Anyone who has ever spent Christmas with an anxious dog knows what I am talking about.
Darcy relies on a daily routine to keep his anxiety levels low. At Christmas, the routine goes straight out of the window and his stress level elevates.
Actually, it’s not just Christmas but the whole of December, because dogs sense anticipation, excitement, and change.
Strange packages arrive, there’s a large green pointy thing where their bed used to be and suddenly the kitchen is a hub of activity and decadent smells. Children have been hyperactive since Halloween and don’t even mention the fireworks! Precious lap time is reduced whilst mum runs around like a headless turkey who has lost the sellotape and forgotten where she hid the beer trimming kit for Uncle Norman (It is NEVER a good thing to buy Christmas presents in the January sales)
I dare not tell Darcy that I’m going out for Christmas lunch, he will mope for days. However, the dog camera is placed next to his bed so that I feel as guilty as possible whilst I try to swallow my sprouts. (I only eat them at Christmas).
Then his festive walk is interrupted by people wanting to stop and pass on happy Christmas greetings (who ignore us every other day of the year).
He will not be a happy dachshund!
Hopefully, your dogs won’t feel as anxious at Christmas as Darcy does. He is a rescue dog who likes to know exactly what is happening next, who will be knocking on the door or coming down the chimney! He thinks that trees should stay firmly planted in the garden and can’t understand why mum wraps socks in paper, only for dad to take it off again!
Yes, it’s a confusing time for any dog!
Here are a few articles which may help if you will be spending Christmas with an anxious dog. This is written by someone (me) who has first-hand experience of living with a dog who, through no fault of his own, has severe problems with anxiety.
We have made significant progress with Darcy and now know what triggers his behaviour, and how to avoid it. However, he is a rescue dog and his problems are well established, so we have a long way to go.
Maybe you are dreading the sudden onset of loud fireworks at midnight on New Year’s Eve?
Or you are travelling with your dog to see relatives?
Here are loads of useful tips to help your anxious dog so that you can enjoy Christmas together.
I hope you found this helpful.
The main thing is to enjoy Christmas with your dog. Don’t give them tummy ache by spoiling them with extra treats (but a bit of extra turkey never hurt anyone!) Enjoy festive walks, extra lap time with a good film and loads of fuss from familiar visitors (ie not the Amazon delivery man!)
Thank you for reading, Happy Christmas and does anyone really like sprouts?