We want to wish you a Merry Christmas from all of us here at Dog Hair Day! Whether it’s your first Christmas with your dog, or you’re an old hat at Christmas, we hope you all have a fantastic time. In order to ensure you don’t spend Christmas day at the vet’s, we’ve put together the “Ultimate Doggy Merry Christmas Safety Guide!”
Christmas and Boxing Day Walks
If you’re going out for a family dog walk over the Christmas period, don’t forget to make sure everybody is safe. There are often far more dogs out there than usual, so it’s sensible to keep your dog on a lead in case they meet an anxious or aggressive dog coming the other way. It’s also a good idea to consider your pup’s disposition carefully before going out as a large group with other dog walkers, as this can be stressful for many dogs.
Don’t forget to wrap up warm, and make sure the dog is warm, too. Coats are recommended for breeds with shorter coats, especially if they’re on the lead and not running around and keeping warm. Coats can also help to keep the rain off- which keeps that wet-dog smell to a minimum!
With the nights so very early, it’s important to remember to take high-visibility clothing for both you and pup. Whether it’s a high-vis coat, a flashing LED collar or simply a reflective lead, having some sort of light on your dog can help you to find them in the dark as well as ensure that a collision with a car doesn’t ruin your Christmas.
Food and Titbits
Christmas is a time for cooking and eating way too much food. Although it can be tempting to give the dog some leftovers, please think carefully about what you’re giving them. Cooked bones are a big no-no, as are very fatty bits. And it goes without saying that alcohol isn’t a good idea. It sounds boring, but even the doggy ‘Christmas dinners’ can cause vomiting and diarrhoea with the sudden change in diet, so sometimes it’s best to feed a normal meal, and perhaps a couple of tiny bits of boneless, sauceless turkey.
Common Christmas Poisons for Dogs
Absolutely, there are also some things your pets shouldn’t have over the Christmas break. Mince pies, Christmas puddings and Christmas cake all contain raisins and sultanas. These can be extremely toxic to dogs and it is recommended that you phone the vet immediately, even if your dog eats only one. Make sure all mince pies are out of reach, preferably in a cupboard, and if there are young children around, it’s a good idea to shut the dog away from where they are eating in case of dropped raisins.
Another really common Christmas toxin is chocolate. Despite the fact that vets have been warning of Chocolate toxicity for years, we still see cases every year. If you don’t want to spend Christmas at the vets watching your dog vomit up chocolate-scented stomach contents, make sure you keep all chocolate out of reach. Don’t forget about ‘hidden’ chocolate too- if any packages under the tree look suspiciously like a box of chocolates, you could move them out of reach until the day. Alternatively, ensure the dog doesn’t have unsupervised access to the tree by using stair gates or play pens.
Onions are also a common Christmas toxin- they cause a severe anaemia. Usually, they’re accidently fed when the dog is allowed to ‘wash’ the plates at the end of the meal or when gravy is given as a treat. So, please make sure that any tidbits you give your dog haven’t been soaking in onion (or garlic, or leek!) juices.
Foreign Body Risks on Christmas
It wouldn’t be Christmas at a vet’s office without the obligatory foreign body removal. Typically, tinsel is the most common culprit- something about that shiny, flashy plastic brings out the hunter in our pets, and as they ‘hunt’ and ‘kill’ it, many of them ‘eat’ it too. Unfortunately, it clogs up the intestines and causes life-threatening blockages… so keep it away from your pets, please!
Wrapping paper is also a common cause of blockages, probably because people give their pets the wrapping paper to play with after opening. Please supervise your pets if you’re doing this, and if it looks like they might be eating any, take the rest away before it causes any problems. The same goes for new toys!
Finally, from all of us here at Dog Hair Day we wish you a very safe and Merry Christmas, and look forward to seeing you in 2020.