Written by Dr Lisa Towns
There are many ways devoted pet owners include their animals in Christmas festivities; from taking their dog to see Santa to simply buying them a gift to place under the tree.
Regardless of how you include your dog, there are some things you can do to ensure his Christmas Day is merry.
Whether you are going to be home entertaining guests, or out all day, it is a good idea to take your dog for his daily walk in the morning.
This will give him a bit of mental stimulation and allow him to expel excess energy.
If you are hosting Christmas lunch at home, give your dog somewhere to “escape” to, particularly if he’s not fond of guests or crowds.
This should be somewhere away from where your guests will be gathering, preferably a dark, quiet spot with his favourite toy or treat.
If you are going out for the day, make sure you clear up “The Christmas Mess” before you leave and place new toys and food gifts out of reach.
Packaging, ribbons and toys could cause an obstruction if swallowed (or worse, if the toy contains a button battery) and many of the foods we give as gifts are too rich or toxic for dogs.
If the weather is expected to be particularly hot, you can add ice chips to your dog’s water bowl, or even freeze his favourite chew toy to make a nice cool treat which will hopefully keep him occupied for a large portion of the day.
If your dog is allowed inside, then leave the aircon on for him.
If your dog is outside only, then a shallow paddling pool in a shady spot can offer some cooling relief.
On your return home, if it’s not too dark or hot, then I’m sure your dog would love a second walk for the day- and if your Christmas lunches are anything like my family’s, then you will benefit too!