Behaviour Tip of the Month

Happy Dogs

December has begun, holidays are starting and Christmas events are in full swing!
This time of the year is a favourite for many of us, but along with the fun comes potential risks for your pets. It is important to keep their wellbeing in mind when planning your family events; to keep them healthy, happy and safe during this festive season.

With Christmas lights and decorations up, wrapping paper and presents laying around, and food spread over the table throughout the day, to our pets (especially dogs) these new items need to be investigated. Pets investigate using their mouth and could potentially chew, ingest or even choke on these items.

By putting some management strategies in place, you can stop your pet from gaining access to these potential risks and in turn reduce the need to constantly tell your pet off for getting into mischief!

Baby gates and baby pens are a fantastic way to stop dogs getting into certain rooms- like the one with the Christmas tree and presents in it. It can help keep your dog in a room or space away from the rest of the house that’s filled with festive food. Outdoor dog pens/enclosures are helpful in the backyard too.

Tethering your dog can be a way to keep your dog away from accessing food and guests during meal times, but still be part of the festivities. Ensure you practice tethering your dog in the area of choice prior to the day. Provide a comfy bed, something to chew on and position your dog as close to you as possible to help him/her settle. Holding onto them while on a lead is an alternative to this.

If your dog gets stressed with large amounts of people visiting or the loud noises of celebration, allow him/her to chill in your closed bedroom for the day. By playing calming dog music loudly in the room you will drown out the noise happening in the rest of the house.

Where ever possible, include your dog in your celebrations with their wellness being of most importance throughout the day. If having them at home is too much to juggle, pre-organise pet boarding or a day playdate at yours or their bestie’s place.

I wish you all and your pets a safe and happy Christmas!

Veterinary Nurse Kirstie Hancock is qualified in animal behaviour with her Certificate IV in Companion Animal Services through the Delta Society. She has lots of great tips and ideas when it comes to misbehaving pets. Keep an eye out for her monthly tips on our Facebook page. Also check out her own business Facebook page – Positive Paws.