Its that time of year again! While it’s easy to get caught up in the rush of it all it’s important to remember the health and safety of our furry best friends. A little bit of forward planning and awareness ensures a happy and safe holiday season for everyone!
Food is a MASSIVE part of the classic kiwi Christmas, but unfortunately many of our faves aren’t so good for our pets. Avoid feeding your dog table scraps and make sure your guests are aware of the rules. Popular Christmas foods like ham, raisins, grapes and fruit mince pies, bread, alcohol, nutmeg, cooked bones, onions, chocolate and xylitol (an artificial sweetener found in a lot of candies) are all poisonous or harmful to dogs and could result in an expensive trip to the emergency vet on Christmas Day and a terrible mess to clean up.
Ensure food is covered and kept out of reach of opportunistic pups, bin lids are securely closed, and someone is always keeping an eye on the BBQ. If you suspect your dog has consumed something they shouldn’t have, keep a close eye on them for lethargy, restlessness, tremors, elevated or abnormal heart rate, choking, vomiting or diarrhoea and call the vet straight away. Making a note of what they ate and how much can help your vet to decide a course of action - anything from monitoring, to inducing vomiting, or IV fluids.
Let’s not forget that dogs will often try to eat things that aren’t food at all. Festive plants such as poinsettia, mistletoe, holly and lilies are also poisonous and should be kept well out of reach. Sweep up any pine needles from the Christmas tree and avoid adding any chemicals to the tree water. Keep tinsel and loose ornaments up high on the tree and tuck away the electrical cords from the fairy lights. Opt for non-glass ornaments in case any fall off the tree. For a full list of foods and plants poisonous to dogs and the symptoms to watch out for check out the Pet Poison Hotline website here.
If you’re travelling over the holiday period, ensure you stop often for toilet breaks and a run around. Taking them on a good walk before travelling will help to burn off some energy and help them to relax in the car. Make sure you have enough fresh water for them (our Thirsty Dog Bottles are PERFECT for road trips) and food for the long drive and keep the car nice and cool. To reduce driver distraction, many owners will choose to crate their pups. Alternatively, our Pablo & Co Car Restraints will keep them in one spot and stop them jumping around the car.
IMPORTANT - NEVER LEAVE YOUR DOG IN THE CAR OVER SUMMER. On a 30deg day temperatures inside vehicles, even with the window cracked, can reach 39deg in less than 5 minutes and in 30 minutes it can reach 49deg. Dogs suffering from heatstroke start to heavily pant and drool excessively, leading to vomiting or collapse, brain damage and death.
Under new regulations introduced last year, dog owners can be fined $300 for leaving their dogs in hot cars. If you can’t take your dog with you wherever you’re going then it’s best to leave them at home. Even a quick trip to the shops could result in disaster. If you spot a dog in distress then call the police or SPCA straight away.
If you’re able to get to a dog suffering from heatstroke it’s important to remember that their body temperature needs to drop slowly to avoid going into shock. Move them to a shaded area immediately and give them cool but not freezing water, wrap them in a towel soaked with cool but not freezing water and rush them to the vet as soon as you can.
Even at home with our hot summer sun we need to provide them with a cool, shady place to rest with access to plenty of fresh water and avoid dressing them up for long periods. Having a busy house full with people and loud noises can be quite overwhelming for dogs. Make sure they have a calm, quiet place to escape the madness when it gets too much and explain the rules to children about leaving the pets alone when it’s time to rest.
Hot tip, the mesh bandanas from Wolves of Wellington can be used as cooling bandanas! Simply soak in cold water and pop in the freezer. Make doggy ice blocks by freezing water or bone broth (check out our Pupsicle drumstick moulds). These can also help keep them distracted while we chow down on Christmas lunch. For more summer tips check out our Summer Survival Guide.
We hope everyone has an amazing holiday break and we can’t wait to see the pics of our Pablo & Co Ugly Christmas Sweater families come through!