Lockdown has seen an unprecedented increase in puppy ownership. Many of you are first time dog owners. With the Christmas season now only weeks away, I felt it would be useful for newbie owners to have a quickie Christmas pitfalls puppy guide. I have included links to further information.

  1. Many human foods are toxic and even deadly for dogs. Chocolate, dried fruits, grapes, nuts, onions are just a few of the dangerous ingredients that can land your pup at the vet, or worse. 
  2. Christmas plants and decorations can also be very dangerous if ingested. Cabling for fairy lights and batteries are just one example of things your puppy may try to chew. See: https://www.bluecross.org.uk/pet-advice/christmas-dangers-dogs
  3. Don’t forget external hazards like anti-freeze, sometimes present in floor cleaners. It tastes like nectar to your pup but is deadly in even tiny quantities. 
  4. Think about using baby gates, a pen or crate so your puppy or dog can be given a safe area when you cannot supervise. 
  5. Remember pups need 18-20 hours’ sleep a day. Ensure your pup has a quiet area and encourage chew and settle periods. No-one wants an adrenalin charged puppy.
  6. At Christmas and other holidays, it is easy to get caught up in festivities and forget the young animal’s needs. Ensure your pup has an array of suitable edible chews, of different textures. These will keep her occupied when you are busy with presents or cooking. Remember, teething can be a protracted affair and the back teeth are still bedding in at twelve months.
  7. Take time to teach your pup problem solving games as well as letting him run around. Brain work will tire and relax your pup beautifully.
  8. Teach your pup to find things, put part of her daily food ration into toys so she can chew and snuffle for the goodies.
  9. If your pup is short-haired, do get a coat for rainy or cold days. 
  10. Be careful not to over exercise pups and young dogs in wet or slippery conditions. A bad slip can cause lasting damage to tender puppy joints.
  11. Fireworks season continues and before you know it, we’ll have New Year celebrations too. Read up about how to prepare. https://www.dogstrust.org.uk/help-advice/dog-care/fireworks
  12. Don’t forget to leave your pup on her own for short periods. In lockdown and on holidays pups soon get used to you being around all the time and will suffer when that stops. Keep up separation training. https://www.abtc.org.uk/owners/covid-19/

Have a wonderful Christmas with your puppy and let’s look forward to a better year in 2021!


This article first appeared in the December issue of SE22 Magazine.