With all the excitement that Advent and Christmas can bring as we consider family and friends, let’s not forget our furry friends!
We are looking forward to spending our first Christmas with our lovely Brinkley, and looking at ways of how we can make sure he is safe over the season, and that he enjoys it too.
As we consider getting a Christmas tree, we have been thinking about Brinkley. Through a number of conversations with friends who have dogs, we decided not to have a large tree sitting on the floor, as we thought it may be too tempting for our little dog, thinking we have kindly brought the inside in, just for him. Soggy carpet and pressies is not a good look, so we will be buying a tree that can sit on top of a table. If you have a real tree, try and choose a tree that doesn’t shed its needles too much, and check the surrounding area of where the tree will sit daily, clearing up any fallen sharp needles. Also make sure the tree sits firmly in place, to avoid the tree being pulled over.
[pullquote]With all the decorations, presents and food that is on display during Christmas it is important to consider the safety of our pets.[/pullquote]
Decorations to consider
Many decorations can be small and sharp, made from glass etc…
Candles and fires
Lights and their electric cables
All of these can be fascinating to our pets, and their curiosity may make these just too tempting for them, with the conclusion ending up with a visit to the vets on Christmas Day with some serious consequences. As you would look at a room for child safety, look at your home with fresh eyes and try to see any potential pitfalls, such as choking hazards and electrical safety.
Many plants are poisonous to our pets, such as poinsettias, so please keep these out of their reach.
This year I will be making paper chains instead of using tinsel to keep Brinkley safe. This is a fun activity that the whole family can get involved in. I love candles and use them daily, but always keep them away from waggy tails and interested paws. If you have a fire, using a fire guard in front as this will help keep them safe.
It is well known that chocolate is poisonous to dogs, but is easy to forget this in the busyness. Dried fruit and grapes are also bad for our pets, so be aware of any food you may leave around on tables and shelves, or food that may have been dropped on the floor.
Through research I learnt from the Dogs Trust that the chemical Xylitol that is found in sugar free sweets can also cause a great deal of harm.
It is tempting to include our pets in the Christmas meal, but cooked turkey on the bone should also be avoided, as bones can be easily lodged in their throats.
We have been looking at suitable recipes for dogs and through a newsletter from the Dogs Trust, we will be making mini mince pies that Brinkley can enjoy. Our Havanese dog and many other breeds often don’t do well with wheat, so to make mince pies for them, follow a normal mince pie recipe using gluten free flour such as Dove Farm and instead of mincemeat, add some dog food at the centre of the pies.
Changes in daily routine
Our little Brinkley always picks up on when something is new and as he is a rescue dog, he often worries if changes are afoot and this makes him nervous. The lead up to Christmas and the day can mean that everyone’s daily routine is all over the place. Try and keep your dogs routine in place as far as possible. Also if you are having guests over including young children, make sure your pet has time out for himself as too much attention and noise can be distressing for them. Be aware of how young children play with your dog or cat as they can be over zealous at times. Show adults and children how to greet your pet and teach them what they do and don’t like. Another suggestion would be to make sure that guests know that it is important to check that the front and or back doors are kept shut, to make sure your pet doesn’t escape. For example, make sure your pet has his collar on when you have a party, so if your pet does escape, their details can be found easily.
It is best to keep an eye on your pet over the Christmas season, so you know where they are. At night keep the door shut where the tree and presents are in case their interest leads to any midnight escapades.
For emergencies, check you have a pet first aid kit and make sure you know the opening times of your vets over Christmas and New Year.
There are so many gifts available for our furry friends; from toys, clothing and food. Please be aware that not all gifts available are safe, it’s important to choose gifts from reputable sellers, cheap isn’t always best, so keep any eye out, especially if your pet receives gifts from friends and family. Check seams on any fluffy toys and ingredients on any food given (though sometimes this is difficult), especially if your pet is allergic to anything.
[pullquote]It is easy to think, oh it’s just one day, it’s just a little treat; but that one treat may seriously harm your pet.[/pullquote]
Do you have any other pet safety tips?
Do you have any favourite Christmas pet treat recipes?
Remember your pet is for life, not just for Christmas!
(quote inspired by the quote from the Dog’s Trust ‘ A dog is for life not just for Christmas‘)
I wish you and your pet a wonderful Christmas.