*Countdown to Christmas klaxon!*
Oh, my goodness – it’s almost Christmas, guys! I am so excited to spend the holidays having some quality time with my family. But not just the human members, I fully intend to have our pooch, Heidi, join in with the festivities.
The folks at Pedigree recently asked me to share my twelve tips for getting my dog ready for the holiday season in regards to including her in the fun, but also keeping her safe. I really hope you find them useful.
1. Book your doggy’s Christmas hair do early!
Just as your hairdresser’s appointment book will fill up quickly during November and December, so will your dog groomer’s. Book your dog grooming appointment early to ensure that your pampered pooch looks (and more importantly, smells) their best come the big day!
2. Store the crimbo choccies in a safe place.
Like a lot of families, we become inundated with boxes of chocolates, advent calendars and biscuits over the festive period. (Hey, you won’t hear me complaining!) But those tasty human treats can be pretty toxic for our four-legged friends. Even a small amount of chocolate could cause your dog an upset stomach. We put all of our choccies in a Tupperware container or biscuit tin and keep them well out of reach of Heidi.
3. Treat your doggy to an advent calendar!
Just because we’re hiding our chocolates away from Heidi, it doesn’t mean she can’t enjoy her very own treats during the countdown to Christmas. Most pet stores will sell doggy advent calendars in the run up to Christmas and I always think it’s a nice way to include Heidi each day.
4. Enjoy the winter walks, safely.
I love winter dog walks, especially on cold crisp, sunny days. We tend to walk Heidi twice a day – once during the daytime and again in the evening, after dinner. Of course, this time of year it’s getting dark very early which means taking precautions during those evening walks. I’ve invested in a light-up tag for Heidi’s collar and a hi-vis jacket for myself. Granted, I won’t be winning any fashion awards any time soon but I daren’t take any chances when it comes to our safety.
5. Ensure your dog has a safe retreat.
With lots of visitors to the house, excitable kids and the general chaos that comes with the holidays – it can be a bit overwhelming for our pets. Heidi certainly becomes unsettled when there’s lots of things going on at once or if there’s changes to our normal routine. We’re hosting Christmas dinner at our house this year so I’ll be making sure that Heidi has a quiet space she can go to if she needs a break from all of the excitement.
6. Stuff a stocking for your pooch…
Each member of our family has a stocking which we hang up on Christmas eve for ‘Santa’ to fill. Heidi has her very own stocking which we stuff with healthy doggy treats and usually some kind of Christmas themed squeaky toy (which we regret buying as soon as she gets hold of it)! ;)
7. Get creative with photos of your pet!
Whilst I may enjoy sporting a very fetching Christmas jumper during the holidays, Heidi on the other hand is not so keen. She doesn’t enjoy dressing up, so we don’t do it. So, do you know what I do instead? I create festive snaps using phone apps and free online editing software. It’s loads of fun to do and it doesn’t annoy your pooch! I like to use Picmonkey to add festive ‘stickers’ to photos of Heidi – I think they’d make great Christmas cards!
8. Be tree safe!
We usually put our Christmas tree up off the ground (on a coffee table) and fenced off from the children and Heidi. This ensures that decorations don’t get pulled off and chewed on. The consequences of our beloved pooch eating Christmas decorations (such as tinsel and baubles) are unthinkable.
9. Be wary of which festive plants you bring into your home…
According to the RSPCA “Some plants and flowers including poinsettias, holly, ivy, mistletoe and lilies can be toxic, so avoid these if you have pets.” I love having poinsettias in our house at Christmas but I’m going to invest in a artificial version to be on the safe side. It also means I can use the same one again and again each year!
10. Avoid overindulgence
We all tend overindulge with food over Christmas and it can be tempting to spoil your dog with tasty treats over the festive period too. Limiting the treats to a few a day will ensure that your dog keeps off the Christmas weight! On days when we give Heidi extra treats, we reduce her portion size at meal times to account for the extra calories she’s already had.
11. Plan ahead in order to avoid your dog feeling lonely this Christmas…
We don’t always host Christmas dinner at our house, other years we’ve gone to stay with family for the day (or longer). On some occasions we’ve been able to take Heidi with us but other times, when we’ve gone abroad for example, we’ve had to make other arrangements for her. For the longer trips, Heidi stays with a pet sitter or with friends. But even when we’re out for a few hours, we like to have someone on hand to pop round and check on her. We generally don’t like to leave her for more than 4 hours without a toilet break and a tickle! Make sure you’ve got dog sitting/walking sorted ahead of time to avoid the stress of arranging last minute petcare.
12. Watch out for needles!
If you opt for a real Christmas tree this year, then be sure to vacuum up the fallen needles frequently. They could cause some discomfort to your dog if they get stuck in their paws. We tend to stick to an artificial tree for this reason (and if I’m honest, I can’t stand the mess of a real tree!)
I hope you’ve found this post useful.
Wishing you all a very merry Christmas!
This post is a collaboration with Pedigree, but all thoughts are my own. For additional dental care information you can read the following Pedigree Reviews article for tips and advice.