There are a million reasons to think this is the best time of the year. To begin with, Christmas is at hand, and Santa’s ‘Naughty list’ is ready for this year. I am 100% sure, my dogs are going to top that list. Do they even care? Probably, they don’t, as they always take advantage of being Santa’s favourite elves. Interestingly, they do know it’s Christmas. Yes, it may sound bizarre, but dogs are just as excited for Christmas as you are. Want to know how? Grab your mug of hot chocolate with marshmallows and keep reading Dogs at Christmas.
“It’s Christmas in the heart, that puts Christmas in the air.”
1. Dogs at Christmas
Dogs love to be at the heart of every family gathering and celebration. Your dog picks up on the excitement and doesn’t want to be left out. Well, most dogs thrive on the chaos of Christmas and love the festivities as much as we do. There are a lot of reasons why:
- Family: Christmas-time means there are more people around to shower dogs with love and affection. More people, more attention than usual. Besides, that favorite cousin or friend visiting you, may also be your dog’s favorite person. Dogs are social animals and love to meet people, especially dog-people. During Christmas season, dogs get extremely happy to see their extended human family and old friends. Typically, dogs display their excitement with unstoppable butt-wags and wet-kisses. Shake-Shake! Shake-Shake! Slurp!
- Presents: Gifts are a part of Christmas culture, and in the case of dogs, they love the giver more than the gifts. You can gift a dog the most beautiful ball, bed or bowl, yet nothing can beat the happiness that comes from playing with those empty cardboard boxes and gift wraps. What’s more fun, you scrunching up the wrappings into balls and throwing it for them. Such goof bums, I know!
- Snow: Usually, the holiday season merges with the beginning of Winter, so there’s a fairly good chance it will snow in many parts of certain countries. Significantly, there are certain dog breeds that have been waiting all year for those silently tempting snowflakes to hit the ground. Dogs love snow as it’s cool and offers a different level of fun. “Do you wanna build a snowman? C’mon let’s go and play!”
- Festive Foods: Because, basically Christmas means cakes & turkey. Damn, right! From Christmas Eve suppers to traditional Christmas Season dinners, exclusively, there are only feasts and fiestas. Dogs at Christmas go crazy with their dazzling sense of smell, as more food means more opportunities for snacking. The drooling says it all. With way more food in the house than the rest of the year, dogs simply lose control. With their salivary glands melting into their mouths, they gaze into plates with food and devour it with their eyes in hopeful anticipation. At the sight and mention of food, they dare to take a step ahead and melt your heart with their ‘Puss in Boots’ eyes. Spoilt brats!
- Decorations: What’s this giant shiny sock for? Let’s chew on it to find out. Give that to me, you naughty boy! Well, dogs may get bored of old stuff and festive decorations are like new distractions for them. Since dogs are playful and observant like 2-year-olds, they manage to discover new things around the house to keep themselves entertained. Decorations are more like new interesting toys, fun to play with. There goes the colorful lights. Come here you midget!
2. Spreading Joy
Want to add some life to your list this Christmas? How about adopting a dog? Do give it a thought. Dogs are very empathetic and charismatic animals that offer comfort when needed. Especially, if you are lonely and far from home, or missing out on the ‘holiday spirit’, adopting a dog can help reduce this feeling and improve your sense of self-worth. This way an innocent will find his forever home, and you and your new family member will have the best Christmas ever. Or else, you can be a ‘Secret Santa’ for stray dogs and fulfill their Christmas list. Food and something warm to sleep on, is all they want for Christmas.
Additionally, you can donate blankets and food to the nearest dog welfare organization or sponsor a shelter dog. Even the smallest contribution can make a solid impact in that dog’s life. Either way, saving a life will change yours, for sure. Your slightest effort will be an act of spreading joy.
3. Safety Tips for Your Dog for the Christmas Season
Definitely, dogs are a part of their family’s Christmas celebration. It’s amusing to celebrate special events with our dogs, but it’s also very important to be vigilant of their safety. Along with opportunities for fun, celebrations tend to have potential dangers for our fur buddies. Here are some safety tips you can follow to ensure your dog is safe during the festive season.
