Dogs are part of the family, so it is only natural that you want a dog friendly holiday, and for them to be welcome too. Our blog gives you some ideas of where to holiday in the UK and what sort of holidays are out there for you.

Dogs, Christmas & Children

Blog kindly supplied by Rachael of Canine Ambitions 

Rachael & Mindy

Rachael & Mindy from Canine Ambitions & Swindon Dog Walker

Christmas is magical and exciting for us people, but it’s also really important to be aware of the risks to our dogs at this time of year. Here are a few examples to bear in mind.

Trees and decorations

So, the tree is up and has pride of place in your living room. Be careful though; your dog might see it as a new toy and you could end up with a very poorly dog and a hefty vet bill. Positioning the tree up on a table out of reach is a good idea, and may help to avoid any temptation. When you’re not around to supervise them though, it is best to pop your dog in their crate or in another room.

Furthermore, for those of you with real trees, those sharp pine needles get EVERYWHERE. I hoover around my tree regularly just to make sure my dog can walk around without getting needles stuck in her paws.


A beautifully wrapped gift under the tree is sometimes just too tempting for your dog. It’s not just a case of your presents being chewed and damaged though – your dog could swallow the wrapping paper and any small parts/food that could be bad for them. As always, if you’re not around to supervise, put your dog in another room.

Poinsettia, Holly and Ivy

We love beautifying our homes with festive foliage, but they do pose a few risks to our dogs. The poinsettia plant is mildly toxic and can cause some unpleasant symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhoea. Holly berries can also cause an upset stomach, seizures and loss of balance, while Ivy can be harmful if eaten in larger quantities.


Unfortunately, fireworks can no longer just be expected on bonfire night and around Christmas and New Year there will probably be lots. If your dog is frightened, the best thing for you to do is to just act completely normal – sit down, read a book, watch some television. Remember, if you are calm, your dog is more likely to be calm too. Explain to children that acting as normal as possible will help your dog, and explain why. Getting children involved like this is great, because if they’re encouraged to think about things from a dog’s perspective from a young age, they’ll learn how to treat animals with respect and care.

Hustle and Bustle

Christmas is a time for having the family around and it can be extremely loud and chaotic. This can really disrupt your dog and their normal routine, so it’s a good idea to have a quiet spot in the house where they can retreat to if it all gets too much. With all those people coming and going it’s also really easy to leave the front door open just long enough for your dog to get out, so make sure everyone knows to close the door straight away. The last thing you want at Christmas is a lost dog.

With all the hustle and bustle and because it’s such a busy time of year, normal routines normally go out the window. We eat at odd times, go to bed and get up at different times and spend all day pretty much sat on the sofa watching Christmas films. Certain things shouldn’t be forgotten though, such as your dog’s daily walks and mealtimes. Try to keep their routine normal, as best you can.


I don’t know about you, but I eat my own body weight in chocolate at Christmas and there’s always loads of it lying around the house during the festive period. It’s really important that you keep those sweet treats out of your dog’s reach though, because the theobromine which is in the chocolate is poisonous to dogs. Make children aware that chocolate can make the dog very poorly too, so they understand exactly why we can’t share it with them. Once they understand why, rather than simply being told not to give the dog a treat, they are usually very good.

Turkey Bones

Lots of us will be tucking into Turkey for our Christmas dinner, but please be careful to make sure that the bird is kept well out of your dog’s reach; the tiny bones of the turkey can very easily get lodged in your dog’s throat.

Children and Dogs

It’s not just about keeping our dogs safe this Christmas. Lots of us will have family over and it’s vital to make sure that visiting little ones are safe around your dog and that we avoid bites.

It’s best to sit children down and just have a chat about how we behave around dogs…

We need to be calm around the dog – no running or screaming

No teasing the dog with their food or new toys

Although they are great playmates, at certain times we’ll need to give the dog some space, especially when the children are particularly excited (unwrapping the presents is probably a good time for this). Pop the dog in another room until things calm down.

Bending over a dog and staring directly in his eyes will be seen as threatening. We respect their personal space.

Teaching visiting children the basics of dog body language is also really important, especially the ‘leave me alone’ signs…

A frightened dog’s ears will be plastered back on their head. The tail will be held very low or between the legs and will usually wag in short quick movements (make sure the children know that a wagging tail doesn’t always mean a dog is friendly), and the body will be lowered. This kind of reaction may not appear threatening so children often don’t heed the warning, perhaps explaining why fear is the most common cause of dog bites towards children.

An aggressive dog will make themselves appear larger with their body language. They will have a direct intense stare, have an alert posture, and could be growling and baring their teeth. Again, this is a warning to move away, or they may bite.

I really hope this gives you a few pointers and that you all have a very happy and safe Christmas and New Year with your family (and lovely pets).

And on behalf of Dogs Invited, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year to you and your families

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

December 17, 2013 This post was written by Categories: Dog Advice Tagged with:
No comments yet

Leave a Reply