It’s that time of year again, and it’s called the silly season for a reason! With celebrations filling up the days, it can be easy to get swept up in the festivities and forget about our furry (and often sensitive) companions.
Alongside a swelling social calendar, we can also get caught up with the frenzy of a pre-holiday work load. With your change in energy and a disrupted routine, this time of year can actually be quite challenging for your pooch.
It doesn’t have to be, though! We’ve put together some things to be mindful of over when it comes to dog safety over this year’s silly season so that both of you can enjoy the festivities.
1. Decorate with care
Things can get hazardous for dogs at Christmas time. If you’re a Christmas-tree household, make sure your tree is secured strongly and its bucket of water is covered. Pine needles can be tempting to chew on, and damaging for your pooch’s tummy, so keep the area clear as much as possible, or put the tree in a spot your dog can’t get to.
If pine needles are tempting, power cords are the ultimate seduction for pups prone to chewing. If you’ve got lights around your tree, make sure they’re covered or secure, and unplug indoor lights when you’re not at home.
In the name of dog safety, keep valuable decorations or ornaments away from curious noses and teeth. Tinsel and decorative plants like holly or ivy can be wreak havoc with your pooch’s digestive system, so make sure they’re well out of reach.
2. Food, glorious food
Just because this is typically a time for indulgence, resist the urge to share the feasting with your dog at Christmas. While slipping them tidbits may feel like including them in the celebrations, it’s actually doing them damage.
High fat foods and sauces can be destructive to the pancreas, not to mention the theobromines in chocolate that can cause heart failure and seizures! Stick to the treats and food that you’re already feeding your pooch.
3. Be a considerate host
Lots of visitors and loud noises can overwhelm and frighten your pooch. Keep them in a quiet part of the house or make sure they have a safe place to retreat to that’s off limits from guests. Make sure your visitors (especially kids) know the limits.
4. Try to limit the noise
Anybody who’s seen their pooch on Guy Fawkes will know that loud noises are not their friend. Whistles, christmas crackers, and fireworks can cause a lot of distress.
If there’s a loud party at your place or in the area, make sure your dog is in a safe place away from the noise and that they can't escape the house or garden. If you know your pooch is prone to anxiety and fireworks are simply unavoidable, like on New Year’s Eve, talk to your vet about your options for sedatives.
5. Stick to routine
Your pooch thrives on regularity. Dogs need rules, boundaries and limitations, and above all, consistency.
Though your schedule and travel plans through these celebratory weeks may become looser and more party-focussed, it’s important to try and keep some routine in your pooch’s life. At the least, try to keep feeding, exercise and sleeping times the same.
6. Beat the heat
We are extra lucky down here in New Zealand to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Eve while the sun is shining. However, it does mean our holidays bring the heat.
Protect your pooch from heatstroke (and burnt paws!) by only going for walks in morning or evening, and make sure they always have plenty of water. Dogs with light coats or patches of exposed skin may need sunblock if they’re out in the heat of the day, just like us!
We’re approaching a festive, love-filled time of the year. Share the joy with your pooch by being mindful of dog safety and considerate of everything the silly season brings. Happy holidays to you and your furry friends!
Here at Nose to Tail, we’ve got plenty of gear (and advice) to help ease your pooch through the silly season this year. Give us a call on 09 448 2227 to order or pop in to Nose to Tail to pick up yours today!