Peanut, on how to keep your precious pup safe and happy this Christmas
Peanut has a lot of thoughts and opinions he likes to share, in particular when it comes to Christmas and how to keep him and his brothers safe (they are prone to madcap mayhem).
This year he wrote a letter to our CEO, with the request that she share it with all our other Antinol dog parents.
From Peanut to you with love this Christmas.
It’s here! It’s here! It’s here! Christmas. Treats. Playtime. FOOD. It’s finally here. And I love you. You’re the best. Always. Ever.
You’ve turned our home into a magical playground, filled with treats. And the toys. Everywhere. Have I said how much I LOVE YOU?
And IT’S BACK. The big green tree. The BEST THING. EVER. I love Christmas. All of it. Explore. Eat. Play. Nap. Run. Chew. Snooze. Treat.
I just wish it didn’t have those sneaky dangers that can cause a visit to the V.E.T (I myself have collapsed a tree AND snuck some treats I wasn’t allowed in the past).
Because NOBODY wants a V.E.T. visit when they should be trotting through the frosty fields or curled up by the fire, eating treats.
It’s why I’m putting off WALK TIME to share some things you might want to pass on to other dog parents.
The Big Green Tree
This is just the greatest thing in the world. Hundreds of twigs at our disposal. In the WARMTH. It doesn’t get any better than this.
Having a good old chew on the branches is WONDERFUL - after all, they’re just asking to be gnawed.
But did you know that if these trees are real, the natural oils can irritate our tummies when we’re having a bit of a chew.
The sharp little needles can be toxic to us if we swallow them. Not to mention sore on the way down and out!
As for artificial trees (and I speak from experience), they tend to be lighter and can fall over all too easily with a little bit of pressure from our paws, or a brush of our fur as we scamper past.
This can be scary if you’re near or underneath the tree when it crashes to the ground.
It makes a LOUD NOISE and can be heavy. Trust me. I know.
These artificial trees also have wire and plastic in their branches and are often coated in toxic materials.
If you see your pup heading for a little afternoon tree munch, steer them away.
A few tips:
- Use a heavily weighted base for your tree (real or artificial) to prevent THE BIG CRASH from happening
- Put presents for your pup under the tree at the last minute - especially any containing treats. We don’t know what patience is
- Try not to leave your tree unattended - many of us simply cannot be trusted
- TOP TIP: Bake slices of orange and attach them to low branches - we hate citrus and it works well at keeping us away
Festive Dog Toys
I LOVE all the toys and treats hanging from the tree. I think you are SO CLEVER to put it together.
You’ve chosen all my FAVOURITE THINGS and displayed them SO PERFECTLY for me.
But, as we are discovering, some of them aren’t my friends.
Remember last year when I learned to my peril that pretty glass baubles shatter too easily.
For reasons of its own, absolutely NOT because I ran past it a bit too fast, the tree fell over and lots of them fell to the ground.
I didn’t notice one had broken and I walked on it. That day there was to be no evening stroll in the woods as I ended up at the V.E.T. with a very sore paw and banned from running in the house.
Twinkling lights are so pretty they’re just asking to be played with. I always seem to end up wrapped in them.
But some of my more mischievous mates have been known to end up at the V.E.T. as the hot lights can burn our paws and eyes.
Some rather enthusiastic pups have discovered these lights can burn their mouths and put them at risk of electrocution if they chew through the wires.
Tinsel, angel hair and other stringy decorations are very real dangers for us.
Once we’ve eaten them they can cause all kinds of problems from injuries to the mouth and throat, choking, blockages in the gut and even perforated intestines.
A few tips:
- Give glass a miss and go shatterproof. Your pet and vet will thank you
- Avoid tinsel, angel hair and other string-based decorations - they go in far easier than they come out
- Arrange spinning / flickering toys further up the tree - you’re less likely to experience the sound of a tree crashing to the ground
- TOP TIP: When we’re getting enthusiastic around the tree, distract us with some high quality engaged play - I’m very partial to a game of tug of war with my giant carrot
As you know, I love, love LOVE food, it’s my slice of heaven. It’s why I sit transfixed every time you open the big grey machine filled with cold treats and can’t wait to see what comes out the hot box with all the amazing smells.
I know you talk about keeping me trim but this is MY FAVOURITE time of year for treats.
