Category Archives: Christmas

How to Keep Your Dog Out of the Christmas Presents

By Tamara McRill

One of the greatest pleasures on Christmas morning is watching someone you love excitedly shred wrapping paper to get to the gift you picked out just for them. Except, of course, when that someone you love is your dog and those weren’t his presents. Nor is it Christmas yet. There’s no denying that some dogs just can’t resist the temptation of brightly wrapped packages and just have to go investigating.

So how do you keep your furry present-wrecker from getting into the gifts? Like most things canine, it depends on your dog, and one solution does not fit all. But here are some tips to try, most of which have worked for me in the past:

Reinforce Verbally and Redirect

Sometimes what should be the easiest thing to do can be the hardest. Every time your dog starts nosing around the presents, it is important to firmly tell them “no,” “stop” or whichever halting command is familiar to them. No matter how cute they look amongst the packages, don’t take the time to snap a photo or go get people to see.

Yes, I know it’s hard. I epically fail at this almost once a season. But if you don’t tell your dog no every time they get near your gifts, they will get the impression that it’s sometimes okay to go investigating. And we all know what an expensive mess that can lead to.

Not only should you verbally stop your dog when they take an interest in the presents, but you should also redirect them to do something else. Have them sit, go fetch something or any other activity. This gives them a defined course of action to take, hopefully getting their mind off of your pretty packages.

Fence the Tree

While I have had good luck (mainly in spite of myself and thanks to good dogs) with stopping and redirecting, sometimes that’s just not enough – especially if you can’t be there 24/7 to guard the gifts or you have an extremely willful dog. That’s when you have to get proactive on ways to keep your dog from the presents.

One way is to fence off the tree. Your dog can’t mess with what they can’t get to, right? Some people use baby gates around the Christmas tree for this purpose. I’m not a huge fan of how the taller ones block the tree from being seen, but there are alternatives. One is to use smaller garden fencing – decorated, of course – or run a working train track around the tree.

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Is Your Pet on Santa’s “Naughty” or “Nice” List?

By Tamara McRill

Has your pet been good enough this year to merit a Christmas gift? Or has your fur baby been bratty enough for you to consider leaving their stocking unstuffed? Since it’s the holiday season, I thought it would be fun to ask other pet owners what their dogs and cats have done this year to land them a spot on Santa’s naughty or nice list, and what their pets should expect to find under the tree. After making a list and checking it twice, here are some of the stories pet owners shared:

Small Niceties 

Many people couldn’t think of one spectacularly naughty or nice thing their pets did this year, but spoke of the small things that made them deserving of Christmas gifts. Like Laura Gill, who bragged about her Golden Retriever Nikki not barking for the past week. Anyone who is trying to teach a dog to be a little less vocal can probably appreciate the quiet time. For her good behavior, Nikki will be getting a bone for Christmas.

For Goodness’ Sake

Sometimes it takes the thoughtless behavior of us humans to point out how good our pets really are. Rissa Watkins shared this story about her dog Mocha, an Aussie Shepherd/Chow mix:

“He has been a good dog this year. Someone closed the door, blocking the doggie door. Poor Mocha cried and ran around and acted strange. This went on for a few hours. I got home and realized the door was closed and let him out. Poor boy desperately held it instead of going inside.”

Will Mocha be rewarded by Santa for his good deed? “Heck yeah, he has his own stocking,” said Rissa. “He will also be getting a new bed.”

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Be a Secret Santa for a Needy Pet this Christmas

By Tamara McRill

In my house, we’re big believers that the joy of the holidays isn’t just reserved for the special people in our lives. We like to extend the love and gift giving to their pets and even have friends that do the same for ours. But this year I’ve been thinking about those pets that don’t have the benefit of a loving circle of friends or our friends who may not be able to afford gifts for the pets they adore. Instead of feeling sad about this, I’ve decided to start a new holiday tradition. This Christmas we are going to become Secret Santas to some less fortunate pets in our community, and you can too!

