Christmas is a magical time but with a puppy, it can quickly turn into a nightmare without careful planning.
You might be dreaming of family time around the tree with twinkling lights and happy cheer, but the reality is that whilst your lights are twinkling your puppy could be in the corner tinkling!
Here’s 10 tips, a gift from us, to make Christmas with a puppy less stressful
1.If you have not already established a safe space or place for your puppy to relax now is the time to start to work on that.
If you have, fantastic!
Start to introduce some short periods of time where they are in their safe space but can still see, and or hear you. Gradually build up to longer periods. Your puppy will thank you for this. The excitement at Christmas can be just too much for young pups and they can get tired quickly. Tired puppies do not make good choices and that can lead to all sorts of unwanted behaviour.
Don't let your puppy end up on Santa’s naughty list.
Set them up for success!
2.Get your Christmas cards written then take a deep dive into google. Make sure you know what is poisonous or dangerous for your puppy and plan your decorations accordingly.
The same goes for natural decorations. Holly can make your puppy very sick if they decide to take a nibble, as can mistletoe, whilst Christmas tree pines and poinsettias are only mildly toxic. Reduce your stress and check it out now. Better to check now than when you are about to take the turkey out of the oven and the puppy is throwing up in front of the tree!
3. You’ve planned your menu and picked out your treats for Christmas, but what about your Puppy?
They need their favourites too, rapid changes to puppies' diets can cause tummy upsets which can be distressing for them and you.
"Don't be the one who misses the Christmas episode of your favourite TV programme because you are stood in the garden whilst your pup poops again!"
If you order their food online what is the cut-off day for the last deliveries in December?
What about delivery times when couriers are under more pressure?
Does the company shut down between Christmas and New Year?
4. LickiMats and Kongs are great for keeping your puppy occupied and calm. Start using these now when you leave them in their safe place so that they have good associations with their downtime (always keep an eye on your puppy when they are left with items especially if you have a chewer)
You don't want to be filling Kongs as the rest of the family are unwrapping gifts. Get prepping now to save time later. Store them ready in the fridge or in the freezer for an extra-long lasting treat. For filling ideas, check out the Instagram account run by Beth @enrichingpaws
5. If you have a puppy pen or even an old playpen that you are no longer using for puppies or babies ( see tip 1) then consider popping your tree and gifts inside it instead.
This way your puppy can get used to the tree without you having the constant worry that they are making off with your favourite bauble or nibbling through the lights! With that in mind on to tip # 6.
6. Prepare the family now for puppy watching duties. Whilst everyone is busy and having fun there is always the assumption that someone else is watching the puppy but, unless someone knows that for the next 30 mins it’s their watch then things can go unnoticed, accidents can happen, even if it is just the puddle types, or chewing a pair of slippers that have just been unwrapped! How about setting a 30 mins timer on Alexa or your phone with everyone taking a turn to be Puppy Watcher?
"Alexa set a 30 minute timer"
7. Everyone likes a surprise but don't let your unwrapped gifts turn into nasty surprises.
If you receive gifts before the big day, consider asking the person who gave it to you if it contains anything that could be toxic to your puppy before placing it under the tree.
Remember your puppy doesn't need to shake and give gifts a squeeze to know what’s inside. That little nose is estimated to be 100,000 times more powerful than ours. It will sniff out those chocolates, chocolate liquers, and bath bombs both of which could prove fatal if consumed. Another useful link to save to your favourites is the chocolate Toxicity calculator
8. Still on the subject of those cute noses, do you love to fill your home with Christmas fragrances?
Candles, wax melts, essential oils, cleaning products, and even carpet sprinkles can all be purchased with Christmas aromas. It is always good to check that these are safe to use with puppies and dogs. Apart from adding to the sensory overload that your pup might be experiencing some of these fragrances can even be damaging to their health. Many essential oils, such as eucalyptus oil, tea tree oil, cinnamon, citrus, peppermint, pine, sweet birch, ylang-ylang, and wintergreen are toxic to puppies and dogs.
9. Consider allocating each family member their own ‘Gift Safe’ ok.. a sturdy cardboard box. Somewhere that they can place their gifts so that they are not as susceptible to chewing pups.
No one wants a chewed slipper or a missing sock BEFORE they have even worn them, so just in case the ‘ Puppy Watcher’ ( see tip 6) was not paying attention your new slippers will still stand half a chance.
If you want to get really fancy and organised you could decorate boxes now!
10. Finally and as I write this I really hope you don't need this information but, make a note of your vet's opening hours during the festive season.
Check if they are operating an out of hours service? Many vets outsource this to a dedicated out of hours clinic.
It is most likely that the clinic will not be in your home town so check out where it is and, consider your route to get there.
In an emergency we don't think as clearly as we do normally, it is better to be prepared and always better to be safe than sorry.
Be prepared and have a fabulous time with your puppy this Christmas. Make memories, have fun and stay safe
PS Take a look at our space-saving systems for getting ahead with the preparations and for hygienically storing your pup's food and treats in your fridge this Christmas.