“Chestnuts roasting by an open fire… Jack Frost nipping at your nose…” For many of us Christmas is a time to catch up with friends and family, to enjoy sharing gifts with loved ones and to sing familiar carols. But this busy time of year can present challenges for our dogs – routines are often disturbed, there may be an increase of visitors to the home and unfamiliar noises abound. We should also be aware of the sudden availability of things for our dogs to chew and swallow: Christmas decorations, tree lights and candles, newly wrapped presents, or even the tree itself. We often give food as gifts but please remember that chocolate is poisonous to dogs. It contains a chemical called theobromine, which if consumed is a medical emergency and can kill if eaten in large enough quantities.
Your dog may enjoy a place where he can take himself away from all the excitement, such as a blanket-covered crate. A Kong – perhaps given in his crate – can be stuffed with your dog’s usual dinner and this makes an excellent puzzle-solving toy. To stop kibble falling out fill the Kong first and place in a bowl of water for a few minutes to allow the biscuits to swell. A plug-in diffuser such as Pet Remedy, which contains a blend of naturally de-stressing oils, may also help to relax your dog during the hustle and bustle of the festivities.
If you are wondering what to buy your dog for Christmas, why not hand-bake some ‘doggie’ cookies?
120g (4.2 oz) wholegrain spelt flour
1 tbls dried cranberries (whole or chopped)
1 tbls ground flaxseed
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp powdered ginger
70g (2.5 oz) grated apple – peeled and cored
½ tbls olive oil
- Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix into a dough. Add a little water if the mixture is too dry.
- Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough until approximately ½ cm thick and cut into shapes as required – a star cutter would add an extra Christmassy feel!
- Bake at 1800 c (3500 F or gas mark 4) for approximately 20 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool.
Note: Apple pips are toxic to dogs. You should adjust your dog’s meal accordingly if feeding extra treats.
Contemplating Canines wishes you and your four legged friends a very happy Christmas and prosperous New Year, with plenty of winter walks!
A selection of hand-made biscuits is available from www.barks&bunnies.co.uk, who kindly provided the recipe for Winter Walks
If you are concerned that your dog may have eaten something inappropriate, please call your veterinary surgeon immediately. Please ensure your dog is safe to be left alone with interactive toys.
This article, along with a selection of others about behaviour and training, is available in our Dog Blog booklet. This can be purchased for £2 and is available as a paper copy or downloadable e-book. All proceeds to Irish Retriever Rescue.
If you would like to sell any copies of the Dog Blog for your rescue organisation, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.