Celebrations advice

Find out how to keep your dog safe and content during the festive season.

Illustration of dogs at a NYE party

Winter is the most wonderful time of year for many. But the sights, sounds and smells of the many celebrations can be a sensory overload to your dog.

From unexpected visitors to over-zealous family members – there is a lot for your dog (and you!) to cope with. 

Help your dog prepare for the festive season

On the days you're having guests over, it's important to stick to your daily routine of mealtimes and exercise as much as possible. 

If you've kept to your normal routine, then chances are your dog will be nice and relaxed by the time they arrive. You can also help your dog to stay calm by giving them a distraction when your guests first arrive, like a long-lasting food release treat or a chew. 

If children are coming who aren't used to being around dogs (or your dog isn't used to children), have a chat with the family beforehand to make sure the children understand how to behave around dogs.

Top tip: Encourage children to be calm and not approach the dog when the dog is eating or sleeping. And remember, never leave a child alone with a dog. Find out more about how to keep children safe around dogs. 

Make sure your dog has somewhere they go for peace and quiet with a bed and fresh water when the festivities get too much.

Why not make them a doggy den at home, using items you'll find around the house? Your pup will soon return from their peaceful place when they're ready to be part of the fun again. 

It's important to ensure you and your family members know how to read your dog’s body language so you can spot signs that they might need some space from the festivities. 

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Fido-friendly festive foods 

Festive food safety infographic

Steer clear of toxic foods

Most of us like to indulge over the holidays – and so do our dogs. But it's important to make sure they stick to dog-friendly treats. 

Here are a few examples of things your dog might encounter over the festive period which are not safe for them to eat: 

  • grapes, raisins or sultanas (and wine!) 
  • chocolate – don't forget chocolate decorations on the tree and in advent calendars that are easy pickings 
  • macadamia nuts 
  • mince pies
  • Christmas pudding 
  • rich fatty foods/fat trimmings 
  • cooked bones from Christmas meats 
  • avocado 
  • onion 
  • holly berries 
  • alcohol 
  • xylitol – an artificial sweetener found in some sugar-free foods 

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