As tempting as it may seem to give a dog as a Christmas gift, Dogs Trust share their top 10 reasons why Christmas is not the best time to get a dog.
Can you believe it’s been 36 years since Dogs Trust coined their iconic slogan – “A Dog Is For Life, Not Just For Christmas”? Sadly, it is still needed as the charity continues to see an influx of dogs brought into its centres following the festive period.
1. Dogs need time to settle into a new home and bond with their owner so it is best to choose a quiet time in your life when you can dedicate spare time to doing this
2. When bringing home a new dog, it’s best to keep the first week very low key – you don’t want to frighten or overwhelm him. Christmas is a time when many friends and family descend, but this can be an added stress for your new addition so either hold back on inviting all your friends, family, work mates etc round or wait until the New Year to add a canine friend.
3. Lots of visitors and distractions can make the training process harder. Start as you mean to go on with gentle, consistent training and set ground rules that should be followed by all of the family.
4. Introduce him to his bed or indoor kennel – which you can make into a quiet, cosy den for him. It is best if this remains in one spot, which again can be difficult if you’re travelling around a lot over Christmas
5. Giving him the quiet time that he needs will be tricky over the festive period. It is important for him to learn to spend short periods alone, so that separation problems do not develop as he gets older.
6. Start socialisation as soon as he has settled in, but remember not to overwhelm him with too much too soon
7. Find a daily routine and stick to it – again Christmas is often a hectic time, sometimes involving plenty of travelling so this can be a difficult time to settle him in
8. Give dogs the time and space that they need to settle in, some will take to a new home like a duck to water, for others it might take longer. Patience is key.
9. Dogs Trust doesn’t advocate feeding dog’s human food, but ultimately at this time of year the temptation is to share your Christmas treats with your four-legged friend is even greater. Feeding your dog human food can have dire consequences such as vomiting, diarrhoea and in some cases require hospitalisation or even surgery.
10. Dangerous foods for dogs include dates, grapes, mince pies, raisins, Christmas pudding, alcohol, onion, raw potato (green), turkey bones and chocolate (particularly dark chocolate). Dogs Trust would always encourage anyone wanting to share their festive nibbles to instead offer them doggie friendly treats that have all the fun but without the possible health repercussions.
If you are interested in rescuing a dog from Dogs Trust or want to donate to their Christmas appeal, please visit: dogstrust.org.uk
Image credit: @JohnDunfee