Be #DogKind: Don't leave your pooch wishing for company this Christmas
A guest blog by Lauren Wylde, our campaigns officer.
With Christmas just around the corner, excitement and cheer fill the air. After another tough and unsettling year, Christmas is a time to appreciate and celebrate with the ones we hold nearest and dearest.
Most of us will already have plans in place to visit loved ones' go and see Father Christmas, and attend much-needed celebrations! But have you considered how your pooch will fit into your festive plans?
Every dog is different, and it's really important that we do what's best for our pooch! Some of our canine companions simply love the festive season and all that it brings: the possibility of new places, more people, and a total change of routine! If this sounds like your pooch, it's important to let them rest in between the festive fun, and always make sure their welfare needs are met.
The change in routine can cause some pups to worry
But some of our other pups prefer to stay away from the heart of our celebrations, as it can be a bit too overwhelming for them - even for some usually confident dogs. The change in routine can cause some pups to worry and become distressed, which is never on our wish list!
This may mean that leaving your pooch at home is the best option for them during this time. If your dog prefers Christmas celebrations in the 'snow-lane', it's important to remember that leaving them alone for too long could also make your precious pup feel lonely and worried.
If you are concerned that your dog may suffer a lot when left alone, and you are worried they are experiencing separation anxiety, please see our helpful #DogKind information for some woof-tastic advice and tips, and consider seeking professional advice.
How to leave your pooch without getting your tinsel in a tangle
Ideally, you should never leave your dog alone for longer than 4-hours. However, if you know that they'll be alone for 4 or more hours, it would be great to get someone your pooch knows, likes, and trusts, to pop in to spend time with your dog...
1. Asking a trusted person to be Santa's little helper
This trusted person could get involved by letting your pup out into the garden to relieve themselves, snuggling up for festive cuddles to watch some classic Christmas television, going out for a wintery walk together, or playing with your dog using their toys - whatever your pooch would appreciate to keep them company!
2. Preparing your pup to be left ho-ho-alone
Firstly, taking your dog for a good amount of exercise before leaving them is always advised. It's also best to aim to arrive home from your walkies 30 minutes before you're planning to leave them alone too.
Making sure your pooch is warm, cosy, and has a full belly before you leave is also a great idea because it will help them chill out after you've left. You know that feeling of relaxation and sleepiness you feel after having "just one more mince pie"? That's how we want your pup to feel (obviously not with a mince pie though!).
The final preparation is making sure you've let your pup go to the toilet before you leave. Remember, your pup won't know how long you're planning to be out!
3. 'Tis the season to keep them busy
During this wonderful season, it's important to give your dog some activities to do while you're gone - you can't be the only one having fun! Here are some of our sparkling suggestions to keep your dog entertained:
- Give your pup an extra special toy or bone that they only get when they are separated from you.
- Leave a tasty treat that your dog adores, like a meat-flavoured chew, or Kong stuffed with a combination of cheese and dog biscuits (a dog version of our cheese and biscuits - how festive!).
- For puzzle-loving pooches, why not leave them with a treat ball or cube brimming with dried goodies? This one provides mental stimulation too, which will help tire them out somewhat as well.
Planning an animal-friendly Christmas
It's also important to remember that although we humans often overindulge at Christmas, it's really important our dogs don't. See our helpful guide on what festive treats you can and can't feed your pooch over Christmas. Please make sure you take any treats out of your dog's daily food allowance, as this will help prevent overfeeding and obesity.
If you're concerned about leaving your pup alone over Christmas, please take a look at our paw-some guide here about teaching your dog it's ok to be left alone.
Do you want to be more #DogKind to your pooch? Find out more about our #DogKind campaign with plenty of seasonal advice.
Are you Christmas ready?
Find out more about having an animal-friendly Christmas.