Christmas and the New Year period can be a wonderful time of the year for most of us, but with a lot of forbidden foods and decorations within reach, it can be a very busy time for veterinary practices around the country!

The experts at Dogs Trust have put together some suggestions to ensure your dog enjoys a happy and healthy Christmas time …

While you’re gift-wrapping, it’s probably best if your dog is in another room enjoying a tasty, chewy treat.

Wrapping paper and string are very easy to get hold of and can cause severe intestinal issues if swallowed.

Also, nobody wants dog hair stuck to the tape on their Christmas presents!

When decorating your tree, try not to use glass decorations, and keep tinsel up high and away from your dog.

Make sure to clean up tree needles to protect those paws and ensure your dog doesn’t chew holly, mistletoe and yew as they are poisonous.

If you are having guests over, try and stick to your normal daily routine and ensure your dog is walked and fed at the usual time.

Chances are he will be nice and relaxed when people arrive and might even enjoy a little snooze.

If your dog gets giddy or excitable when friends and family visit, help calm him by distracting him with a long-lasting tasty treat, such as a frozen Kong or K9 Connectables.

If children are visiting and your dog is not used to kids, or they are not used to dogs, have a chat with the family beforehand to make sure the children understand not to approach your dog if he is eating or sleeping.

It may also be an idea to create a nice quiet and comfortable area with fresh water that only the dog is allowed to go to, so he can remove himself to if he’s finding the experience too stressful.

He will no doubt let you know when he’s ready to re-join the action!

Most of us like to indulge over Christmas and, of course, so do our dogs, but you need to make sure they stick to dog-friendly treats.

Chocolate, grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts and alcohol are toxic to dogs, and rich fatty foods can cause serious damage.

Although it’s really tempting to give your dog the bone from the Christmas meat, they are likely to splinter and cause internal damage.

Remember to add your local veterinary practice’s out-of-hours number to your phone, just in case you have a veterinary emergency outside of their opening hours.

Most importantly – don’t forget to spend quality time with your dog during the busy festive period and, of course, to have lots of fun together!