But we both know I’ve had my own misadventure, learned the hard way that there are some things we just must not be allowed to get our paws on:
Chocolate. It’s everywhere I look and it’s so tempting. Particularly those boxes with shiny silver and tiny treats - one for each day. They crackle nicely when I chew on them and smell so good.
BUT I remember you telling me that human chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine so is dangerous, and can even be lethal to us.
Chocolate is not just on the naughty list, but the nasty list.
Now as for the candy canes hanging from the tree. They are the BEES KNEES as they are great to chew. But like other sweets, they can contain a sugar-free sweetener Xylitol which is also poisonous to us.
Turkey stuffing is also hazardous to our health. It smells a-ma-zing but it contains onions and garlic which are highly toxic to us.
As are raisins, most forms of dried fruit and macadamia nuts. Christmas cake, christmas pudding and even mince pies are toxic to us if we lick, chew or ingest them.
We LOVE leftovers, but it’s best to avoid us getting our paws on them. Many of them include hidden ingredients (and sometimes mould) that are toxic as well.
A hidden danger is trussing strings around meat and turkey.
All we can smell is the meat; one minute it’s holding the meat together, the next it’s gulped and we’re back in the car on the way to the V.E.T. which means missing out on a special (dog-friendly) pudding and a post feast walk.
As for bones, please don’t hold back on these, they’re the perfect afternoon treat. But do make sure they’re raw - if they’re cooked they can splinter and injure our gut.
I probably don’t need to say this because you are THE SMARTEST PERSON in the whole world, but please make the bones size appropriate so my smaller canine companions don’t choke or swallow them.
And finally, please keep alcohol far away from us. If we see a bowl of brandy butter, or a glass of whisky cream liqueur, we may not be able to help ourselves.
Alcohol is sadly not our friend.
A few tips:
- Read this list of foods that we mustn’t be allowed to munch on,
- Ensure meat treats from leftovers do not contain any seasoning or have been in contact with other foods e.g. gravy / stuffing / onions etc.
- Avoid over-feeding and over-treating - we need to stay lithe and athletic
- TOP TIP: When you’re eating, distract us with a raw bone - it will keep us occupied and restrain us (at least a little) from attempting to steal from your table
No Christmas would be complete without the appearance of SO MANY new salads in the house.
My morning routine is running between them, checking each one out with a good sniff, lick and paw scratch to the soil, not to mention a chew to test the texture.
But some of these salads (christmas plants and flowers), should be kept far out of our reach. They are not just toxic, they are deadly.
Keep lilies, ivy, holly and mistletoe far far away. Even poinsettia and amaryllis plants. They look SO PRETTY but are highly poisonous to our canine constitutions.
Please keep us safe. You can find a helpful list of what to avoid here .
Whilst I personally LOVE my new Christmas jumper, I look SO HANDSOME and it keeps me warm now it’s SO COLD out there, I know some of my play-pups aren’t as excited as I am about wearing clothes. I can see it in their eyes when we meet in the park.
If you’re thinking of indulging your pup in some festive fashion, the trick is to DO NO HARM. Comfort and their well-being are the #1 priority.
You know your dog and their temperament, what they like and not like. Do like my human does, and follow my lead.
If they are in favour of a little dress up please consider::
- the material you choose, wool is warm but can be itchy / cotton is breathable but doesn’t dry too well
- take accurate measurements, anything too tight or too big is very uncomfortable for us (and remember, we also need to go to the bathroom!)
- make sure there are no dangers, don’t wrap a scarf too tightly or give accessories that could cause choking if swallowed.
If they will happily wear something for a quick photo or are comfortable wearing it then GREAT.
If they have a REAL need to wear extra clothes (warmth, joint and paw protection etc.) then absolutely.
But if they look upset, anxious or uncomfortable - please think twice.
Right. I can hear the sound of wellies coming out of the cupboard so I will leave you with this final note.
I know you’re going to be busier, more distracted than usual.
I know the house is going to be filled with EXCITING new people to play with.
But please don’t forget that this is our home too.
We still need our own quiet little spaces. Somewhere safe to escape all the noise.
And no matter how busy you get. We still need your attention and love.
Walks. Playtime. And of course tummy rubs.
Please help all the other humans keep their pups safe.
SO MUCH LOVE
Our CEO's cat Waffle has also penned his own note to cat parents here.