Pawsabiliity Dog Behaviour and Training
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Preparing your pet for Christmas

So you’ve been saving all year, your pet’s been very, very well behaved, and Santa’s sure to visit. But what if Fido is just too excited and can’t wait that long to open his pressies?

Christmas can be a very exciting time for pets, but it can also present many potentially dangerous situations – Out comes the Christmas tree? We hang up choccie decorations. We lay out long interesting tinsel for the puppy to run off with (and eat!). We wrap up all our parcels and leave them at the bottom of the tree. The kids are screaming. And, Great Auntie Nel phones just as we’ve taken the turkey out the oven…..

Get the picture? We’ve all heard the one about the dog eating the turkey or the chocolate liqueurs, or the puppy half swallowing the tinsel. Is it surprising that vets have a very busy time over xmas?

No matter how well behaved your pet, dogs especially, are opportunists. And given all the extra special things lying around, it’s hardly any wonder that they may well run off with something. So what can we do?

Firstly, just try to take a bit of time to think about making your Christmas-house "pet safe". How about putting the tree on a table, and the pressies off the ground. Keep the chocs well out of reach. Don’t let the toys from the crackers fall on the floor. If your dog’s scared of fireworks then is he going to react as badly to xmas crackers? Perhaps it would be nicer just to say “bang”.

Secondly – you may well think it’s a nice idea to give your pet lots of left overs from the xmas meal – after all – could you really eat one more turkey volauvent? Surely Fido could help… However, pets are accustomed to their own simple diets (most of the time!) and they simply can’t “stomach” a sudden change of food, nor the vast quantities around. So, if you must give them a treat, then a tiny spoonful of gravy on top of their normal meal will seem like heaven. Also beware of all the extra raw-hides and doggie drops in their Christmas cracker – again, too much of a good thing can cause stomach upsets. (And, never give dogs chocolate, grapes, raisins or onions).

Thirdly – think about all the excitement – will he be able to cope? How about keeping that den area you made up for fireworks night to give him a place to go where he can get some peace and quiet?

Next - most dogs love the fun and excitement of new pressies. Why not get them one of their own? This can either be something cute and fun - just for xmas - or how about something like a kong or food ball or plastic chew bone to keep them occupied whilst you're eating or entertaining? There are some great ideas on Facebook/ChistmasDogToys

And what else? Well, why not do a bit of extra positive and rewarding training with him so that he understands what leave means, or that begging at the table is not wanted? Clicker training can really speed up the learning process here.

And finally, please don’t get a pet for Christmas -  unless your holiday season is really going to be very quiet, please wait until family life has returned to normal before getting a new pet.

For further help and assistance with your dog, cat or puppy, please do not hestitate to contact us.

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