Dog daze: Festive fun with your pet

PUBLISHED: 10:48 22 December 2010 | UPDATED: 18:19 20 February 2013

Dog daze: Festive fun with your pet

Dog daze: Festive fun with your pet

Make sure your dog enjoys the Christmas festivities as much as the rest of the family by following our dog expert's sensible advice

Make sure your dog enjoys the Christmas festivities as much as the rest of the family by following our dog experts sensible advice

Where has the year gone? It seems like only yesterday that we all put away our Christmas decorations and said goodbye to the long winter and all its snow. I guess its partly because this year the winter seemed longer than usual.
Anyway, one thing is for sure, Christmas is on its way again so I thought that this month I would write about how to keep our dogs happy and safe during this festive time.
Christmas and New Year are on the whole family occasions and those people who own pets, especially dogs, want them to enjoy the festive season too.
It is also the time of year where a good number of people like to buy presents, treats, chews and toys for their dog along with giving their much loved pet their Christmas meal!
Whilst there is nothing wrong in doing this, I would like to suggest everyone takes a step back before stuffing the family dog with all sorts of food, otherwise the poor dog will end up looking like the stuffed turkey its humans have just consumed!
Seriously though, by giving dogs too much rich food, the chances are your much loved family dog is likely to get an upset stomach and maybe become a little hyperactive, which generally is not a good idea especially if you have a house full of guests.
Below I have listed some suggestions which will hopefully help keep your dog happy, healthy and relaxed over the holiday period.

TREATS: Only buy treats designed for your pet. As far as possible try to avoid treats with food colourings, sugars and additives as there are implications that when given in large quantities they can contribute to hyperactive behaviour, while the colours in the treats/chews have been known to cause permanent stains on peoples luxury cream carpets!
Today there are affordable natural treats available and more and more owners are opting to give these to their pets.

CHRISTMAS LUNCH: Unless your dog is on a special diet or suffering from any dietary problems, there is no reason why they cannot have some turkey and vegetables, but, make sure you reduce the amount of the normal diet. By doing this you are avoiding overfeeding your dog and less likely to cause a stomach upset. Lets face it, none of us wants to wake up the next morning to a dirty kitchen! However, do not give turkey bones, as they can lodge in the dogs throat or gut causing pain and a possible emergency visit to the duty vet.

TOYS: Buy toys suitable for your dogs size and age. Puppies will want to chew, so large, tough toys are called for while the older dog, who is past chewing, may like a softer toy.
If you are going to friends and your dog is invited too, it maybe better not to take with you the noisy toy bought by a well-meaning friend, as they can be rather annoying after a while!
Always supervise play and remove the toy once it has become tatty. Most good pet shops or dog training schools are able to advise owners on the most suitable toys for their type of dog.

THE TREE AND THE EXTRAS: Tinsel, balls, lights, sticky tape, wrapping, chocolate, grapes, Christmas cake, nuts and Christmas pudding are all potentially perilous to your pet.
Be aware that the glass ornamental ballsdo break and the glass may get into the dogs paws.
Tinsel can be swallowed and get tangled inside the stomach requiring veterinary attention.
Human chocolate can be dangerous for dogs along with nuts and grapes. And remember that foods containing raisins and sultanas are also poisonous to dogs, so keep Christmas cake and pudding well out of their reach.
Supervise pets as they open presents but also when you open your own gifts as parcel tape can get stuck in dogs fur. And make sure of course that they dont get their heads stuck inside plastic and carrier bags.

WALKING: Dont forget your dogs day-to-day needs over Christmas. It may be a holiday but they still need to be walked, fed, watered and kept safe. Please do not leave dogs on their own all day as this is very irresponsible. Remember to have fun with your dog.

SEASON OF PEACE: Allow your dog its own space over Christmas, away from the hustle and bustle of visitors or exuberant children. Pets need time out too.

I hope this will help all dog owners to have a fun and safe festive season with their dog.
Happy Christmas and a truly God Blessed New Year to all the readers of the Suffolk Magazine and a special thank you to everyone who has taken the time to get in touch with me during 2010.

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