Battersea Q&A: How to help your dog enjoy 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:
- 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.
- Tree needles can get stuck in paws and fur, so clean up any fallen needles.
- Ensure poisonous food items, such as chocolate and grapes, are kept well out of reach.
- 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.
- Prepare some long-lasting treats to keep your dog occupied during present opening, and while everyone is having Christmas lunch.
- 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.
- Practise your lead walking skills before it starts to snow, as you don’t want to be pulled around on slippery, icy pavements.
- Teach your dog to go to his bed when children are playing with new and exciting toys.
- Festive plants, such as poinsettias, mistletoe, and holly, can be dangerous so ensure these are well out of reach.
- 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.
- Buy a special doggy advent calendar to feed that sweet tooth — never share yours, as chocolate is poisonous to dogs.
- 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.