Christmas is nearly here, are you ready?!
Christmas can be a really exciting time for our dogs, all the wrapping paper, lots of new visitors to meet, smells of yummy food! But how can you help your dog not get too over excited?
Boundary games: These can be used to teach your dog that it is rewarding to stay in one place. You can use a bed or mat so they have a clear idea of where you want them to be. Reward calm behaviour: When you see your dog chilling out, reward with a ‘good chill’ and medium value reward. We want to make it worth while to chill out, but we don’t want to get them excited either. Chews: Avoid hide chews, as these are full of chemicals and can cause chocking. Instead try a more natural type of chew, for example buffalo horn, antler, pigs ear. Stuffed kong: chewing and trying to get the contents out of a kong can reduce excitment levels, and encourage calm behaviour. Recipes can be found here.
On the other hand it can also be a very stressful time for some dogs as there are lots of visitors, noise and change. You can help your dog feel more at ease with the festivities by creating a safe hideaway space where they can get away from it all.
Other tips include: Chews: chewing can lower stress levels and anxiety Adaptil DAP plug in diffuser: I would set this up at least a week before so it can diffuse throughout the house. Stuffed kongs: chewing and licking these can help calm and self soothe your dog.
If you are anything like me you'll love this time of year, all the decorations, lights and yummy food. But be aware this time of year comes with a health warning for your pet. Here are some dangers to keep in mind.
Ingesting toxic food can cause all sorts of health issues for your dog. If you believe your dog has consumed something they should not have, dont delay and contact your vet immediatly for advice.
Decorations can provide chocking hazard for your dog so keep them out of reach, and never leave your dog alone with them if they are a chewer. Similarly for christmas lights, chewing cables has a risk of electric shock. Again contact your vet immediatly for advice should your dog ingest something they shouldnt, or if you believe they have received an electric shock.
Tip: Have you got your vets emergency details easily on hand? Having a clear plan of action and contact details on hand can really reduce the stress involved, and get your pet help quicker should anything happen.
Its Christmas Day, you and your family have opened all your presents and now its time to sit down to dinner. If you would like to keep your dog occupied while you eat why not recycle all the discarded wrapping paper and cardboard packaging and create some fun for your dog? Start with a box, fill with paper, small boxes and toilet roll, then sprinkle and mix in yummy treat and kibble. This should keep your dog occupied for a while, and this foraging and nose work can tire your dog out as much as an hour long walk!
I hope you all enjoy the festivities and have a lovely time :)
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!
Helping you keep your pet happy and safe this festive season.