Barking Blondes: Yuletide doggy treats, pet advent calendars and Christmas hazards
Our dogs were sent reindeer antlers in the post this week. As you will see in the picture, Molly (the miniature bull terrier) loves them. She adores to dress up. However, Matilda (the bulldog) doesn’t. She ate hers.
They also each received a yuletide stocking full of doggy treats, including chocolate substitute, novelty, edible festive crackers and beef flavoured snowmen. One of the benefits of doing a designated, canine radio show is that we are inundated with gifts. But Christmas really does seem to have come early for our already over indulged duo.
A top pet shop retailer revealed the following: that at least 75 per cent of pet owners buy gifts for the dogs while some 66 per cent of them spend more on their dog than their partner. The average spent on dogs over Christmas is £38. This pet shop have already sold more than 55,000 pet advent calendars and 3,500 reindeer jumpers for dogs, that’s 12 per cent more than last year!
Despite the recession the pet industry shows a steady growth year on year of 7.5 per cent and is worth over £4 billion in the UK. Dogs are considered a part of the family so they now get bought gifts so they are not left out on Christmas day. The irony is that dogs do not understand it’s Christmas. They love the attention of course but it is commercialism that makes us buy for a dog when they don’t really care it’s Christmas! Could our money be spent helping dogs less fortunate than our own?
Whilst Christmas may be a holy time for some of us, there are good few Christmas hazards for dogs. Think about your Christmas rose – Poinsettia – this is hugely toxic to dogs, as is a mince pie with its raisins, and Christmas cake if ready-made could contain the deadly artificial sweetener called Xylito – this can make a dog’s liver pack up in minutes. Of course Chocolate is another no-no as cocoa contains theobromine which is another deadly substance to dogs when consumed in large quantities. Sometimes even people can get an allergic reaction to it in its purest form.
Christmas decorations made out of raw hide chew must also be treated with care – raw hide can get stuck in the throat causing the dog to choke – so always supervise when your dog is playing with their Christmas chews. Watch out for cheaper Christmas plastic squeaky toys. Christmas day emergency vets are very expensive.
Our friend, the very glamorous chief executive of The Dogs Trust, Clarissa Baldwin conjured up the strap line: ‘A dog is for life not just for Christmas’. Both she and Fay Weldon, with her Go To Work on An Egg campaign are wise women. Those days of buying puppies and shoving their cute bodies into stockings are well over – or are they? Rescue centres will tell you a different story.
We support The Mayhew Animal Home in North London and along with actor Peter Egan, we will be reading a lesson at their Festive Evening tomorrow. All are welcome at St Paul’s Church, Hammersmith from 7pm. Dogs are not welcome apart from Molly and Matilda. So there will be two to pat. If you attend please come and say hello.
Finally, when you are replete and sitting round the fire on the 25th, about to watch the Queen’s speech and a member of the family jumps up and says “just out to walk the dog”. Don’t believe them. The dog may well be with them but odds are they are having a crafty fag or phoning a loved one. Another reason it’s a damn shame dogs don’t speak.
‘Barking at the Moon’ is on every Thursday from 3pm on BBC London 94.9fmTagged in: christmas, dogs, Mayhew Animal Home, pet care, pet presents, Peter Egan
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