Here are our five top tips to give your dog the gift of a chilled out Christmas
The baubles are dangling! The presents are intriguing! The visitors are chatting! And wow, the food is tantalizing. It’s novel, it’s exciting! Everyone is buzzing!
But how does your dog feel about it?
At this time of year there’s a lot of change in your dog’s world. There are new sights, sounds and smells in the home and their usual routine might be temporarily suspended.
It’s easy to get all wrapped up (excuse the pun!) in the festivities, but, from your dog’s point of view, it might feel a little overwhelming.
So how can we help them out and make Christmas a great experience for everyone?
Read on for our 5 top tips for a Calm Christmas
Whether visitors are something new or a regular occurrence, they can be a struggle for some dogs. And Christmas often adds that extra little bit of pressure, because we want everyone to have a good time. Maybe you’re a bit nervous because the in-laws are coming round? Or maybe a particular guest is not a dog lover (outrageous I know!) and your dog is not only inexplicably drawn to them, but also tries to convince them that they are actually adorable. Or perhaps your dog prefers their own company and makes no attempt to hide their displeasure at these unwanted intruders.
Whatever your dog’s perception, start off by setting them up for success. Wait until everyone is settled before bringing out your dog. The less excitement and movement there is around them, the more your dog will be able to cope. Maybe have your dog on the lead at first so you can limit their choices until they are more relaxed. It’s important to stop your dog from practicisng any behaviours you don’t want.
And if your dog is a bit worried by people, make sure they have lots of space, or even pop them somewhere safe with a tasty chew or K9-Calm Mat. Don’t force them to interact with visitors or take treats from them. This can be uncomfortable for your dog because they might really want the food, but at the same time they’re worried about getting close to people. Instead of making friends, this can make your dog feel more anxious.
2. Be prepared
Get started on Calm-K9 now, so you’re giving your dog the best chance to be in the right mindset before it all gets busy! Calm-K9 is a natural, dietary supplement which has been developed to enhance your dog’s brain and gut wellness. Not only that, it contains the mood-boosting ingredient L-tryptophan, meaning they will feel calmer and more able to handle all the commotion around them. And it’s so easy to use! Depending on the size of your dog, just sprinkle one or two scoops of the powder over their food.
It sounds obvious, but make sure your dog is getting enough rest. They need at least 16 hours of sleep and chill time every day to make sure they recover from the hard work of being a dog. Pop them away from all the hustle and bustle to make sure they’re getting undisturbed rest and not sleeping with one eye open, watching and waiting for the next big event. Consider using a covered crate or a separate room where they’re used to relaxing, so your dog knows it’s time for sleep and no one is tempted to wake them up!
Don’t underestimate how important this is!
If you think about it, when we’re tired, we don’t always make the best decisions and the same is true of our dogs. So, although it might seem like they want to get involved, or maybe you feel guilty about not including them, think about what’s really best for them.
And if your dog has had a particularly exciting day, consider giving them a few quiet days after, to make sure they have a chance to mentally recharge. Sometimes too many events (even fun ones) can cause the stress hormones in our dogs to increase and it can take an average of three days for them to decrease again.
Get down to your dog’s level and look around, or if you have a particularly nimble dog who thinks they’re a Moroccon tree-climbing goat, look higher up! Are there decorations, presents or types of food within reach which might not be safe? Remember dogs, especially puppies, like to investigate with their mouths! And don’t be lulled into a false sense of security. Just because they’ve never stolen food before, it doesn’t mean they never will. The odds are if they do decide to steal something, it will be something that’s not good for them. So, foods to watch out for include:
If you’re worried they’ve eaten something they shouldn’t, don’t try to make them sick because this can lead to complications. Make sure to phone your vet for advice instead. And that’s another top tip. Put your vets emergency number in your phone, so it’s ready if you need it!
5. Keep them occupied
Look for calming activities to keep your dog occupied. They will be less focused on what’s going on around them and happy to let you enjoy the next round of Monopoly, or whichever form of Christmas entertainment you and your family choose to engage in. So, instead of giving your dog their daily food in a bowl, prolong the experience by popping it in a Kong or freezing it on a K9-Calm Mat.
If you feed dry food, perhaps scatter the food around your garden for them to sniff out or use a snuffle mat.
It’s also worth having tasty, long-lasting, natural chews handy. The key is having it all prepped and ready to go for when you need it!