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Keeping Your Pooch Happy this Festive Season

Keeping Your Pooch Happy this Festive Season

Christmas can be a really fun time to have a dog around. Lots of dogs in particular love helping unwrap presents, spending time with extended family, and of course, all the extra food! There are however a few things that are important to bear in mind to help our pets enjoy Christmas with us
The first problem associated with Christmas that springs to mind is poison. Vets are inundated with calls from distressed owners all through December due to their dog having gotten hold of chocolate. Remember, we don’t know the toxic dose for chocolate and so even small quantities can be fatal in some dogs. Keep all of your chocolate safely stored away from the dogs! 
The other big item that is accidentally ingested by dogs is fruit cake / Christmas pudding. Loads of Christmas themed deserts contain raisons which are also a big ‘no no’ for dogs. One last thing to remember is that dogs should not be given cooked bones- these may splinter and cause issues in the digestive tract.
So, what can our pooches enjoy this festive season? Cook up some extra carrots, brussels and other veg your serving- the dogs will love this addition to their bowl and it serves as a super healthy treat. Leftover meat is also a great supplement to your dog’s food bowl.
In preparation of Christmas day or busy celebrations in my house during this season I prepare stuffed Kongs or lickmats that I can give to the dogs in a separate room so that they get time away from the guests to relax and decompress. Remember, your dog can’t ask for space so you need to advocate for them in social situations. Dogs have different personalities and thus different levels of sociability. If you have a newer rescue, a nervous dog or just a dog that isn’t too keen on new people then you may be best off asking guests to totally ignore the dog (at least initially). Try giving each guest some of your dogs favourite treats but encouraging them to totally ignore the dog and only offer this treat if they are approached by the dog. This can help nervous or reactive dogs feel safer as we are not putting the pressure on them to interact, they are given choice. 
Boxing day is the classic day where everyone is off for big walks with their dogs! Make sure that if you are taking your dog out for walks in December that you keep a look out for rock salt. This salt is put on roads to help them stay less icey, however it’s dangerous stuff for dogs! Salt on the paws and
skin can irritate and cause burns even. More importantly, if your dog licks their paws when they come in and ingest this salt it can be toxic and even fatal. Make sure to wipe those paws or rinse the dog off after your walk.
Overall, most dogs will really enjoy Christmas time with you, just make sure to follow these tips to keep them happy and safe!
About The Author:
Annie-Mae Levy
Dog Behaviourist & Trainer
Canine Nutritionist
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Instagram: @annietrainsdogs
Facebook: @anniesdogs
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