I must admit that one of the things I’m most excited about for Christmas is the fact that I will have Bodhi for all of the festive period, and I’m off for two weeks from work, meaning a whole lot of Bodhi time! For those of you that don’t know, since Tom and I separated we share Bodhi, having him for three weeks, and then he goes off to his other home (I always say that now he gets twice the amount of love!) Tom is away for Christmas so Bodhi will be joining me at my parents’ house, where I’m sure he will be very excited to hang out with Henry dog and open lots of presents.
Pedigree recently got in touch and asked me to share my own tips for getting pets ready for Christmas, so I thought of all of the ways I’ll be thinking of Bodhi in the preparation for the holidays. But before I start, I thought it was very important to share a photo of Bodhi in his Christmas pudding fleece for context. (I should add – Bodhi actually loves wearing the fleece out on a walk as if it’s too chilly he looks eager to go home, but the pudding is made out of fleece-y material so it’s nice and warm. I wouldn’t put him in a jumper or anything that restricted his movement.)
- A Christmas groom – Bodhi will be out and about with me during what is usually the busiest period for my social calendar, so of course he will want to look his best! (And there’s nothing worse than bringing a stinky dog to a party – well, maybe not bringing a dog at all…) Although it’s not Bodhi’s favourite, it will be bath-time and dog grooming a few days before Christmas to ensure he is ready for all of the party invitations that will no doubt be arriving.
- Think about Christmas crowds – Bodhi doesn’t hugely like being around large groups of people, so if I’m off to the Christmas Market, he will probably be staying at home. Likewise, luckily Bodhi is pretty good with groups of people in the house, but if your pet isn’t as happy in that scenario then you might want to think about popping them in another room if you have large groups of guests arriving over Christmas.
- Dog safe Christmas foods – Most of us know that chocolate is out of bounds for dogs, so I’ll be making sure any boxes of chocs are tucked away before and after Christmas. Bodhi is pretty good with not searching out food but I know a few people who’ve come home to a rather mangled Chocolate Orange box (or similar) and had to make a trip to the Vets. Likewise, make sure you’re aware of other things that dogs can’t eat that might be popping up on the Christmas table or under the tree – coffee beans, grapes, raisins and macadamia nuts are all toxic for dogs.
- Watch out for hidden packing – If you have a greedy pup, it’s also worth looking out for things that may be hidden in packaging that they shouldn’t eat; look out for things like the silica gel packets, batteries or the styrofoam pellets inside boxes and sweep them away before any eager sniffers get there!
- Doggy Christmas dinner – I usually treat Bodhi and Henry to a doggy dinner for Christmas day – you can find them in tins in supermarkets over the Christmas period. Of course if your dog has a sensitive stomach you might want to consider sticking with their regular food, but I know Bodhi does love his turkey dinner!
- Watch out for the bones – Talking of Christmas dinner, it may be tempting to give your dog the bone from a beef joint or turkey, however I tend not to give Bodhi bones because of the risk of them splintering or getting stuck. However I know of people who feed their dogs bones on the basis that they would eat them in the wild, so again you can use your own judgement on this.
- There may be fireworks… – Although we’re way past Firework Night, you may want to consider that people often let off fireworks on New Year’s Eve, so if you have a dog of a nervous disposition, consider not leaving them on their own when you go off for your NYE celebrations!
- Don’t forget presents for the woofer! – If your dog is anything like Bodhi, he starts wondering where his present is when it comes to Christmas morning! I’ll always get him a few treats – a new toy and some yummy biscuits are usually under the tree for him (although he always finds his presents way before Christmas!) I always get him a dog stocking too, it wouldn’t be fair otherwise, would it?
- Festive foliage – As well as toxic foods, there are some plants that are common in the house that you might want to keep your dog away from. Ivy can cause stomach upset, holly is low toxicity (but prickly!) and poinsettia can cause vomiting. (Best to keep the festive foliage out of reach…)
- Be kind to the Postman – During Christmas there’s often a lot of deliveries coming to the door. If you’re dog is the barky or nervous kind you might consider getting packages delivered to an alternate location (such as a workplace) or popping your dog in a room away from the front door.
- Try and keep to a routine – Dogs love their routine, so I always try and keep Bodhi’s routine even when it’s the Christmas holidays to ensure he stays comfortable and doesn’t get stressed. This means even when I’m full of Quality Street and pigs in blankets, he always gets his morning walk (and it blows the cobwebs away!)
- Keep calm! – This might sound like a silly one, but dogs can sense anxiety and stress in humans, and it can rub off on them if they sense you are in a flap. If you’re having a particularly stressful time (and wow, can Christmas be stressful), I hugely suggest giving your dog a big hug, glugging some Bucks Fizz or hiding away and putting Elf on. Enjoy the Christmas period and I’m sure your doggy will also have the most wonderful time (especially if there’s a squeaky toy and a dog chew under the tree…)
Are you sharing Christmas with a doggy? Do you have any other tips for preparing?