Celebrating Christmas together with your dog can be a very special thing.
The joy of being together with your family and spending all day cuddling with your dog. What a great holiday that would be, right?
But, of course, with a lot of fun there comes a great responsibility to care for your dog during this holiday time.
Be sure to make all the necessary adjustments before and during Christmas time, so your dog can spend the holidays with ease. To make it happen, you need to keep your dog healthy during this time.
Does your dog understand it’s Christmas and does he enjoy it?
Dogs do not understand the principle of holidays.
They see you decorating your house, although they associate it with you cleaning the house (because it has happened before). Dogs feel that there is something different going on around them, but they’re not aware that it’s Christmas time.
At Christmas time, dogs see that guests are coming over. They feel it even before it’s happening.
That’s why you have probably seen your dog get anxious or a little bit stressed around the holidays.
If your dog is not used to having a lot of people in the house, he will probably get more stressed around Christmas.
They don’t know that it’s Christmas, but they are good at understanding patterns. So they will know it is that time of the year and will understand when it’s happening again.
So if your dog is not used to all of the Christmas madness, I suggest you prepare him in advance.
But most of the dogs love to be around people. So if your dog loves all of your family members and friends, he will enjoy this holiday.
When your family loves your dog as much as you love him then he will get the Christmas cheer on no matter what.
Who doesn’t love to be spoiled on Christmas?
Your dog will love the attention.
How to get your dog ready for Christmas?
If you have a puppy that’s great because it’s a great place to start.
But if you have a grown-up dog, don’t worry. You can easily help your dog adapt to different situations.
So, why it’s great for you to get your dog ready for Christmas?
For puppy owners, it’s easier, because puppies have no idea what to expect. You have a chance to show him that it’s a great holiday and having a lot of people in the house is a good thing.
1. Meeting new people
As for everything else, you have to make adjustments gradually. Like meeting new people, or meeting new dogs. You wouldn’t want to start with taking your dog to a concert when there are hundreds and thousands of people.
You start by introducing your dog to one person at a time.
Let your dog get used to the people around him. For starters, you can meet in a neutral environment, for example, in the park.
Arrange a meeting with your friend in the local park, where your dog feels safe. Then let your friend play with your dog and give him treats. This way your dog will understand that this person is pleasant and safe. Plus he gives him treats.
Then you add one person at a time to your meetings. Let your dog get used to them.
Another thing is that you get to train your dog’s focus on you. While you have your little socialization sessions try to get your dog’s main focus on you.
This way he will learn that no matter what, he has to be always near you.
Here’s a great video that sums up how to socialize your dog the right way.
If your dog is already used to being around a lot of people, then great. Everything you need to do is to teach your dog proper house manners when there are guests around.
2. Proper house manners
Proper house manners mean – being a calm dog when guests arrive, not jumping on them, and not begging the food by the table.
These are just a few things you have to teach your dog.
Not only for the sake of your guests (some people may not like dogs that much or they have very expensive pants or dress that you wouldn’t want your dog to destroy) but also for the sake of your dog.
When you see your dog going off when he hears every little sound in the house, or running to your guests when the door opens and jumping on them.
That’s not a very healthy state of mind for dogs.
It may seem that they are REALY happy to see everybody, but it’s not entirely true. They mainly are stressed and anxious about everything that’s happening.
You have to take that stress away from your dog.
How can you do that?
- Create rules for your dog
- Crate train your dog
- Make reference point in your house
- Practice door opening
- Practice guests coming to your house
These are just a few things you can do for your dog to become calmer and stress-free in your own house. You can read more about these things in my blog about dog anxiety.
How to celebrate Christmas with a dog? Is it safe to have a Christmas tree if you have a dog?
Celebrating Christmas is one of the happiest times of the year.
But celebrating Christmas together with a dog may be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. You just need to be aware of a few things that may not be good for your dog.
1. Be aware of Christmas tree needles
They are not that dangerous for dogs, but for those dogs who love to taste and eat everything, this might be a problem.
Tree needles are harmless until they get into your dog’s stomach.
Your dog may be ok after swallowing them, but they can start to irritate your dog’s stomach which can lead to stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.
So keep your dog away from the tree or keep an eye on him so he doesn’t swallow them.
If you’re struggling to keep your dog away from the tree, here you will find helpful tips on how to Dog Proof your Christmas tree.
2. Keep away your dog from Christmas decorations
If you are keeping all of your Christmas decorations at a safe height, then you’re safe. But if your dog can grab, chew or eat them, I would suggest you rearrange decorations.
All of your decorations are probably shiny, sparkly, or fluffy. All of these things may be interesting to your dog.
Be careful and put them higher if you can, so you wouldn’t have to make an expected visit to your vet on a Christmas day.
3. Avoid giving Christmas leftovers to your dog
We’re used to having a big meal on Christmas day. There’s usually so much food that none of us can finish everything.
So where to put the leftovers?
Some dog owners usually give all the leftovers to their dogs, but it’s super unhealthy for them to eat human food.
We tend to use spices and ingredients to make the food taste better, but those things can be toxic to dogs.
Be aware of what you give your dog to eat.
If you want more information about toxic foods for your dog, here are 5 human foods that can be lethal to your dog.
A few posts about human food and dogs:
- Can Dog Eat Pineapple? More Colorful Fruits and Vegetables For Dogs
- Can my dog eat these 10 super tasty fruits and berries?
3. Prepare your dog for the fireworks
Dogs can hear much better than humans.
Like every other sound we hear, dogs hear it almost twice as loud. Together with the loud noises, there are also flashing lights that can trigger them.
If your dog is not used to the loud noise or your dog is anxious this can only trigger their fight-or-flight mode.
Help your dog to prepare for the fireworks:
- Teach your dog how to be relaxed;
- Get your dog used to loud noises;
- Give your dog a relaxing medicine;
- Prepare your dog’s safe place inside the house.
More on how to help your dog overcome this fear you can read in my blog How to keep your dog calm during fireworks.
And if anything happens, it’s important that you know First aid for dogs: Basic Guide in First Aid and Tips How To Help Your Dog and How To Care Of A Wounded Dog.
Celebrating Christmas together with your dog can be fun and joyful if you prepare your dog for it.
You don’t have to make your life around your dog just because something can go wrong. If you prepare yourself and your dog correctly, your dog can enjoy this holiday together with you.
Most of the time accidents happen when there’s a lack of training.
So train your dog before the big party and everything will be great.