The Easter term half term or February half term is a welcome break from school for many children, albeit many parents have mixed views on this! If you have children yourself, the Easter term half term (like all school holidays) might mean a big upheaval in terms of your household routine to account for the presence of your kids during the day, and might mean your own work patterns need to change to in order to accommodate for everything.
Half term and having the children home for a week has an impact on your dog too, who will notice the change in the normal routine and who may very much enjoy the additional company.
However, any time of change or things being different to the norm can come with added complications and even risks for dog owners, and half term is just one of them. Even if you don’t actually have children and might not even be aware of when the Easter term or February half term falls in your local area, it might have an impact on your dog, which is important to know about in advance!
Whether you’re new to dog ownership and this will be your first time managing a dog over a school holiday or not, and if you actually have children off on holiday over half term at home or not, this article will share some safety tips for dog owners over the Easter term half term. Read on to learn more.
If you have school-age children, having them at home (or doing different things than normal) over the half term week will result in the need for changes to your normal routine to accommodate this; even if you’re really looking forwards to changes like a break from the school run and a lie in!
However, you should try to keep to your dog’s routine as much as possible to avoid causing them stress; dogs need routine to feel secure, and they will still want to be walked and fed and allowed out to the toilet at the normal times!
Even if you don’t have a dog, think about how having children around at times they wouldn’t normally be might affect your dog, particularly if they’re nervous of people.
Unless you usually trust your children to supervise or be in charge of your dog, don’t allow them to do this in the half term holiday! You might think a young child will be ok watching a dog for a couple of minutes, but a lot can happen in a couple of minutes where dogs are concerned, such as eating a whole bar of chocolate and needing a trip to the vets…
On which note, whilst we’re still some way off the Easter holiday and prolific amounts of chocolate that this entails, the shops are already absolutely full of Easter goodies, much of it chocolate and none of it good for dogs. Ensure that your children know not to share sweets with your dog and vitally, that they understand that chocolate can make your dog very sick.
If you ask your children to walk the dog, are you confident in their ability to control your dog, out in public with strangers around, potentially lots of other children around too, and people playing ball games and so on? Can you trust your children to pay proper attention to your dog, and do they have sufficient control?
If you’re not sure, accompany them on walks.
Whether you have children or not, many places you may normally walk your dog (like parks) might have children in them at times they wouldn’t normally be during the Easter term half term week. Is your dog ok with children, and will they keep away from them if off the lead? What if a child ran at or grabbed your dog, would your dog tolerate more or less anything without snapping or reacting badly?
Remember that even if your dog is lovely, not all children or parents will be happy if it approaches them. Unless you’re 100% confident in your control of your dog off the lead, find somewhere else to let them run free in the holidays.
Parks and other public places will tend to offer richer pickings than normal for scavenging dogs, as children aren’t always great about not dropping food. There are lots of places and ways this might pose an opportunity for a scavenging dog, to pick up sweets and even things like stale bread people might throw for ducks in the local pond!
Finally, if your children have other children over in the holidays, factor in the dog. Is the dog 100% safe and reliable with strangers? What if strange children tease or don’t know how to treat your dog?
Always supervise your dog around children that both you and they do not know well, and ensure any visitors know the rules about respecting the dog, and also, not feeding them anything without permission!