Whilst we all want to include our four-legged family members at Christmas, there are a few things you may need to do to keep them safe and happy and your presents in one piece!
Whilst you may think you’re a puppy proofing master, Christmas brings a whole new range of dangers into the puppy zone.
The Christmas tree
Puppies investigate with their mouths so any breakable ornaments and Christmas plants should be on high surfaces, fragile baubles should be placed nearer the top of the tree, and cables for fairy lights blocked off so they cannot be nibbled on.
If you have a real tree make sure you regularly pick up any stray pine needles so they cannot get nibbled on or stuck in paws, and be aware some trees may be toxic to your furry friends.
It’s a great tradition to keep presents under the tree but these will be very attractive to your puppy. You can use a pet gate to keep prying paws at bay or put them in a solid container, cupboard or on a raised surface. This will prevent beautiful bows from becoming soggy tug toys!
Before you receive visitors think about how you would like your puppy to greet them. If you don’t want your pup to bounce all over them then don’t be afraid to ask your visitors not to encourage it (even if they “don’t mind!” it’s OK to tell them you do!). You can always ask them to wait until all four of your pup’s paws are on the floor before they say hello or give them a treat so they can ask for an appropriate behaviour like “sit” before they say hi.
New faces and extra noise can be scary, so create a doggy den so your pup has a safe space that they can take themselves off to if they are feeling overwhelmed. This can be his bed or crate in a quieter area of the house with some familiar toys and a Kong or other enrichment item to keep them occupied.
Educate non-doggy visitors about what your dog can and cannot have and what might need to be kept on high surfaces, out of snuffling reach. You can always introduce a “no human food for the dog” rule.
Keep an eye out for counter surfers when preparing food, make sure food is kept near the back of counters or use a doggy gate to create distance from temptation for furry family members.
Keeping your puppy entertained
Give you pup enrichment items like Kongs, puzzle toys, snuffle mats or chews so they have something engaging to do and are less likely to create mischief in the name of entertainment!
After presents have been opened you can keep any undyed paper and cardboard boxes. These can be stuffed with the paper and treats and create great, free enrichment toys for your pup. It might be messy but your pup will love it and it will fit into the recycling bin much more easily!
Christmas crackers can be scary so it’s a good idea to pop your pup into his safe space with the radio on and something fun to do whilst they are being pulled.
Stick to their normal routine
Try to you stick to your pup’s routine as much as possible as this will help them feel more settled. They will also be more relaxed if they have eaten, exercised and toileted before people arrive and this should limit over-excited accidents!
Lastly, Christmas is a very stimulating time for everyone especially your pup, so make sure they get regular breaks to toilet and rest.