Christmas dog safety


Christmas is such an exciting time, I especially, am a big kid when it comes to this time of year. I love seeing my sons face on Christmas morning and I really love seeing my dogs ripping the wrapping paper of their presents too. With a large family, two 12 year olds, two 6 year olds, 6 adults, 6 dogs and a partridge in a pair tree.... the atmosphere is somewhat manic.

Unfortunately amongst the chaos, without the correct safety measures accidents with dogs can happen. My Spaniels couldn't really care to much about all the excitement, however my collie feeds of this extra energy and hullabaloo and becomes slightly manic himself. Thankfully though, my dogs are all managed and supervised and the worse my collie will do is chase my nephews new remote control car.

Serious problems arise however when dogs are anxious and afraid off all this commotion, more so if they aren't used to it and the children are visiting grandchildren, for example.

Picture this..... the children are all excited about Christmas, toys and paper are everywhere, everyone is laughing and voices are loud. Fido-the dog- finds this all too much and decides to find a nice quiet spot in the hallway to calm down. All is going well until little Billy accidently launches his new ball, which lands near Fido, Billy races to the ball and goes to grab it... what happens however is he gets a bite on his arm from a very scared dog.

Scenarios like this can ruin everyone's Christmas and are unfortunately, are all to common. During the merriment, the adults had failed to see Fido's stress and because he has never had any issues with children before, the owners presumed he was safe and happy.

In order to avoid such accidents, please follow my simple safety tips which will help dogs remain calm and humans enjoying the season.

1, Make sure there is a safe place for the dog to go, away from everyone, in order to have some chill-alone time.

2, No one is to go in the area or room that has been designated to the dog-especially children.

3, Rather than shutting your dog away in another room on his own, if suitable, a stairgate can be used. This way the dog can see what's going on but isn't being crowded.

4, As hard as it may be for children, try to keep screaming, shouting and running around to a minimum.

5, If the dog is separated behind a stairgate, visiting guests and children can throw him a tasty treat in order to get some quick positive association.

6, The dog can be given a Kong or activity ball in order to keep them busy.

7, Make sure that all paper and plastic and cardboard is disposed of correctly so the dog doesn't chew on them. These could either make him choke, or worse get stuck in his digestive system.

8, Don't allow children or guests to hold or pet the dog unless he initiates contact first and even then, remember the rule of 5! Fuss for 5 seconds then leave the dog, If they want more fuss, they will come back for it.

Most importantly.... never leave your dog unattended with children and if your dog already has a fear of people and children then for safety reasons, the dog must be kept in another room with toys and tasty treats to keep him amused.

Stay safe but have a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.