The build up to Christmas in our home is always met with a mixture of excitement, fun and anticipation set to the soundtrack of a Spotify Christmas playlist. It begins late November, 23rd to be exact, and lasts, well, until Christmas.
As with all things in most homes, a to-do list is crucial for planning. I mean, what would happen if we forgot the all important Brussels sprouts or if we had only three selections of Christmas chocolates to hand?
Using my to-do list below, let K9 Magazine guide you through all of the things you need to be aware of to keep Christmas fun and safe for your pet this year.
Job 1 - Location, location, location
Like most people, exactly what I need to plan for will be dictated by where we're spending Christmas day. If we're hosting then the list expands, if we're venturing afield to spend the day with family, it's our waistbands only that expand.
Except for the last two years, we've always spent the day with family at my husband's family home. It was brilliant. Only now as we host and I cook do I realise just how much work goes into it.
Before, the most I needed to think was - must remember presents and must remember Mia, my oldest Rottweiler's, Christmas outfit. She always used to burst in announcing her, and our, arrival in a red sweater normally greeting any food in the kitchen before people. It's definitely a 'Mia memory' we all have.
Approaching 11 years old now, she generally reserves her energy for food-related shenanigans so who knows, maybe another memory will be created this year with or without bustling downstairs on Christmas morning.
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Job 2 - Time to decorate
Once where we're spending Christmas day has been established, the next job on the to-do list is to prepare the decorations. Do we need anything new? Did any of the dogs (or cat) wreck anything last year? Did I throw the lights out in a tantrum after they wouldn't fit back into their box?
The answers to these questions were - yes, yes and yes as I discovered.
We've only ever had a real tree one year when we had sensible pets (Chloe, pictured above and Mia formed our sensible pet tribe) and knew they wouldn't sniff, lick or touch the tree. I wouldn't risk it with our current gang which includes our cat, Catface, who changes from mellow to mental in the blink of an eye and three dogs, Christopher, Danny and Mia.
The boys are young and similarly to the cat can change from mellow to mental at the drop of a hat, nearby barking dog or knock at the door (you get the picture). Mia is the sensible and most predictable one of the gang, the most damage she'd do is tilt her head under the tree while sleeping upside down.
So far our artificial tree has been lucky to escape the attention of our cat. She mainly uses as a little den to spy from - which is quite lucky really because my youngest dog, Christopher, who is just over two years old is part-Rottweiler and part-cat, loves to copy both her and Mia.
However channelling his boy spirit, along with Danny my 4 and a bit year old Rottweiler cross, I remembered while checking what I had versus what I needed, that the boys would regularly walk in, sniff the branches then disappear. Very suspicious behaviour which very nearly tempted me to don a detective hat and coat and spy from afar what was going on when they thought no one was watching.
Something I definitely need to keep an eye on this year to find out what is going on.
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Job 3 - Time for Presents
I must admit I love to shop. I spend ages researching what to buy for friends and family (trying not to fall in love with the items myself) and my pets are very lucky throughout the year because they get to review lots of treats, food, gadgets and gizmos for K9 Magazine.
Christopher, pictured above, and Danny, pictured below, love anything toy or play related, as you can see.
But this year we've found what I know is Mia's most treasured possession - her Petzi treat cam. It really is her favourite thing in the whole world. So much so that's she's built a new life motto around it - 'spend calories only to get calories'. She's always been conservative with her energy but she now takes it to a whole new level sometimes only coming when called if she hears the Petzi jingle.
Job 4 - Preparing for Christmas lunch
This year we're spending Christmas at home and have our in-laws joining us so Christmas lunch and all that entails falls to me. I'm an awful cook so spend as much time researching recipes and ways to avoid 'ruining Christmas' with a spoilt lunch as possible. Last year I discovered the wonders of slow cooking so will invariably turn to my slow-cooking saviour this year.
Christmas lunch for pets can be a tricky time to navigate too.
All too often we want our pets, as part of our family, to join in with us and this includes special occasions such as Christmas, but there are pitfalls throughout which pose a serious risk.
From the centrepiece turkey to onions in gravy or stuffing, raisins in Christmas puddings and chocolate. If ingested any one of these items could cause your dog to have a seriously bad reaction and should be avoided at all costs.
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Job 5 - Relax, have fun & create lasting memories
This I can do and with it draws my to-do list to a close.
Whatever you are doing, wherever you are spending Christmas from all at K9 Magazine we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.