Here are a few considerations and tips you can use to help out needy pets this holiday season:

Being a Secret Santa to Pets You Know

We’re no strangers to the sleuthing it takes to give the perfect gifts to needy pets that we know. It’s usually not hard to get fellow pet lovers to open up about their fur babies. Some details you may want to ask (or fish for depending on the person’s pride):

- What types of toys does your pet like to play with?
- Which toys aren’t a match for his jaws or personality?
- Is your pet supervised with toys?
- What kind of treats does your pet like best?
- Is there anything your pet needs or could use replacing?
- Does your pet have any phobias?

These questions are important, because you don’t want your being a Secret Santa to turn into a trip to the vet for the pet. The power of a dog’s jaws and how often they tear things up are crucial to the type of toys and even food dishes you consider giving as presents. Some dogs – like my chocolate lab Wuppy – have powerful chompers that destroy most dog toys. Even most of the super durable kinds. Most toys pose a choking hazard for my dog if they aren’t taken away as soon as he goes out of play mode and into destruction mode. Other dogs – and most cats – are kinder to their toys and don’t require that high level of supervision.

Finding out a pet’s phobias may seem like a strange thing to ask regarding a Christmas present, but there are actually lots of pets out there who have a strong aversion to common things. I’ve had a wonderful, but picky, white cat who wouldn’t sit on anything not – you guessed it – white. So a different color pet bed would have been a waste on her. I’ve also known dogs who were afraid of balls!

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Season’s Greetings From CANIDAE!

All of us here at the Responsible Pet Ownership Blog and CANIDAE All Natural Pet Foods would like to extend our warmest wishes to all of you and your pets for a Joyous Holiday Season and a Happy New Year!
pictured: From Left Top: Jason, Julie, Carl, Diane, Sarah, Mike. Bottom: Kristine, Johnny, Lois, Beth, “baby” Autumn

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

How to Keep Cats Out of the Christmas Tree


By Julia Williams

Christmas tree decorations come in all sizes, shapes and colors, from glittery round balls and intricate figurines, to handmade ornaments and whiskered cat faces peering out at you from inside the tree. Wait. What??

Yes, it’s true. Cats are the biggest Christmas tree ornament you will ever have. I can’t tell you how many times people have asked me for suggestions on how to keep cats out of the Christmas tree. Nearly all cat owners have a story (or two) to tell about waking up to find the Christmas tree in shambles and their precious ornaments either broken to bits or scattered throughout the house. One friend even joked about starting a 12-step support group for people whose cats ruin the Christmas tree.

I sympathize, because I can relate. I’ve had my share of knocked over Christmas trees and shattered ornaments. But here’s the thing: expecting a cat not to be infatuated with your Christmas tree is, well, just plain silly. You can’t change any creature’s instincts, let alone one whose middle name is usually “mischief.” Simply put, cats love to climb trees. All of those shiny things dangling from the branches of your Noble Fir or Blue Spruce just make it all the more enticing to a tree-loving feline.

If your kitty is smitten with your tree, you basically have two options. You can forego the tree, or you can try one of the various methods other people have tried for keeping cats out of the Christmas tree. However, you must keep in mind that every cat is different and what works for one person’s cat might not work for yours. I will give you some suggestions for things to try, but I can’t say for certain that any one of them will be the answer to your trashed-tree prayers. Try one, and if it doesn’t work, try another. Above all, please don’t be mad at the cat for doing what comes natural to them!

The first thing you should do is eliminate temptation as much as possible. Ornaments hanging on the bottom branches and cords dangling in mid-air are a cat’s invitation to play. And if you have breakable ornaments with sentimental value, leave them off the tree. If you must display them, use them on a small tree you can put up on the mantel or some other place your cat can’t get to.

Various sprays have been met with success by some cat owners. Some to try include Bitter Apple, vinegar, pink grapefruit body spray, natural citrus room spray, cranberry room spray and animal-deterrent sprays. Spray your tree thoroughly before you put on the decorations, and spray the tree skirt as well. If one of these sprays works to deter your cat, you may need to reapply it a few times a week (be sure to unplug the tree before spraying). The exception is the vinegar; your cat will smell this long after it can be detected by human noses.

Other scented things some cats find objectionable are dryer sheets, orange peels, strong-smelling bars of soap and red pepper flakes. These can be placed around the bottom of the tree, underneath the tree skirt or on the tree trunk.

