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Fun and Food for You and Your Dog this Festive Season

So it’s almost here. The days take us ever closer to hanging up our stockings on the chimney, and there have been Christmas trees up in houses close to ours since the last week in November. Here in the Lowsley Lair, we are looking forward to some well-earned down time after a hectic year, and we want to make sure that our furry friends enjoy the holidays too.

Thus, it seemed in order to consider ways to give special thanks to our three muskahounds, and to make sure that they’re included in all the good things that the holidays bring.

  1. More and more of us are trying to give a personal touch with our Christmas gifts and homemade crafts and foods are very well received. Especially by our dogs! So how about involving the children in making tasty treats for your furry friends to find under the tree on Christmas day? This recipe for peanut butter and carrot cookies is a family favourite. You could even use dog-safe chocolate buttons for decorations
  2. When you’ve cooked up your turkey, consider using the carcass for making your furry friends some bone broth as a tasty addition to their holiday kibble. It’s even better to get raw, uncooked beef bones from your butchers as these will be larger and more marrow-y. These can be increasingly hard to find in the city in these days of pre-packed meat but we have found the likes of FX Buckley Butchers on Moore Street to be very helpful as they tend to keep bones available for sale very cheaply.There is much debate among dog owners about the suitability of raw bones for dogs, and I won’t go into it here, but bone broth is one way for your dogs to absorb some excellent nutrients and amino acids that will benefit their overall health. Check out one of my favourite recipes
  3. In our house, we only know the birth date of one of our dogs; Fudge is, therefore, a bit like the queen and has two celebrations a year. The other two have festivities on their adoption anniversaries only and the specific treats given are scotch eggs and pork pies. As long as your pet is not allergic to wheat, I think you will find guaranteed success with these if you wish to give your dog something extra tasty that you can easily find in your local supermarket
  4. Back in April, our boiler died and, as such, we’ve been relying on solid fuel fires until such time as we can organise to have gas installed. Ronnie has decided that he’s a big fan of fires and will sit in front of the empty grate staring mournfully at us in the morning at the weekend. By all common-sense notions, Ronnie and his double coat should overheat and be uncomfortable next to a fire but this is in fact not the case; he and Honey stage carefully calculated ploys to gain access to the fireside rug. It seems to answer some larger and more marrow-y. These can be increasingly hard to find in the city in these days of pre-packed meat but deep canine instinct to curl up beside a fire, and the holidays are a good time to indulge in this, but please remember to keep a fire guard up to protect happily wagging tails
  5. Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without digging out all those feel-good films you haven’t seen since…last Christmas? In our house, bundling together on the sofa with popcorn and drinks to watch old favourites is one of our happiest times. How about 101 Dalmatians, or K9, or one of the Beethoven movies, or Turner and Hooch? Our dogs love a full sitting room, when they know where all their humans are, and where they can all stretch out and relax. And when everyone’s watching a film, they’re not starting Traditional Christmas Family Rows so, y’know, it’s a win-win!
  6. In my father’s house, St. Stephen’s day (or Boxing Day, if you’re a Brit like me!) was always a day for long walks with dogs. He’d bring his Springer’s, his Scottish Deerhound, and the Irish Wolfhound up into the Wicklow Mountains, or to Dollymount Strand, and we’d all get a really good airing after lunch.  In our household now, our favourite’s away-from-home haunts are Donadea Forest Park in Meath, Avondale Forest Park in Wicklow, Emo Court, Louth, and the Phoenix Park in Dublin.A word of caution about the Phoenix Park – the first time we ever took the dogs there, one cold and frosty Christmas time, Fudge got so excited to see the deer that she actually broke her lead from pulling so much. She didn’t chase them, but she was eager to get closer. Luckily, we’d brought a spare lead but beware excessive enthusiasm from your dog when meeting creatures that they might not have encountered before
  7. One of the kindest things you can do, which is sure to bring on a strong case of the warm fuzzies, is volunteering at dog shelters locally or fostering if it is within your power to do so. Christmas is a time when family and social obligations can lead to fewer people being available to help out but dog shelters need help 365 days a year and their charges deserve just as much attention over the holidays. January inevitably sees an increase in animals being surrendered to shelters/pounds, etc. so if you can spare the time, please give them a head start into the New Year. Walk off that extra slice of Christmas cake by offering to take some of the dogs for a walk, or offer time for basic interaction with the animals that are being cared for there. Your help has the potential to make a positive impact on both the animals in the sanctuary, and to you personally
  8. Lots of very brave people sign up to do New Year’s Day swims along the coast of Ireland. Rather them than me, to be honest, but if you’re taking a dip, consider taking your canine companion with you to cheer you on, and remember to bring plenty of warm towels for both of you! Most of these are sponsored swims for various charities so it’s a good way to do your bit for the community while having some extra fun with your dog
  9. Make New Year’s Resolutions and keep them with the help of your dog. Do you want to get in shape, and start the New Year in a more healthy fashion? Do you want to meet new people? Do you want to save money? Ditch the plans for the new gym membership and head out with your furry friend instead.Whether you’re walking in urban areas, playing in your local dog park, taking up jogging, or taking uphill walking, most of our canine companions will be our able accomplices in our drive to make the new year happier and healthier. For most of us, if we’re lucky, the holiday season is about time spent with loved ones, and catching up with friends we might not see so often during the rest of the year. Remember, your pets are part of your family and they love to be included in your celebrations. Enjoy a more relaxed pace over the holidays and catch up with them to – spend the time with them that so often gets overlooked during our busy working lives during the rest of the year: catch up on snuggles, and grooming, and taking the time to enjoy the simple pleasures that they teach us to appreciate all the more

Honey, Fudge, Ronnie, the rest of my family and I would like to wish you a happy, peaceful Christmas filled with all that you love best, and hope that your 2017 looks bright and full of promise!

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  • Pets
  • adult dog
  • family pet
  • puppy
  • rescue dogs