Scottish SPCA advice on keeping dogs safe this Christmas

The Scottish SPCA advises public on how to keep dogs safe this Christmas

Alan Grant is a trained dog behaviourist as well as a senior animal care assistant.
Alan Grant is a trained dog behaviourist as well as a senior animal care assistant.

The Scottish SPCA is advising the public to be aware of behaviour problems they might see when rehoming a dog and how to keep them safe over the festive season.

Scotland’s animal welfare charity has dogs come into their care with a wide range of behavioural issues.

The Society has specialist staff to work with these dogs, including Alan Grant, who is a trained dog behaviourist as well as a senior animal care assistant for their Glasgow animal rescue and rehoming centre.

Alan said: “Behaviour is largely governed by environment and to fix a behaviour you really need to change the environment.

“That’s why it is so important for us to try and get dogs into their new home, as often a dog will go home and exhibit a behaviour in the home environment that we didn’t see in the kennels.

“We can’t really tackle house training or separation anxiety in a kennel environment, but we can usually predict whether the dog may have separation anxiety by its behaviour with us.

“What we can offer is lots of support and advice on how to get them house trained if they aren’t already.”

All nine of the Scottish SPCA centres are currently closed to the public due to restrictions caused by coronavirus, but they have set up a virtual rehoming option via their website.

The Scottish SPCA are advising anyone thinking about adopting a dog as the festive season approaches to ensure the safety of their new family member.

Alan continued: “As we do not always know how a dog is going to behave being in a home environment, including whether they chew when unsupervised, decorations such as tinsel, Christmas trees, and electrics should be placed safely.

“At Christmas, people also tend to have larger quantities of food around the home, many of which unfortunately contain substances that are toxic to dogs. Whilst we all love treating ourselves to chocolate selection boxes, grapes, dates and other treats these are highly dangerous if ingested by a dog. Gifts could also unknowingly contain these foods and be placed under the tree by mistake.

“Our final food for thought would be for people to consider they might be getting more deliveries than usual. This can be very stressful.

“Make sure the dog’s microchip details and any tags on their collar are up to date as there is a greater chance of dogs potentially escaping with the door being answered more regularly, and garden gates being left open by delivery drivers.”

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