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With all the excitement, it’s quite easy to forget about caring for puppies at Christmas
Puppies are so much fun aren’t they? They can also be hard work as anyone who has ever owned one will tell you. A new puppy in the house can be very much like having a new baby such is their need for affection, attention, feeding and protection. Toilet training starts pretty much straightaway and so does teaching basic commands, and with all that going on during the day, you would think that puppies would sleep at night – but not always!
If you have recently acquired a puppy or puppies, you may be wondering how best to prepare your pet and your home in time for Christmas. You might think, for instance, that your new best friend might be a bit afraid of all the changes that will go on in your home over the festive season: visitors and decorations, trees and presents.
Rescue dogs and particularly timid puppies often have a difficult time coping with these changes and may startle and become fearful at loud noises (such as crackers banging or fireworks going off over New Year) and so if your puppies are from a rescue centre be aware that they may find life stressful as they adjust to the changes in your home.
But most puppies will act like… well, like its Christmas. They will find the whole thing utterly exciting and interesting and want to explore absolutely every element of it. Presents beneath the tree may be unwrapped with great gusto; baubles may be batted off the tree and chased. Wires will be chewed and chocolate decorations eaten.
Puppy proofing your home helps to keep caring for puppies at Christmas that much easier
That is why it is especially important to puppy-proof your home at Christmas. Keep wires hidden and securely taped down – if you are out, then put your puppy in another room or in its crate so that he does not have access to the tree at all. Avoid chocolate decorations because all your puppy will want to do is eat them and chocolate is toxic to dogs. Carefully wrap and dispose of chicken or turkey bones to prevent your puppy from rooting through your bins for them – cooked bones splinter when eaten and can cause serious injury. Buy unbreakable baubles and take care to gather up any fallen needles to protect your puppy’s sensitive paws.
If you have been trying to establish a routine, make sure you keep up the hard work over Christmas. Routine will help your puppy to feel secure amidst all the other changes going on and also stop you from inadvertently teaching your puppy bad habits (like eating scraps from the table) that will be hard to break later on.
Puppies ought to be socialised by the people who owned their mothers, but sometimes puppies from rescue dogs can have missed that early socialisation. Rescue dogs may have been taken in by animal charities because of neglect or abuse, and their puppies may need extra care and attention to behave well. Explain to visitors that you have a new puppy and ask that they offer it space, allowing it to come to them rather than crowding around it and all petting it at once.
Then sit back, relax and enjoy Christmas with your new puppy.