For most of us, our Christmas traditions are ingrained. In particular, the way in which we decorate the house isn’t questioned. You will know months in advance whether you plan to have a real or artificial tree, how the cards will be hung and what additional ornamentation your house (and possibly your garden) will wear for the festive season.
There are however certain “life changing events” (a technical term from my place of work!) that may have an impact on Christmas decorations. Whilst Christmas may be primarily for children, puppies have to be thought about more than normal at this time of year.
For his first Christmas with you there are many dangers for your puppy that you have to keep him away from, but I will concentrate on the vegetative ones here.
The first thought is that a dog puppy might be tempted to lift his leg against the tree since that is what he is probably starting to get used to outdoors (depending on quite how young he is). Assuming that the trunk is not too exposed, this may not be too much of a problem since the branches will protect it, although presents may be a different proposition.
Far more likely is that your tree will be placed in a strategic corner and your puppy will want to investigate behind the tree and will probably knock the decorations off either in his forward or backward journey (assuming there isn’t room for him to turn around). This is not a good experience for either you or him when you want your tree to stay looking at its best, so it is probably a good idea to ensure that this cannot happen.
I have to admit that over the years, I have found that it is much safer not to have a tree indoors, but that may be a solution that many find hard to tolerate. Maybe you could surround your tree with puppy panels to keep the puppy away from it, removing them during the present opening festivities?
The other key issue to be aware of is the possibility of dropped berries. If, like me, you like holly as a decoration, then toward the end of the holiday period after the sprig has been kept in the realtively hot and dry environment of a house can cause the berries to drop to the ground. Holly berries can cause stomach upsets amongst other things, so please keep a vigilant eye for berries.
More worrying, for those that can get hold of it, is Mistletoe. According to the Dog’s Trust list of poisonous plants, just a few berries can be fatal for a puppy. Maybe we should be glad that it has become less common in homes over the years.
This isn’t technically Anya’s first Christmas with us but she was a month old last year and as such, she was securely protected along with the rest of the litter for any Christmas dangers. This year is rather different. Thank goodness she has just about learnt what she is and is not allowed to play with in normal life. Now our Xmas challenge begins.
I usually put the cards up the weekend before the holidays. They go around the (unlit) fireplace, so she will be able to easily reach them. In a few days we will therefore have to start teaching her that they are not toys for her amusement. We never leave her loose in the house unattended, so should be available to reinforce the message. Luckily we have older dogs who should also be able to explain Christmas etiquette to her.
There will be no Christmas tree to tempt her and the Scandianvian lights are in the dining room. the door of which is always kept closed when she is loose. There should be no way that she can get near the holly wreath on the front door and we don’t have Mistletoe.
Hopefully everything should be safe for our puppy’s first Christmas. I hope you keep yours is safe too.