Jingle bells, tinsel & smells

PUBLISHED: 18:18 14 December 2015 | UPDATED: 18:18 14 December 2015

The best gifts for dog  lovers

The best gifts for dog lovers

Copyright 2008 Ruth Black, All Rights Reserved

Dog behaviourist Helen Goodall has some tips on how to ensure your canine companion stays safe and well during the festive season

Christmas festivities can be an exciting time for your dog, as well as for your family. With extra deliveries, visitors to greet, a tree in the house with decorations to explore and sumptuous cooking smells in the house, the days could never be dull for your dog.

The there are winter walks on frosty mornings, leaves littering gardens and walkways, and maybe even snow to excite the senses and play around in.

A thought should always be given to food orientated hounds at any time of year, but particularly if you have chocolates given as presents wrapped under the tree, or fruit cake left within reach. Both are a poisonous threat to our canine friends and can be life threatening, so keep them out of reach. If you’re too late and your dog manages to munch them, call the vet immediately you find out – it could be a life saver.

The leftover turkey carcass can be a hazard if a greedy dog steals it. Cooked bones can easily splinter causing intestinal damage. Decorations can also cause concern, especially to a young dog enjoying the exploration of new textures within reach. Ribbon, electrical wiring or tinsel can be ingested and become wrapped around the intestine resulting in a serious operation for your pet.

Take care of your delivery person this Christmas. Dogs can learn to be stimulated into territorial action when they see the postman. The reflective glow of a fluorescent jacket signals an intruder coming, even before the knock on the door. When the dog sees or hears the triggers, he starts his method of protection. Your dog might simply bark, or at worst attack the mail on a daily basis, but bigger deliveries will require you to open the door and your dog might try to protect you too. It’s always better to have your dog in another part of the house if you’re concerned he’s going to act in a protective manner.

Treating any form of protective or territorial aggression should be done with professional guidance. A programme of management training and desensitisation will need to be followed specific to your dog and your property.

The cold or snow might not be everyone’s idea of fun, but some dogs thrive in it. Breeds with a heavy double coat do better in the cold climate than in the heat of summer. The rain, however, is never a joy to owners. The dog still needs to be walked, but wet smells and muddy water shaken over walls and furniture are not exactly welcome once you’re back home.

Take care if your dog regularly enjoys a dip in his local pond – it could be frozen and a fall through the ice can end in drowning. If you walk in a new area, make sure you know where any rivers, ponds and lakes are along the route, so you can keep your dog close by you, or on a lead, and walk past without danger.

Above all, take time to enjoy some quiet moments with your dog. This time of year can be busy and hectic, but our dogs are forever our faithful companions, whatever we’re involved in. To feel that special bond they share with you and to enjoy cuddling up in the safety and warmth of your home, will make your dog’s Christmas a very happy one.


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