Christmas is the most sociable time of the year and your dog loves all the attention, right? Well, maybe, but how do you know when its had enough and needs rescuing?
Auckland Council Animal Management advisers say if your dog turns its head away, walks away from the attention, or looks to you while getting attention from someone else, they may be asking for help.
“While your dog may be friendly and good with people and children most of the time, sometimes it can get too much for them,” says Tracey Moore, Manager, Animal Management.
“Even though they appear not to mind being cuddled and petted—or sat on—they are often just trying to be well behaved, despite being extremely uncomfortable.”
Ms Moore advises dog owners to protect their pet at social functions.
“Give them a break from children and/or excessive excitement, even though they appear not to mind. Speak to children who may be new to your dog about how they should interact with it, and don’t leave children unattended with a dog,” she says.
For people planning to surprise family with a cute puppy for Christmas, registered responsible dog owner and Chair of Auckland’s Community Development and Safety Committee, Councillor Cathy Casey, advises caution.
“A dog is for life, not just for Christmas. It will live for 15 or so years, and you are responsible for it. However, if getting a dog is something you have thoroughly investigated and would like to commence while you are home on holiday, I urge you to visit one of our three Auckland Council animal shelters to find one that would love a home.”
“Better yet, visit in the new year when all the people who weren’t as responsible as you have realised their new puppy is more work than they anticipated and have given it up,” she says.
Advice for dog owners during the holidays
If you are going away and taking your dog, remember that it will be in a less familiar environment and may not behave as you might normally expect. If you leave it in a strange place, your dog may go looking for you, or try to find its way home. Make sure it is registered and microchipped so it can be found.
If you are going away and not taking your dog, here are a few points to remember:
· Make sure the person looking after your dog is ready for the commitment, understands your dog, and understands their responsibilities while the dog is in their care;
· Make sure the person looking after your dog has a way to contact you, and leave them with contact numbers for the council’s animal shelters and instructions to contact both you and the council if the dog goes missing— don’t wait until you are back from holiday;
· Make sure your dog is registered and microchipped before you go away, so that any council, vet clinic or welfare organisation can help return it safely.