Christmas is a time when the home can be transformed both inside and out (if you can afford to pay the massive electricity bill after covering the house in more lights than Las Vegas). Some people even make the home smell different, buying special candles and air fresheners with Christmas-themes such as pine forest, mulled wine and reindeer poo (probably – I’ve done no research).
For some dogs, this sudden addition of blinking lights, weird smells and those eerie dancing Santas are too much. N.B. I was traumatised a few years ago by a dancing Santa whose batteries were low – the result was a terrifying noise that would have been appropriate if Stephen King drove an ice cream truck...
Dogs can be very sensitive to changes in environment, while others can just get tangled up in low-hanging decorations and lights. If you aren’t sure, keep them away from the Xmas decorations when you aren’t at home. In fact, there are some traditional decorations that can actually be harmful to our 4-legged friends. Holly and mistletoe, even pine needles should be kept out of reach, along with more exotic choices such as poinsettia and amaryllis plants. Needless to say, it is also a very good idea not to hang chocolate decorations too close to the ground. We all know that chocolate is poisonous to dogs and the last thing that you want to spend money on at this time of year is a trip to the vets (complete with the very festive experience of watching your dog projectile vomit a mixture of choc and peroxide).
(I decided to use this cartoon as a photo of an actual dog doing it is even worse (and you might be eating as you are reading).
While on the subject of Festive food, there is a long list of things that we should not feed our pooches at Christmas. If you do have leftovers (do you like the use of the word “if”?), then feeding the dogs from the dinner table is a definite no-no. This might mean being vigilant and make sure that Auntie Nora doesn’t sneak some stuffing into her napkin and slyly holds it under the table. Leftover turkey, potatoes and greens are fine for dogs to eat and you can add them all to your dog’s food at their meal time. Avoiding rich foods, sugary treats and – of course – alcohol will also prevent your dog from doing their own form of decorating around the house…
Some other foods to avoid are:
- Large amounts of onions, chives and garlic.
- Macadamia nuts.
- Grapes, sultanas, raisins and currants.
- Coffee and caffeine.
Have fun getting as stuffed as a Christmas turkey!