The festive period is always an exciting time of year, especially when spending it with your adorable dog. Whether you’re celebrating your pup’s first Christmas, or your family dog has been with you for years, ensuring your home remains pet-friendly is key.
While Christmas might look a little different this year, with big social gatherings on hold, there are still many ways the season can feel chaotic for your four-legged family member. To avoid causing your pooch stress, read Benchmark Kennels’ tips on how to prepare them for the festivities.
Decorate your home gradually
Although it’s tempting to deck your entire house out with wreaths, ornaments, tinsel, and lights in one go, this can be quite unsettling for dogs. Instead, introduce the decorations gradually and leave your Christmas tree bare for a few days so they can adjust to their environment’s change.
Christmas tree precautions
Christmas tree pines can get stuck in paws or become lodged in a dog’s throat if ingested so ensure you sweep any fallout from the tree straight away or opt for a fake tree instead if you have a new puppy around. Dogs can sometimes use Christmas trees as urinals too to mark their territory, so avoid leaving them with it unsupervised and conduct a refresh on toilet training if needed.
To dog-proof your Christmas tree:
- Leave the bottom branches bare.
- Place any fragile ornaments towards the top of the tree.
- Avoid hanging any edible decorations, e.g. candy canes and chocolate novelties that are poisonous to dogs.
- Hide any electric wires they could chew.
Never leave Christmas lights switched on unsupervised.
- Anchor the tree to the floor or wall to prevent it falling over.
Avoid toxic plants
Most Christmas plants, including mistletoe, holly, and poinsettia, are unfortunately unsafe for many animals, including dogs. However, some suitable options can make your home look just as festive, such as red roses, Christmas Cactus, and Autumn Olive.
Create a dog-safe haven
It’s important to provide your dog with somewhere quiet they can retreat from the festive excitement and be undisturbed. An outdoor kennel allows your dog space to relax, play, or sleep in private. As well as providing warmth, safety and shelter, kennels are insulated and big enough for dogs to play in. Being outdoors can also be calming and reduce any excess energy that comes from being cooped up indoors.
Many people light fireworks through the Christmas season which you, unfortunately, can’t avoid. To help your dog feel as relaxed and safe as possible, why not turn an indoor crate into a cosy den. Make it comforting by filling it with soft bedding, toys, and water. Then cover it with blankets to muffle the noise and dim the lights of the fireworks. It’s important to ensure your dog can still see out of it and leave if they choose to so they don’t feel trapped.
Christmas day adjustments
It’s common for usual daily errands and habits to be forgotten about on Christmas day but don’t let this interfere with your dog’s routine. Continue to walk and feed them at the usual times to avoid causing any unnecessary upset or disasters with dogs stealing your Christmas dinner.
If you’re hosting guests or you have young children, make everyone aware of how to keep your dog from getting stressed. For instance, remind them not to approach the dog when in his den or to feed him unsafe food.
While we indulge in lavish food during this period, it won’t benefit your pup to do the same. A lot of the typical Christmas food for humans such as mince pies, chocolate, and onion stuffing isn’t dog-safe, so don’t sneak them any under the dining table or leave unwashed plates out for them to lick. You can still give them a few dog treats, but a sudden dietary change such as a bowl full of turkey can cause stomach upset and lead to toilet accidents around your home.
Many Christmas dinners are followed by pulling crackers, using party poppers, and popping champagne corks, but these noises can be scary for your dog. You could either avoid these traditions altogether or ensure your dog isn’t near or is kept in an outdoor dog kennel when they’re happening.
Adapting your Christmas to suit your dog’s needs doesn’t have to disrupt your entire routine, but can stop them from getting overwhelmed and allow them to enjoy the festivities along with you.
Need a bespoke kennel for your dog to feel comfortable in this Christmas?
Benchmark Kennels are a manufacturer of bespoke kennels, giving dogs a secure and spacious place to stay outdoors when they need some peace and quiet. Each kennel can be customised to suit your dog and home perfectly in terms of size, shape and material.