating your tree and keep tinsel up high and away from your dog. Make sure to clean up tree needles to protect those paws and ensure your dog doesn’t chew holly, mistletoe & yew as they are toxic.
  • 🎄It is also important to be mindful that a dog might get confused by having a ‘tree’ in their home, so could potentially urinate on it as he is used to doing this on trees outside. Our guide to house training your dog is full of great advice if you need to refresh your dog's training.
  • 🎄Throughout the Christmas holidays and especially at New Year, there will be fireworks. Find out more about how to help your dog cope with them here.

Coping with visitors

Christmas time brings more houseguests or, this year, more socially distanced doorstep visitors. Despite Christmas gatherings being smaller this year, it could still be a shock for your dog who will have become accustomed to having peace and quiet thanks to lockdowns and restrictions meaning less visitors to the home. But there are ways to keep everyone safe and help reduce stress.

  • ☃️If you are having guests over, try and stick to your normal daily routine and ensure your dog is walked and fed at the usual time. Chances are he will be nice and relaxed when people arrive and might even enjoy a little snooze.
  •  ☃️It may also be an idea to create a nice quiet and comfortable area with fresh water that only the dog is allowed to go to; so he can remove himself to it if he’s finding the experience too stressful. He will no doubt let you know when he’s ready to re-join the action!
  • ☃️If your dog gets giddy or excitable when friends and family visit, help calm him by distracting him with a long-lasting tasty treat, such as a frozen Kong or K9 Connectables.
  • ☃️ If children are coming who aren't used to being around dogs (or your dog isn't used to children), have a chat with the family beforehand to make sure the children understand how to behave, for example, to be calm, and not to approach the dog especially if he is eating or sleeping. It's important to never leave a child alone with a dog.

Festive Food

Most of us like to indulge over Christmas – and so do our dogs, but you need to make sure they stick to dog-friendly treats. There are some foods your dog will need to be kept away from including:

  • 🎅Grapes, raisins, or sultanas (& wine)
  • 🎅Chocolate - don't forget chocolate decorations on the tree are easy pickings
  • 🎅Macadamia nuts
  • 🎅Mince pies & Christmas pudding
  • 🎅Rich fatty foods/fat trimmings
  • 🎅Cooked bones from Christmas meats can splinter and cause internal damage.
  • 🎅Avocado
  • 🎅Onion
  • 🎅Holly berries
  • 🎅Alcohol
  • 🎅Xylitol - an artificial sweetener found in some sugar-free foods

Remember, accidents can happen so it’s a good idea to have your vet’s emergency out-of-hours number stored in your phone for quick access.

Most importantly – don’t forget to spend quality time with your dog during the busy festive period and of course to have lots of fun together!

Merry Christmas from all the team at Dogs Trust!