Double sided sticky tape is a well known cat deterrent, but it’s not terribly practical for keeping cats out of the Christmas tree. You could, however, try putting it over the tree stand and wrapping it around the bottom of the tree trunk.

Train your cat with the “coins in a can” method. Put some pennies in an empty soda can and keep it handy when you are in the room where the tree is situated. When you see your cat start to approach the tree, shake that can with all your might. The noise startles them and may deter them from investigating the tree when you’re not in the room.

If none of these methods keep your cat out of the Christmas tree, there’s really only one thing left to do. Laugh about it. And while you are laughing, you may as well redecorate the tree, and be thankful for the mirth your kitty adds to your life – not only during the holiday season, but every day of the year!

Read more articles by Julia Williams

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Giving a Pet for Christmas? Santa Says No


By Linda Cole

Adding a pet to a home anytime during the year is great, but careful consideration should be taken before surprising your kids or anyone else with a new pet as a Christmas gift. Giving a pet for Christmas may seem like a wonderful idea at the time, but pets don’t always make good gifts. Here are five reasons why Santa says “No” to pets as Christmas presents.

No time for proper bonding

Christmas is the one of the busiest times of the year, and a new pet needs attention right away to bond with their new owner. If the bonding process is neglected during those first few days, the new puppy or kitten is more likely to form a relationship with the one who feeds them and attends to their needs instead of their intended owner. Plus, getting a pet for Christmas along with all the new toys and games Santa will leave under the tree can be overwhelming for children. Kids can quickly lose interest in a new pet after the initial surprise.

Insecurity

Giving a pet for Christmas can create an insecure pet. New puppies and kittens need to learn rules, and it’s hard to give them the attention they need in a busy home. With family and friends coming and going, a new pet may have trouble learning who is in charge. There are so many unfamiliar smells in a new pet’s environment that he may feel lost and uncomfortable. Insecurity can lead to behavioral problems later on, so it’s important to help new pets, especially puppies, learn who their pack leader is.

Other pets already in the home

Giving a pet for Christmas adds more tension to an already busy household, especially when there is no time to properly introduce a new member who most likely will not be welcomed by other pets. Dogs and cats are territorial and are not eager to share their space with a newcomer. Kittens and puppies may not understand the social hierarchy in their new family and if you don’t help a new pet learn proper socializing, the older cat or dog will give them a lesson of their own. Some little spats are to be expected, but outright aggression can leave a new pet hurt, frightened and harder to socialize with the other pets.

It’s easy to forget that a new pet is in the house

During the holidays, we generally have more food sitting around for guests to munch on. Alcoholic drinks, chocolate candy, raisins, nuts and other food items can be deadly for pets. Plus there are electrical cords to chew on and play with, tree ornaments and tinsel, all of which can be extremely dangerous to pets. An emergency trip to the vet can dampen any holiday festivities. It’s not easy keeping an eye on pets when you’re used to them in the house and even harder when the pet is new. An opened door as guests arrive can leave an exploring puppy or kitten out in the cold and lost. Refrigerator doors, cabinet doors or basement steps can all be harmful to a pet if you forget to watch out for them.

There’s an emotional connection that comes with selecting a pet

Most pet owners can’t tell you why they picked the pet they have. It may have been a look, a little yap or an outstretched paw catching an arm as a cage was passed. An emotional bond begins when you first see the dog or cat you will eventually take home. Choosing a pet is personal for most people and that’s why giving a pet for Christmas isn’t always a good idea.

If you want to give someone a pet for Christmas, a good alternative would be to buy them a gift certificate with a responsible breeder or make arrangements with a local shelter for an appointment after the holidays. This allows the person receiving your gift the opportunity and fun of picking out a new pet themselves. If you already purchased or adopted a pet, most breeders or shelters are happy to hold it until after the holidays when the new owner and pet have adequate time to properly bond. A picture of a new pet wrapped up gives someone, especially a child, something to look forward to after the holidays when life has returned to normal.

As far as I’m concerned, a pet is the best gift in the world to get. However, unless you are absolutely certain that the person receiving this heartwarming present really wants the responsibility of caring for a pet, it’s best to not give a pet as a gift. Surprises are great, but giving a pet for Christmas may be a little more of a surprise than someone was expecting, and it may not be appreciated.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.