Think of Christmas and the first three things to spring to mind for us are food, festivities and did we say food? It’s a time of over-indulgence and family-bonding. After the year we’ve all had, having a stress-free and relaxing Christmas is rightly at the top of our agendas. For many Christmas dogs this will be their very first celebration! Whilst this year will undoubtedly be a little different to normal, there are a number of risks to their health and happiness. Read on to learn how to care for your dog this Christmas.
Christmas dog watch outs
It's tempting to fall for those puppy eyes, suckering to their every whim over Christmas but it's not in their best interest nor yours. Unless you enjoy cleaning up brown-coloured presents from your kitchen floor that is, or worse. So, before we discuss some of the ingredients your pup can safely enjoy with you, one of the most important takeaways from this blog is to be aware of over-feeding. Over-feeding is one of the greatest mistakes we pet owners make. The proof is in the soaring number of dogs suffering from pancreatitis at Christmas. Pancreatitis is a condition caused by excessive overindulgence in fatty and rich foods, leading to symptoms such as vomiting, lethargy and even death. Tap the link to learn more about pancreatitis and safe food for dogs with pancreatitis.
Eat, Drink, Avoid – what Christmas dog foods can and cannot be eaten?
It’s not all no fun and games. Some parts of your Christmas dinner are perfectly okay for your pooch to enjoy in the right quantity. Let’s work our way around your roast dinner to see which parts are okay or not okay to eat:
- Turkey / Chicken – Okay. Poultry is a low-fat animal meat, so is perfectly okay in moderation. Be wary to remove the fatty skin and avoid bones.
- Carrots – Okay. Doggies can tuck into raw or steamed carrots, so don’t throw away those carrot tops!
- Brussel Sprouts – Okay, be warned your nose might regret it later! Brussel Sprouts can cause excessive flatulence, especially if eaten raw.
- Gravy – Steer clear as it can include excessive amounts of alcohol, salt, onion or fat.
- Cranberry Sauce – Approach with caution, it is high in sugar and may contain currants or raisins which are toxic.
- Yorkshire Pudding – Okay - these contain dairy which can trigger off sensitivities, but fine as a one off.
- Roast Potatoes – This is a No No as are all roasted bits. Remember they have been roasted in plenty of fat.
Other festive foods to definitely include on your avoid list are chocolate and mince pies. Don’t forget our pups have eager little whiffers too, so wrapping up any of these foods as gifts under your tree is definitely not advisable either. It’s worth noting that if your pup is particularly sensitive it might be best to stick to their typical routine and not introduce any new ingredients. That’s not to say they can’t indulge in an extra treat or two that they’re already used to, like our Christmas Dog specials Turkey & Cranberry Wet Food or Gnashers Dental Chews. These are both perfect for sensitive tums with added Slippery Elm.
We recently hosted a Live Instagram event with the lovely Doctor Michael Lazaris, which you can catch up on to see which other festive foods to avoid or to hear some of his funny/not so funny veterinary anecdotes.
To deck your halls with boughs of holly, or to not?
We all have that one friend who’s the first to post their ridiculously perfect looking living room on social media, so perfect it looks like they’ve hired a team of professionals to come in to do it. Or maybe they really have? Whether you’re a bells and whistles kind of decorator or a minimalist, there are some do’s and don’ts when it comes to pet-friendly ornaments. Of course, some doggies really couldn’t give two hoots, but for some doggies all the sparkles and tassels are like a red towel to a bull and just read ‘destruct me’ in their minds.
- Baubles – avoid on any low-hanging branches, don’t use glass ones and ensure they’re not made of any non-toxic materials.
- Tinsel – wrap and fix carefully to your tree so any loose ends don’t induce a game of tug and war.
- Lights – keep all wiring well hidden, especially from teething puppies!
- Candles – I don’t think we need to explain this one.
Christmas dog safe plants to consider
If you’re not a fan of the fake, and like the look of real plants in your homes there are a few other notes of caution to care for your dog. If you’re using a real fir tree, ensure all the pine needles are brushed away each day to avoid any ending up in little paw pads, and cover the base of the tree to prevent any beaver-like activity. It is just a very large stick after all. Other real plants, whilst adding a lovely touch to your home, can also be very poisonous to your little floofs. The main ones to watch out for being Mistletoe, Holly, Ivy and Poinsettias. Patch Plants have put together a lovely guide for which plants are safe for your pets to enjoy.
Finally, whilst we know it might be tempting to dress them up, your puppo isn’t a decoration so best to leave the costume for Santa Paws. Smudge likes to wear her birthday suit come sunshine, rain or snow. If your dog wants something extra there are plenty of Christmas dog outfits to choose from or simply a cute little festive bow to give their collar an extra sparkle.
The less the merrier
COVID might have scuppered our plans for a big festive bash, which might sadly prevent us from seeing some of our loved ones, but it might not be such a bad thing for our pooches, and a Christmas dogs will prefer. As the star attraction at your event everyone obviously wants to cop-a-feel. All those prying hands can make for quite an unsettling experience. Ensure your pup is supervised at all times, especially if there are young children around. If your pup is particularly nervous, buying a ‘nervous’ or ‘anxious’ collar is a good idea. Help make it obvious for everyone to treat your pup with the respect they deserve.
Christmas Dogs and Fireworks
The final way to care for your Christmas dog is to take fireworks into consideration. Like with Fireworks Night we are hoping there will be fewer large displays over Christmas. There is a risk of more ‘at home’ versions. Luckily not all doggies are equally affected by the noise. If you have a very new puppy and are unsure whether they are bothered by fireworks visual signs of upset include; shivering, refusal to go outside, cowering, excessive barking, panting or refusing to eat.
Help reduce their anxiety and stress by adopting an earlier walkies. This will also help tire your dog out ahead of the evening noise. In the evening, provide a safe space they can retreat to with human cuddles available. There are also lots of natural calming remedies you can try including our Calming Nibbles.
For other tips on reducing their anxiety during fireworks just tap here.
Have you received any unwanted Christmas dog toys or treats?
We don’t know if it’s the same in your household but it tends to be Boo and Smudge that receive the most gifts. Sadly, the number of doggies needing rescuing and rehoming rises around Christmas time due to ‘pet gifting’, so if any gifts do arrive that don’t tickle their fancy, charities such as All Dogs Matter or Battersea Dogs and Cats Home would be extremely appreciative of your donations. Just check with them first as Coronavirus has resulted in changes to what they can and cannot accept.
Now you’re fully prepared for the most pawfect of Christmas’s with your pooch. Merry Christmas from all the Scrumbles team xoxo