- Dangerous Foods: Chocolate must be avoided at all costs. The chemical Theobromine found in chocolates is toxic to dogs. Clearly, Dark chocolate is more poisonous. White chocolate does not contain enough Theobromine to cause poisoning, but it can pose a potential risk of pancreatitis. Even small amounts have the capacity to make your dog feel sick.
Similarly, Grapes and their dried products (like raisins and currants) are toxic to dogs. Ingesting even a small quantity can cause kidney failure in dogs. Nuts usually have a high fat content and should be avoided by dogs, but the most toxic of all are Macadamia nuts. They can cause severe vomiting, increased temperature, shivers and a rapid heartbeat in dogs. Avoid giving them food items that contain dried fruits and nuts such as Christmas pudding, cakes and pies.
Furthermore, milk and other dairy products can cause a mild tummy upset or an irritating skin allergy in many dogs. Likewise, Xylitol, an artificial sweetener used in cakes, sweets and chewing gums, can cause xylitol poisoning. The symptoms include weakness, vomiting and a lack of co-ordination, and it requires urgent veterinary attention.
Also, onions, garlic, chives and all Allium species of plants must strictly be avoided by dogs. Cooked or uncooked, these foods result in anaemia in dogs.
- Toxic Drinks: Alcohol and all carbonated drinks, including bubbly water, can have a negative effect in dogs, similar to what it does to their owners. In severe cases, there is a risk of low body temperature, low blood sugar and coma, including accidental caffeine poisoning. Dogs may help themselves to any unattended drink left lying around over Christmas, so ensure it’s always out of reach of these inquisitive tongues.
- Poisonous Plants: From the traditional Christmas tree to the Mistletoe berries, every plant bought in regard of this season may act as irritants or toxicants for your dog. The ones that cause stomach upsets and skin allergies are Ivy wreaths, Holly plants and Poinsettia, just to name a few. Dogs tend to chew or lick leaves, as it’s a natural behavior. Moreover, a new plant is all the more tempting for them. So, make sure you arrange these festive plants at unreachable heights or barricade the display area with heavy gift wrapped cartons/boxes.
- Other Hazards: There are several hazards for dogs at Christmas. Decorations made of plastic may act as serious hazards if ingested, as these can obstruct the stomach. Equally, glass decorations could pose a threat if chewed or swallowed. Especially decorative lights are something that easily catch their eyes. Be certain to keep your dog engaged in the other area, while you set up all the decorations in the house. Also, ensure that the decorative lights and other flashy items are kept out of reach of your dogs.
4. Festive Foods You Can Give Your Dog
Wondering which Christmas eateries you can give your dog as little treats, here’s a list to guide you. Providing your dog is healthy and not allergic to the following foods, these are some safe food items you can give them in very small quantities at Christmas.
- Chicken/Turkey/Lamb Meat (no bones)
- Salmon Fish (fillets)
- Scrambled egg
- Green beans
- Brussels sprouts
- Mashed potatoes
- Sweet potatoes
- Yogurt (only xylitol free, as it’s an artificial sweetener toxic to dogs)
NOTE: Giving your dog lots of new food can cause vomiting and diarrhea! So, make sure you offer your dog just a few tidbits and do not let him make a meal of it.
5. What to Gift Your Dog for Christmas
2020 has been a bad year for just about everyone, but not for your dog. These few months, you’ve been home more than ever before, you’re always down for a snuggle, and you insist on playing a zillion times a day. When the world gets crazy, the unconditional support and love you get from your dog-best-friend-forever, is sometimes the only thing that keeps you going. For many other similar reasons (well, reason or no reason), your dog deserves something special.
The ultimate gift for your dog that he will love, is you spending time with him and patiently caring for him. Nevertheless, you can consider making a DIY bed, cooking yummy treats and buying toys, personalized sweaters or adopting a dog-friend for him.
Three years ago in December, I adopted my little baby girl, Selfie, and she is the best Christmas gift I’ve ever received. Selfie was found scared, starving, cold and dirty, lying alone in bits of rags. Now, she has turned into a beautiful, friendly and very playful young girl. Selfie is a lifesaver and a caring best friend to my 12-year-old senior dog, Tuffy. She keeps him lively and young at heart. This Christmas, I hope Selfie’s story inspires you to believe – “Rescued is the best dog breed.”
“Some gifts are big, some are small, but the ones that come from the heart, are the best gifts of all.”