Now that it is the 1st of December and advent calendars are being opened, it really is starting to feel like Christmas. Everyone is planning festivities for themselves and their family, from decorating the tree, wrapping gifts, visiting family and friends and eating lots of yummy treats. But one thing that is often overlooked at this time of year when everyone is busy in the lead-up to the big day is keeping our four-legged friends happy too. Pets, especially dogs are such an important part of the family and it is good to keep their comfort in mind and prepare them so they can enjoy this magical time of year too.
With this in mind, Pedigree has launched 12 Days of Pedigree where you can find tips for keeping your pooch happy this December. Recently my teen adopted Bob, a two-year-old Jack Russel who was originally her friend's dog, and who over the past few months has become her new best friend. So how are we going to get Bob prepared for Christmas?
1.) Keep the chocolate advent calendars out of reach
For us, humans chocolate is a yummy treat but for our four-legged friends it is actually really bad for them and could make them really poorly. We are planning on keeping the children's chocolate advent calendars on the fireplace out of reach and we will be keeping on eye on our younger children to make sure they don't feed him any sneaky chocolate treats too.
2.) Hoover up pine needles
We are thinking of getting a real Christmas tree this year and we have been told to make sure we keep on top of hoovering the pine needles up, as they can be dangerous for dogs. They can hurt their paws and if they eat them they can not digest them, the last thing we want is a poorly dog so we will be hoovering twice a day just to be safe.
3.) Be careful with decorations
Talking about Christmas trees it is also worth dog proofing them, by not having any breakable decorations low down on the tree and keeping lights out of reach (a bit like what we did when the children were smaller). We normally have a Santa train track running around the bottom of our tree but I won't be using that this year as I know my tree would end up getting knocked over if I did.
4.) Regular walks
I know we are all busy at this time of year and the weather has been freezing cold the past few days with snow and hailstones, but make sure you try and get out for walks. Your dog will enjoy it and it is also good for us pet owners too, getting outside in the fresh air and I for one need all the exercise I can get after all the mince pies and chocolates I will be eating.
5.) Keep them clean
On day's like today when it has been snowing and the ground is like slush, dogs do get messy when outdoors so make sure you keep them nice and clean. Whether you bath your dog at home or take them to a salon for professional Dog Grooming, it is always nice having a clean dog.
6.) Stick to routine
Christmas is such a busy time of year, with parties and pantomimes to attend, extra shopping to do and loved ones to visit. However a change to the routine with extra visitors around or you being away from home more then usual can be unsettling for your pets, try and keep their feeding and walking times the same if you can.
7.) Prepare them for visitors
When people visit the house, especially people who are unfamiliar it can be unsettling for our pets, they can get over excited or hide away sulking. We have a utility room with a bed and toys in so if things get too much he has somewhere to go and calm down away from the hustle and bustle of lots of visitors.
8.) Keep gifts out of reach
We normally have Christmas presents from the family under the tree well before Christmas day, but with a dog around I don't think that is such a good idea. If your dog is likely to open or ruin a gift make sure you put them somewhere they cant get them.
9.) Don't make your dog go crackers
The bangs from crackers and even party poppers can be a bit scary for dogs (and humans) so be careful when pulling them around your pets. There are so many little plastic toys that come out of them too which could end up getting chewed. We are going to wait until he is in a different room before pulling any this year.
10.) Hide the turkey!
Make sure the turkey is out of reach from little paws, the last thing you want on Christmas day is the dog pinching your turkey. Eating too much could make your dog ill and they could also end up eating a bone which could cause them problems. Instead, give them a small piece of turkey as a treat alongside there regular dog food to keep them healthy.
11.) Give them attention
During December I am so busy that I normally neglect the things that I love, as I just don't have time. I know that I am not alone in this and I think it is important to try and schedule in some down time each day, whilst enjoying a festive family movie you could spend some time with your dog, grooming them and just making a fuss of them. You will both feel a lot better after it.
12.) Buy them a gift
Buy your dog a little gift at Christmas time so they don't feel left out, their favourite dog treat or a Dentastick or a good quality toy for them to play with. If they have a toy or treat of their own on Christmas morning it might just keep them occupied enough to let you open your presents.
What are your top tips for getting your dog ready for the holiday season?
Disclosure This post is a collaboration with Pedigree, but all thoughts are my own. For additional dental care information, you can read the following Pedigree reviews article for tips and advice.