Christmas is for children, young and old. It is the young ones that Day 55 focuses on. Children love dogs. And why not? They look just like their stuff toys in many cases. They have lovely soft coats to touch. Beautiful big eyes like that of another child. Dogs generally enjoy the attention children provide and think they are wonderful beings. Children love to hug dogs and give them big kisses to show their love, just like they do to Mommy & Daddy, or their stuffed toy.
What is key when planning for the holidays is to be aware of few facts that a scientifically proven:
See Day 56 Tips on the Importance of Nutrition
As you begin to think about what you will serve for this year's holiday feast, it is also an ideal time to re-visit your dog's nutrition and feeding habits. Nutrition and Behaviour go hand-in-hand, and many do not realize the link. Imagine the last time you were really hungry, and had a dip in blood sugar and you had to attend a loud, boisterous party. How would you feel?. Likely not very well or equipped to handle it. The same goes for your Best Friend.
Some dogs benefit greatly from eating many small meals during the day to help even out blood sugar levels. It is especially meaningful to adolescent dogs between 6 - 18 month who are also experiencing hormonal surges. Here's how to split your Dogs food intake to smaller meals more often. Divide their total quantity of food you provide during the day by 5. Then, space the feeding every 2-3 hours. Another alternative is to split your total dog feed for the day into three helpings; breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Then, use carrots or sliced apple (no seeds please) as snacks.
If your dog eats very fast, you can consider investing in a slow-feed dog bowl. There is significant scientific evidence that shows digestive benefits when a dog eats more slowly, and it allows them to feel fuller longer.
Another consideration is to plan for a nutritional health check once a year to review if your dog's food is still the best healthy option for your budget. Many small boutique manufacturers are now offering better quality dog food for a good price. If you are fortunate enough to have a Dog Nutritionist close by, consult with them to ensure you have the best nutritional benefits for your dog's body, breed, age and exercise level. We recommend @HarrowPets, located on the Main St. in Huntsville, and ask for Tara for a consultation.
Homemade cookies are a great way to show your Dog you care over the holidays - check out our Christmas Dog Cookie Exchange event coming up on Dec. 3rd and create a wonderful holiday memory with your Best Friend. If you are purchasing cookies for gift-giving there are several bakeries in Huntsville, Ontario that deliver an excellent ingredient list for delicious and nutritious treats. We suggest trying Granny Lyn's, who is a Canine Connoisseur.
See Day 57 Tips on Planning for Joyous Explosions
It is 57 days before Christmas joyously explodes all over the living room floor with paper and bows, little toys and big toys, flutes and guitars, and lots of cookies, candies and treats. Time allows us to consider all of this fun through the eyes of our family dog and take some action to help provide a great holiday season for your best friend.
A few things you want to watch out for that are harmful to dogs include:
Set up plastic baskets to help children and adults put their toys in after opening. If they want to take one out to play with them, do so away from the dog, where there is no chance of him gobbling up the little solider's laser gun. Get down to the eye level of your dog and determine where your snack dishes will be set out. Is there easy access to the bowls? If yes, move them up higher or set up a snack bar on the table for people to fill up a small plate with their favorites. Let your guests know before they arrive that the dog is not to be fed from the table, or from their plates. I like to say my dogs are allergic to certain food ingredients to ensure my heedings are taken seriously. Also plan for large garbage bags before present unwrapping occurs so that strings and ribbons can immediately be placed securely away to avoid Fido gobbling up something that will take surgery to remove.
Check in tomorrow for another tip, and wishing all you and yours the happiest of holidays!
See Day 58 Tips on Getting in Great Shape
It's 58 days to Christmas, when noise and stress increase in the household. Many dogs react to the holidays with excessive barking or whining, destruction, and breaking house-rules.
A great way to keep your dog calm is to help him get into good shape. Just like humans, dogs manage stress better with a strong exercise plan introduced early and set as a routine before the holiday season begins. Start today by increasing exercise slowly by 5 mins. a day for a week period watching your dog to determine their enjoyment. Exercise should be fun, not exhausting. Dogs who are over-exercised means we have introduced that same stress we are trying to avoid. If your dog is not already fit, speak to your Vet first before starting your exercise program.
A few fun exercises you may not have done before include:
See Day 59 Tip on Calming Strategies
Day 59 Tip - Introduce Calming Strategies
With 59-Days before Christmas it is the perfect time to help your dog or cat learn to calm themselves. Teaching them how to settle is as simple as watching for when they do it naturally, and then praising them, using a clicker, noise or word like 'relax'. Do this for the next three to four weeks. Once the dog knows you enjoy them relaxing, you can in turn ask them for the behaviour, by using the clicker, noise or the word 'relax'.
If you may have visiting dogs, cats or young children, a dog may not know when or how to relax and turn off, so embedding this behaviour early will help to prepare your dog for the holidays.
See Day 6o Tip on Routines
aIt is two-months before Christmas and the stores have all begun to focus on the season of goodwill and cheer. As we await the first, or for some, second snowfall, and begin negotiating dates and times to see old friends and family, sixty days provides enough time to also think about our dog, cats and other four-legged buddies over the season.
Every day for the next 59 days until the big day, we will be providing tips to help you plan Holiday Pet Care and provide an enriched environment during this hectic time of year.
Day 60 Tip - Routine:
Pets love their routines and disruptions can cause confusion, stress and possibly behaviour issues. Take a moment and consider if your current routine, well-loved by your dog or cat, is going to be impacted. If it is, you have enough time to consider setting a new routine which better accommodates visitors. For example, if you walk your dog every morning at 9 a.m., but visitors are likely to disrupt this period, now is the time to slowly shift your dog's walk to earlier in the morning. It is more important than you think. Pets rely on their 'one-on-one' time with you to keep them steady, calm and happy. If you find the idea of getting up earlier a horrible thought, you can ask for help with a local Pet Care partner. They are likely to be able to reserve you a Pet Sitter or Dog Walker over the holidays to meet your plans. If you do decide to use help, make sure you plan ahead and book early, as many of the best Pet Care Facilities fill up quickly with reservations.
Sally Gutteridge's recent blog "Don't Shock The Dog" makes a compelling point on why shock collars do not work.
Well worth the read to anyone experiencing behaviour problems and believing their may be a short root to fixing issues using force.
Click on the picture below to read her blog
'Sparky' Smith is a Canine Behaviorist and Practioner, educated through the International School for Canine Psychology & Behaviour, earning her ISCP.DIP.CANINE.PRAC.