FINALLY WE GET TO HAVE A REALLLL CHRISTMAS! But what does this mean for our daxies?
Ahead of the live I will be doing on my facebook page on 5th December I wanted to raise a few things you may need to think about ahead of Christmas.
I am always saying prepare your dogs for any situation so when it comes, it'll be easy for them. But how do we do that for Christmas? I mean, its once a year? Here's some tips:
Let them be present and watch you put it up. Give them a really nice chew on their bed so they can calmly observe the very strange human ritual of a tree coming into the house. Humans beware......how do they know this tree doesn't need marking as their own? Particularly the real ones? Well, quite simply, they don't! Micromanage them for a while and refocus them elsewhere at any signs of circling or sniffing around the tree. Don't be scared to use a barrier around the tree, you can use a fire guard, or even a lightweight rabbit pen......we don't want them thinking all those pressies are for them remember!
Gifts. Remember as a rule things on the floor are fair game. They have no way to differentiate between pressies with wrapping or that cardboard box you let them chew. Give them a chance. Section things off and help them! They aren't being naughty.....we are.....pay particular attention to all those lovely Christmas delights that they will be drawn to, Food, candles, soft toys etc.
Plants, Who knew so many Christmas plants were toxic to dogs. Here's a list. If your dogs ingest any I strongly urge you to contact your vet.
Poinsettia is a type of euphorbia (a family of plants known to be poisonous), the effects of this particular plant are usually only mild. Its milky white sap is an irritant that can cause dogs to dribble, be sick or sometimes have diarrhoea. Although these effects are usually only mild, it’s still best to keep these colourful festive plant out of paws reach.
Holly - All parts of the holly bush do contain a poisonous chemical, but it usually only causes irritation in the mouth, vomiting or diarrhoea. The spikes from the leaves could cause some nasty scratches and pricks, so it’s best to keep this plant away from your dog. Remember every dog is different and sensitivities will vary.
Mistletoe is generally considered to be of low toxicity but after ingestion may develop drooling, a tummy ache, be sick or have diarrhoea. A few rare cases have shown signs of being wobbly on their feet, tremors or fits.
Ivy can cause a tummy upset, while contact with the skin can cause severe irritation or allergic contact dermatitis.
Potpourri is made up of a number of dried plants and flowers. Potpourri usually includes harder items, like pine cones or bark, and these could get stuck in your dog's throat, cause breathing difficulties or cause a blockage in their gut. Signs of an obstruction may include being sick, being tired, your dog being off their food, not pooing or finding it difficult to do so.
Most species of Christmas tree are of low toxicity, but oils from the needles may be irritating to the mouth and stomach, causing excessive dribbling, vomiting and diarrhoea if chewed. Needles from these trees are sharp and could cause physical injury in your dog’s mouth and throat.
If your dog ingests anything that it shouldn't, especially if they show any of the above signs, please contact your vet immediately!
What about food?
This image from PDSA is great!
Adding to that list:
Chews with loads of colourants
What can you give them instead?
Buy some safe, natural chews for them. Canine Raw (https://canineraw.co.uk/) do a fabulous range of natural chews. Spesh has personally sampled their range!
Buy them a few new toys to rotate over those busy days. Remember play excites them, try and give them something calming after like a licky mat or snuffle mat to help them find the calm.
Visiting family? Get a soft material crate (if they won't chew their way out and are crate happy as a rule) to give them a bolt hole. Ask the family if there is somewhere quiet you can put it to give them some time to chill away from the carnage of Christmas day.
Take them on a lovely walk, a new walk will tire them more as there are new experiences and smells to explore. Make sure you are familiar with local bylaws, roads etc.
Puzzle games and fun feeders. Utilise them, don't just use one, use several to really give them something to do.
We all want to give them something extra special at Christmas, and if your dogs tummy can take the left overs, as long as they are dog friendly a small amount won't hurt. Just remember a lot of the foods are very rich and may lead to a bit of a sore tummy.
Make them their own cakes! Yep you heard right! I'm no baker, and thankfully mine aren't too fussy......they love a home made liver cake or sardine cake. Or even my own dachshund meatloaf, (the tripe one is gross, be warned!)
Ok what about the big issues?
Going to peoples houses? Visitors coming over? Children?
Well, you've got a few weeks to prepare. If your dogs are scared of these things you've not really got enough time to change the way they feel. A lot will be management.
Do they have to go with you? If they do can you create a safe environment for them? Utilise crate training. Use the lead so they are with you and you aren't worried about them bolting out of the door. Ask people to ignore them. Take copious amounts of treats so you can help them make a positive association with the scary things whilst all humans have clear instructions to ignore them completely
If they are excitable, give them plenty of opportunities to have a break. Ask people to greet them calmly (so you don't have to deal with the glee wees)!
One thing that terrifies me at this time of year is that many visitors don't have dogs, and may pop out to the car and leave the door open. The number of dogs escaping at this time of year is scary! Please don't expect visitors to remember, you need to watch them, make sure they are always supervised, and have no access to the outside world unless you are with them. If you are having visitors or visiting family I'd pop their collar and tags on. Minimum legal requirements are contact name and address. I'd pop your mobile number and your vets number on too. Remember to supervise them, collars can get caught on things. Cat collars have a quick release, so maybe one of them if you're not supervising, and a normal one for walks etc. Its worth noting the local vets number just in case you need them and their out of hours policy.
Children. Remember they are going to be sooooooo hyper, dog bites to children also rise at this time of year. Remember to give your dogs space, the children clear instructions. But, remember, kids are kids they may not be able to remember, or excitement just makes them forget. Similarly dogs are dogs, if they are hangry, tired or over excited they can lose control. Sofa's their beds, the kitchen and the front door areas are often hot spot zones, so do try and create some calm here. If the dogs are asleep, the children mustn't go to them. IF they are eating or they have a chew......same applies. Depending on the age of the children, tap into their imagination. IF the daxie is in the crate they have an invisibility cloak that makes the whole area around them disappear, you cannot go past x or y. Take a few football cones to create a visible "invisible" barrier to really give them a hand. Sounds nuts I know, but it helps.
If your dogs like children, why not get them to teach them a few new simple tricks? A constructive and pleasant way of them interacting calmly with the dogs. They all have little legs s and children doing training is just wonderful to watch. Remember to supervise them.
There are loads more things we need to consider:
Boxing day walks,
very merry people
The families non k9 critters
But ultimately plan ahead. Break it all down and teach your daxies what you need them to do........BEFORE YOU NEED IT!
See you all on the live on 5th December - https://www.facebook.com/perfectlypolitedachshunds
(These fab pics are by TRF's amazingly talented Kelly Snares, she always has a special outfit up her sleeve.......might try and get Chelly and Spesh to compete with her this year, as they've got the crowds hearts)