Christmas is a very exciting time of year for the whole family, including the dog.
Our dogs love Christmas just as much as we do, with family and friends visiting, the kids are home from school, delicious smells coming from the kitchen and not to mention the house being turned into a huge sparkly playground. Here at Gencon we know that dogs are like detectives and will investigate every nook and cranny in search of Christmas treats and presents. So here is a guide on how to protect them from harm whist they are investigating in the winter weather for festive food and decorations.
Winter Watch- weather, warmth and walkies
As the weather gets colder, it is important to remember that dogs feel the weather change just like us. Despite their furry coats they still feel the nippy winds and dropping temperatures, some dogs feel the cold more than others but all coats should be grown long at the end of our sunny seasons, allowing more protection from the cold. Whilst out walking the following should be considered, extra warmth through coats, refer to our dog coat article for more. If it has been or is snowing then keep your dog on a lead as the snow can be disorientating and leave your dog without its usual scent towards home. It also goes without saying to avoid letting your dog walk on ice or areas that appear to be thick with snow. If your dog does walk onto frozen ponds do not follow them try to encourage them back to you. You should not let your dog eat snow, it may seem harmless but chemicals or sharp objects could be within the bright white and eating it can cause stomach ache and in extreme cases hypothermia. Whilst out walking its important to keep an eye out for Antifreeze, bizarrely our detective dogs like both the smell and taste of it, which is unfortunate as it is extremely poisonous for them. After walks you must wash away any grit and salt as it can make the paws sore and will be harmful if your dog licks it off. A paw check should be done after every walk to check for cold weather damage, such as cracked paw pads or bleeding. You can reduce the chance of iceball accumulation by clipping the hair between dogs claws. Finally when it comes to bed time give your dog extra bedding or move their bed away from draughts. Older dogs like older people suffer more from the cold, especially those with health issues such as arthritis, invest in a heat pad to place under your dogs bed.
Festive Foods- The Dos and Don’ts
We all over indulge at Christmas, treating ourselves to delicious cheeses, sausages wrap in bacon and the bottomless box of chocolates. We are also all guilty of “accidentally” dropping some turkey into the floor so our dog can enjoy the festivities. However it is crucial to understand what they can and can’t eat. When giving your dog meat make sure that it doesn’t have any bones in it, they can splinter which can cause them to be swallowed or even worse get stuck in the roof of their mouth. Chocolate as most dog owners should know is extremely poisonous to dogs, so make sure all wrappers are cleaned away so their detective noise do not get hold of them. Surprisingly Grapes, Rasins and Sultans are also very poisonous when digested by dogs, even when toxicity is acute sudden kidney failure can occur with lack of urine production. Another don’t for dogs is allium spices, this includes onions, garlic, leeks, sage all the things that help our roasts taste delicious, so make sure you keep them away from the stuffing. The allium spices cause damage to red blood cells and can cause life threatening anaemia. The final thing that you need to hide from your detective dogs is the Holly, Ivy and Pot-pourri as these can all cause damage if digested.
Festive Decorations and Activities
When decorating your home make sure all decorations are off the floor especially if your dog is going to be left unattended. Do not put any edible Christmas gifts under the tree as I guarantee your dog will sniff them a mile of a use the cover of night to indulge themselves. Make sure you clean up any fallen tree pines so they don’t get stuck in their paws or coat. When people are visiting ensure your dog can escape into a quiet room where they can retreat into bed. Also make sure that any fairy light wires are tucked away so that any chewing and shocks can be avoided.