Doggy decorum
Mind your pees and paws this Christmas
A-Z of festive best behaviour by Jo Cooper

Antlers - Some humans think it's funny to dress up us dogs as reindeer. Only put up with it long enough to get the biscuit reward.

Baubles - Those shiny things hanging from the tree may look like your tennis ball but, trust me, they hurt if you crunch them.

Christmas tree - By all means sniff it (carefully, as it can be a bit spiky...), but DON'T pee on it.

Designer gifts - Try not to look too disappointed when you rip the wrapping off what you thought was a gigantic box of dog biscuits and it turns out to be some so-called designer dog bed instead.

Elderly relatives - Don't make off with the stick Granny uses to get around. Remember, say 'NO' to sticks.

Father Christmas - If a large chap with a white beard emerges from the chimney, it's OK, don't bite him, he's not dangerous.

Grumpy owners - Christmas can be a stressful time for humans so bear with them. Try not to get under their feet. And don't run off with the roll of wrapping paper.

Humping - That visiting child clutching the plush new teddy bear will not appreciate you humping her Christmas present. Stick to the cushions on the sofa.

Jumping up - Not generally a good idea when the humans are wearing their best outfits. For some reason, they tend to get a bit tetchy.

Kisses - Not all visitors appreciate sloppy, wet kisses either. If you want attention (and treats), do your best sit and offer a friendly paw.

Letting off - Try to be discreet if your turkey dinner makes you a bit windy. Just glare at an elderly relative in disgust and you'll probably get away with it.

Moggies - Christmas is supposed to be a time of goodwill to all, so be civil to next door's cat. One day won't hurt.

New Year resolutions - Making these short-lived promises is a favourite human hobby. 'More walks' is always popular and it's up to you to make sure they stick to it. But don't panic if they swear 'fewer biscuits' instead - that one never lasts.

Opportunities - Unattended plates, sweet wrappers, tinsel hanging tantalisingly off the tree... there will be plenty to keep you busy, but do remember some things are dangerous, particularly human chocolate.

Presents - Incredibly, NOT everything under the tree is for us dogs, so resist the temptation to rip all the presents apart on Christmas Eve.

Respect your owners - You will see them at their worst after the neighbour's Christmas party, but remember who puts food in your bowl.

Snowmen - Do not wee on them; it makes them melt and it will upset the grandchildren.

Turkey sandwiches - There will be plenty of these available on Boxing Day but helping yourself to the buffet table is a no-no.

Ugg boots - Every teenager wants a new pair for Christmas, so eating her old ones or hiding them in your dog bed is actually doing her a favour.

Visiting dogs - Play nicely and share your toys. Remember, you may have to visit their house next year.

Walks - Try to encourage your humans out for some exercise - it will help them cope with all that overeating.

Yellow snow - Whatever you do, don't eat it.

Zzz - Christmas can be stressful for your humans so don't wake them up if they doze off in front of Mary Poppins (again). At least that means they'll be saving their energy for our Boxing Day walk.

Serious stuff for owners
Keep an eye on your pets at Christmas. The last thing you need is an expensive trip to the vet because your dog has snaffled a whole box of Milk Tray.
  • Keep festive foods that can be poisonous to dogs - such as chocolate, macadamia nuts, dried fruits like raisins and sultanas (and anything with these in, such as Christmas pudding and Christmas cake), grapes, and sweets containing the artificial sweetener xylitol out of their reach, and warn children, including visitors, not to feed these to pets.
  • Hang baubles higher up the tree if your pet is likely to try to pull them off and play with them.
  • Don't give cooked meat carcasses to dogs. Turkey, lamb and chicken bones can splinter and cause serious internal injuries.
Courtesy Dogs Monthly magazine
For subscriptions see

Merry Christmas