Everyone wants the paw-fect Christmas, and with so much on offer to treat and gift there’s no doubt Santa Paws is coming to town! Dogs don’t know it's Christmas, yet they sense something is happening with a change in routine, heightened stress levels, visitors, festive foods, decorations, not least an indoor tree in your front room! Here’s my top tips for keeping your dog safe at Christmas, how to ensure #DogFriendly festivities, and what to do in case of an emergency:
Keep their routine
Keep your dogs routine as normal as you can, including their meals, mealtimes and walks. Be honest and accept if visitors stress your pooch. Perhaps find a place where Fido can be contained happily and safely. Think about investing in stress busting chews and activity toys like a KONG to stuff creatively with dog friendly ingredients like Poppy’s Picnic’s air-dried tasty treats.
Feed appropriate festive ‘fayre’
Keep festive ‘fayre’ at a safe distance from your dog. Being opportunists with a super sense of smell, given an inch most dogs will take a mile! When you’re back is turned it only takes a few seconds and you’re cheese board / plate of mince pies could be demolished! Raisins can cause a serious reaction that induces kidney failure and dark chocolate in particular only takes a small dose to cause an allergic reaction that can be fatal due to an alkaloid compound called Theobromine. A simple way to make Christmas Day special without an upset tummy is to feed Poppy’s Picnic COMPLETE Turkey Mince. It’s balanced, complete and packed with fresh turkey, offal, bone and seasonal veggies.
Watch out for hazards
Christmas spirits can quickly be dampened by a veterinary emergency, and the festive season can be an accident waiting to happen. Co-op Insurance revealed that last year visits to the vet doubled in December. There’s a myriad of disaster opportunities at Christmas. Your home becomes a playground for a mischievous mutt, explaining unseasonal behaviour like peeing up the Christmas tree or pulling it over. Create boundaries so your dog understands that the indoor tree is out of bounds. Pine needles if ingested can get stuck in a dog’s throat and in-between their paw pads, and glass baubles can cut paws. Perhaps change glass decorations to fabric ones or tough plastic to avoid sharp injuries. Tinsel can easily be ingested causing a blockage, and chocolate decorations can be lethal, not least with the tin foil wrapping.
Be prepared in case of an accident
Check with your local vet for opening times over the holidays, and the nearest emergency vet especially if you’re spending Christmas away from home. Invest in a doggie first aid kit, including Vet wrap bandages and antiseptic solutions like Leucillin, so in the event of an injury, you’re able to act immediately before getting your dog to a Vet. In the event of a tummy upset, keep your dog calm, and offer them regular toilet breaks. Re-hydrate them with plenty of fresh drinking water. Feed small portions 3 x times a day and add some pumpkin puree as a pre-biotic packed with minerals and vitamins and 99% water. Avoid the ‘chicken and rice’ combination. Stick to the chicken but without the rice. Rice is a grain and is not species appropriate for a dog. Ironically, rice will irritate the gut and create inflammation as a complex carbohydrate packed with sugars that has no nutritional benefit to dogs as carnivores.
Anna Webb – Broadcaster, Author, has studied natural nutrition and therapies with the College of Integrated Veterinary Therapies (CIVT). She lives in London and is owned by Prudence, a Miniature Bull Terrier and Mr Binks, a re-homed English Toy Terrier. www.annawebb.co.uk