The festive season; It’s a fabulous time of year for many. For most, the working year comes to an end and we’re able to soak up days of Summer fun and get into the Christmas Spirit. To ensure this happy time remains positive and incident free, we have listed a few essential safety tips to make sure our furry family members stay healthy and happy this year.
1. Don’t Share Festive Foods with Your Dog
Nothing beats a Christmas Spread! Tables filled with baked hams, Christmas Puddings and endless chocolate! While indulging on Christmas favourites may add a couple of kilos to our scales, the consequence for your dog can be far greater.
Avoid an emergency trip to the vet this Christmas and ensure your dog cannot access the following;
- Grapes and Raisins
- Fatty meats
- Cooked Bones
The bone from the Christmas Ham may also seem like a great treat for your family pet, but please discard it and do not give to your dogs.
Refer to our Food Safety Blog to see more
While saying no to puppy dog eyes can be a challenge, it is imperative you keep their safety in mind and ensure your family and guests understand which foods can cause serious harm to your dog.
2. Avoid Rawhide
Christmas stockings are not reserved for just the human members of our family anymore. Many households opt to include a gift for their family pets on Christmas. During Christmas, department stores will package up the “perfect” Christmas gift for pets, complete with themed toys, treats and often Rawhide.
In conjunction with offering zero nutritional value, rawhide is exceptionally difficult to digest which can cause obstruction in the stomach. Rawhide is also chemically treated, posing a significant risk to your dog who may ingest harmful substances. Typically made in bulk in factories unknown, the contents of the rawhide are virtually undisclosed.
Opt for a natural alternative. Ask your Vet for appropriate food treats or do your research to learn more about reputable brands and suppliers to ensure your dog is only eating quality foods, chews and treats.
3. Be Mindful of Christmas Decorations
The first of December marks the first day of decorations a plenty. The tree is up, the lights are hung, and your home is glowing in Christmas spirit. For play driven, cheeky pups your perfectly placed Christmas ornaments can resemble your dog’s favourite tennis ball, the draped tinsel may look like a tug-o-war toy… you get it.
Be very mindful of your dog with Christmas decorations. If ingested, your decorations can turn from festive fun to an emergency vet nightmare. Foreign objects in your dog’s system can cause injury, intestinal trauma and obstruction. They can also pose a choking hazard.
For those with rambunctious pooches which a tendency to explore with their mouths, put extra precautions in place such as safeguarding your tree with a baby gate, or mat training and always supervise your dog when inside.
4. Christmas Outfits
While some dogs thrive in the limelight and happily prance around in dog-sized outfits, the notion of playing dress up isn’t for every pooch. We don’t mean to burst the Christmas bauble however if your dog displays signs of stress when trying to fit a pair of reindeer antlers for the family photo, don’t force it.
Please also keep in mind our Christmas season, unlike some areas of the world is during the middle of summer and the weather is very hot. Putting extra layers on your dog can quickly begin to over heat your dog leading to heat stress.
If you wish to include your pup in the family festivities, an alternative to an elaborate costume could be a decorative collar or ribbon.
5. Christmas Bonbons
An essential for all Christmas celebrations. While completely innocent, harmless fun to kickstart a festive feast, we need to cover all angles. For dogs that are particularly sensitive to loud noises, fireworks or storms, a collective BANG of bonbons can be enough to startle or stress your dog. If you know your dog frightens easily with loud noise, simply place them outside or away from the commotion.
In addition to noise, Bonbons can also leave a mess. It wouldn’t be Christmas without terrible bonbon jokes and paper hats, or those small, pokey toys that tend to go flying across the room. Be sure these are collected and out of reach to avoid any unfortunate incidents with your pet.
6. Traveling with your Pets
Many people take the opportunity to enjoy a wonderful break and take their furry family member with them. Make sure when traveling with your dogs that you keep in mind some important reminders.
• It is illegal to travel with your dog if it is not restrained appropriately within the vehicle. Not to mention should you experience an accident correct restraint in the car may save your pets life too. A crate or a harness attached to a seat beat may be the difference to your pet’s survival in the event of a car accident.
• Make sure on long trips you plan stops for your dog to get out stretch their legs and have a good drink of water. We often forget our dogs don’t understand the concept of long trips and you will need to make sure to keep their welfare in mind at all times.
• New environments can be stressful for dogs and they may display behaviours you haven’t seen before at home. We recommend crate training; dogs settle into new environments faster when they have a familiar environment to eat and sleep in. Not to mention no concerns with the in-laws and accidents in their home.
• It is often helpful to place a tag on your dog if they don’t normally wear one with your contact details. New places and environments can not only be stressful for your dog, but they may find themselves away from you and it is the easiest way to contact you.
• You should also check your pets microchip details are up to date on the registry just in case they find themselves at a vet clinic or pound in an unfamiliar place.
Things recommended to pack for your beloved pet to ensure nothing is forgotten
• Collar / Harness
• Water / Food Bowl
• Favorite Toy
• Training Mat
• Poo bags
• Any medication your pet may be on (make sure flea, tick, and worming treatments are all up to date)
Enjoy your well-deserved break!!!