Hazel Carter

Pet Behaviourist


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Christmas Tips

  • Keep to your pet's normal routine for feeding, walking and bed times. This will help to keep them relaxed and contented during the excitement of the festivities.

  • Feed their normal diet. It is tempting to give lots of rich goodies so they can enjoy Christmas, but you may not enjoy Boxing Day cleaning up the results of upset tummies! Just add a few tiny tasty morsels to the food.

  • Stick to your usual house rules. If your dog does not normally sleep on the bed or sofa, do not allow him to do it for a special treat for Christmas. He could be very confused by this and not want to revert to the normal routine afterwards. Conversely if your dog always has the entire sofa to lounge on, he will be a bit fed up if he has to share it with houseguests. The same rule applies to feeding titbits at the table: if your family do not do it, tactfully tell the guests that it is not allowed.

  • Do not forget regular toilet trips, especially for the young or old dog.

  • Provide a quiet retreat where your cat or dog can rest in peace.

  • With lots of people coming and going do be extra careful that doors and gates are not left open for the dog to run off or even worse be run over by a guest arriving at your home.

  • Even a well-trained dog might seize the opportunity to steal the turkey if it is left out on the kitchen unit while everybody is partying at the other end of the house. Check everything is put well out of reach of curious noses.

  • Rubbish bins. Watch they are not overflowing with rubbish with the lid not fully closed, especially if it has turkey bones in it. One, the bones are dangerous, and two, when a dog has had the reward of raiding the rubbish bin just once, he will go on doing it.

  • The Christmas tree is another target for the inquisitive pet, with lots of presents to rip open and investigate. Chocolates for humans are dangerous for dogs, so do not let them eat them. Only give them dog chocs. It is now known that dried fruit and grapes can be lethal for dogs so do not be tempted to give them any Christmas cake.

  • Jealousy between two dogs can escalate with the excitement of having presents, or even watching their humans opening presents. This can result in a fight. Separate the dogs while they open their presents if you think it might happen.

A little thought and planning beforehand should mean that both pets and their owners all have a super Christmas.