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  • Writer's pictureSpanish Water Dog Club

Get Your SWD Christmas Ready!!

In this months blog our resident dog behaviourist Ainsley Proctor gives us some insightful tips to help us get our curly coated friends ready for the festive season.

Christmas is just round the corner and I am certainly putting up decorations earlier this year than I ever have.

Christmas decorations, presents and dogs can present (😉) some challenges to be aware of.

Christmas trees

Real trees are great but watch out for those needles – they can cause corneal scratches if your dog runs into the tree and the dropped needles can make their way into those paws, just like grass seeds, so hoovering up regularly helps.

If it is your puppy’s first Christmas, I recommend a pen around the tree to help them learn to ignore the tree. Those baubles look like fun balls and I have seen puppies try to play with them!!! I have always bought cheap baubles for the first Christmas so I can teach my puppy to leave them alone safely.

For those of us with Spanish Water Dogs with tails, wagging too close can cause tree decorations to go flying!!! So just be mindful of where you set up that tree and put your favourite breakable decorations higher up!!!!

Presents under the tree

Be careful what you wrap up and put under the tree. Your dog’s sense of smell is their strongest sense – it is the first one they are born with (they are blind and deaf at birth but they can smell) – so boxes of chocolates can be smelt out!!! Any presents from others, do ask if any are food before you put them under the tree, that’s caught me out in the past!!!

Christmas cake and Mince pies

Raisins are poisonous to our dogs so being mindful not to leave these where your dog might be an opportunist if you have one of those! If your dog does eat any, then you need to contact your vet straight away.

Plants at Christmas

Poinsettias, mistletoe and holly are all poisonous to our dogs if they ingest them. How bad depends on how much they eat, but again, contact your vet if this happens. If you have these in your home at Christmas, put them up high out of the way of curious puppies/dogs so that they can’t get to them.

Although we are all going to have a very different Christmas this year than normal, there are still some changes to think about for your dogs:

- Our routine changes. If you have a predictable routine, your dog might struggle. This would look like jumping, biting, not sleeping, barking at things they wouldn’t normally. If they are doing any of these, it is likely they need some time on their own to sleep – use their crate, their bed or a different room, give them a licky mat, stuffed kong and leave them to it. Once it’s finished, it should help them go to sleep.

- If you are cutting walks short, then add mental stimulation. This is easy to do. If you feed dry food, you can scatter their dry food in the garden or on the kitchen floor. You could use the boxes any deliveries come in, scrunch up paper and put it in the box then sprinkle their dry food in it and leave them to it, you could also use a snuffle mat. If you feed wet or raw food, a licky mat or stuffed kong is a great way to add mental stimulation.

- Playing games and getting excited will also excite your dog. To help them, back to using their crate, bed or safe space with something to occupy them so it doesn’t get them over excited, jumpy and bitey!

Wishing you a safe, happy Christmas

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