Battersea Q&A: How to help your dog enjoy Christmas

 Dog at Christmas

(Q) With so much to do during the festive period, I want to make sure my dog has plenty of Christmas cheer. Do you have any tips for the 12 days of Christmas?

(A) Battersea canine welfare trainer Nathalie Ingham says

  1. Flashing lights on Christmas trees are very inviting to dogs; use non-flashing lights, ensure everything is turned off and unplugged when you’re out, and tape electric wires and fittings so your dog can’t chew them.
  2. Tree needles can get stuck in paws and fur, so clean up any fallen needles.
  3. Ensure poisonous food items, such as chocolate and grapes, are kept well out of reach.
  4. Make sure it’s you who opens the presents under the tree, not your dog! Put a barrier around the tree until it’s time to undo the wrapping paper.
  5. Prepare some long-lasting treats to keep your dog occupied during present opening, and while everyone is having Christmas lunch.
  6. Ensure all ID tags and microchip details are up to date — distractions and visitors could make it easy for dogs to sneak out of the front door unnoticed.
  7. Practise your lead walking skills before it starts to snow, as you don’t want to be pulled around on slippery, icy pavements.
  8. Teach your dog to go to his bed when children are playing with new and exciting toys.
  9. Festive plants, such as poinsettias, mistletoe, and holly, can be dangerous so ensure these are well out of reach.
  10. If you only light a coal or log fire at Christmas, your dog may not be flame savvy, so ensure both dog and fire are supervised.
  11. Buy a special doggy advent calendar to feed that sweet tooth — never share yours, as chocolate is poisonous to dogs.
  12. Your local vet’s might have different opening hours or be closed altogether, so make sure you have details of who to contact in case of an emergency.

For more information about Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, call 0843 509 4444, email info@battersea.org.uk, visit the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home website, follow them on Twitter or find them on Facebook.

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