Dog sitting on sofa in front of a Christmas Tree

Tips To Keep Your Dog Happy This Christmas

When discussing the festive period and dogs, our minds usually jump to the potential dangers that trees, decorations, and food can pose.
Often, the most significant threat is the sheer busyness of the holiday season itself.

For dogs, Christmas is a strange time of year.

As humans, it can be easy to get wrapped up in the hecticness of Christmas shopping, wrapping presents, decorating trees, cooking festive feasts, and entertaining family and guests. Sadly, when our routines shift, our dogs are the most impacted. Any shift in pattern and surroundings can become overwhelming and stressful for our furry friends. They can become easily confused as we bring in a tree (which they can't wee on), put presents under the tree (which they can't play with), leave food out (which they can't eat) and bring in people (who may be strangers, or they may not remember). Therefore, it is vital to keep our canines' stress levels low so that they are happy and calm this holiday season.

Here are my top tips for keeping dogs calm this Christmas:

  • Keep to their routine as much as possible; predictability reduces their stress.
  • Provide calming music such as reggae or soft rock. A study conducted by the Scottish SPCA and the University of Glasgow found that reggae and soft rock are the best genres of music for reducing stress, barking and heart rates in dogs. Classical music was also found to lower stress levels; however, dogs quickly became bored with the music after a few days of hearing it.
  • Provide a haven for your dog. The sanctuary must be somewhere your dog has chosen, where they feel safe, and somewhere everyone understands to leave them alone.
  • Leave them at home if the place you visit is busy or unfamiliar – but ensure they are not alone too long.
  • Remember to include your dog in the festive celebrations by giving them their Christmas dinner and treats. Shop our Christmas Feast Recipe & our selection of tasty treats.

Finally, be your dog's voice. Dogs cannot speak for themselves; therefore, you are responsible for keeping them stress-free and happy throughout Christmas. Inform people that the choice to interact is your dog's, not theirs, and make sure children leave them alone unless your dog solicits play first.

Have a calm, enjoyable, stress-free Christmas for you and your furry friend!

Kirsten Dillon,
Animal Behaviourist & Canine Specialist