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How to keep your dog happy this Christmas

For many, Christmas is a time for family gatherings. Dogs are often seen as a member of the family, but we shouldn’t forget that they have different needs to humans, and that we need to ensure they are kept healthy and safe at Christmas. Here are a few things to bear in mind during the festive season.

Treats

Chocolates are treats for humans, but they’re toxic to dogs, so be sure to keep them out of reach. Grapes, raisins and macadamia nuts can also make a dog very ill. If you want to give your dog treats, stick to dog-friendly treats and avoid dinner scraps which could cause unnecessary weight gain or contain harmful bones. You could even treat your dog in different ways, such as praising them with a cuddle, toy or tummy rub.

Exercise

Your dog needs walking every day, and Christmas Day shouldn’t be any different. Take your dog on his usual walk and invite the whole family along; it can be a great way to get some fresh air and work off those mince pies. If your dog has an Animo activity and behaviour monitor, you can keep track of their activity during the festive period to ensure they are getting enough exercise. Many of us play games during the festive period, so why not think of some active games that could involve your dog.

Decorations

If you have an excitable dog or young puppy, a Christmas tree or fairy lights could spell disaster. Keep all decorations out of reach and consider a table top tree that your dog can’t play with. A fake tree might also be a good idea because real pine needles can cause upset if ingested or discomfort if they become trapped in paws.

Candles

Candles can easily be knocked over by a playful dog and cause a fire. Keep candles well out of reach or better still, use fake candles that offer the same flickering effect as real candles.

Visitors

If you have people arriving who don’t often see your dog, make sure they’re aware of your dog’s temperament so that they don’t do something he doesn’t like. Also, if children are attending your gathering and your dog isn’t used to spending time with children, tell them how to behave around your dog so that they don’t frighten him.

Safe places

Make sure your dog can access different areas of the house so that they can retreat if any partying gets too much for them.

Festive doggie outfits

Dogs can look very cute if they’re dressed in a Christmas outfit, but they might not like wearing it. Never force your dog to wear anything they’re not happy to wear. As an alternative, you could get them a festive collar or handkerchief to wear.

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