The festive season is upon us, and everyone is getting into the Christmas spirit. But have you ever known someone who exhibited the nearly toxic levels of holiday joy normally reserved for characters in Lifetime movies and those employed by Santa’s Village? If so, you’ve come in contact with the Christmas Fever virus. The bad news: Dogs can catch it, too. The good news: You’re about to learn the signs to spot it.
Unfortunately, the only cure for Christmas Fever is time. Come January your pooch, and any infected humans, will return to normal. You may as well let them infect you. It’ll be over soon enough.
1. He’s actually wearing a sweater
If your dog goes without clothes 11 months of the year but is suddenly clad in the ugliest, coziest, knitted monstrosity of a sweater that you’ve ever seen come December, he’s got it. Wearing ugly Christmas sweaters is the No. 1 sign of Canine Christmas Fever. And it usually means a human in the house is also infected.
2. He’s so full of “spirit” you can smell it
The second most common symptom of Canine Christmas Fever is flatulence so festive it might be mistaken for something out of the Yankee Candle factory. If your dog’s gas is sweet yet spicy with a pine top note, you’ve got a confirmed case on your hands.
3. He takes care of the unwrapping
Behavioral symptoms are another issue impacting a CCF patient, who cannot be left alone with wrapped gifts. He’ll paw, scratch and bite at boxes until everything from the scarf you bought for Grandma to the underwear intended for your fiancé is a pile of ungiftable, unreturnable (and unmentionable, in the case of the underwear), dog slobber-covered merchandise.
4. He kidnaps the elf
A symptom added to the list in the last decade — a canine who becomes possessive of his family’s Elf on the Shelf. If your Elf on the Shelf becomes Elf on the Dog Bed, you know your dog is as sick as the person who came up with that ridiculous tradition in the first place.
5. He’s barking to the beat of mall music
If you’re not sure if your dog has CCF, turn on the Christmas tunes. When Mariah Carey hits the high note in All I Want for Christmas, so will a CCF-infected dog. Unlike Mariah, he won’t stop.
6. He’s stalking the stockings
Many dogs are obsessed with socks all year-round, so how do you know if a dog who’s sniffing around the Christmas stockings is a CCF sufferer or just a dog with a regular, year-round sock fetish? If he takes them and chews them, he’s a normal dog. If he takes them and wears them, he’s got the fever.
7. He’s always waiting under the mistletoe
It’s a trap, human! Don’t be fooled by cute doggie kisses, or you’ll end up in an ugly Christmas sweater, too. CCF passes through saliva!
8. He’s become tangled up in Christmas lights
Did you think all those Christmas card photos were a human idea? Please.
9. The dog tag hanging from his collar now reads “Rudolph”
This is more proof of an interspecies cluster of cases. Hold a family meeting. Demand to know who ordered this. Confiscate her Mastercard.
10. He’s watered the tree
A dog filled with the festive infection will attempt to spread it by “watering” any tree you bring into the home. If he’s hydrating the spruce, Holiday Hot Dogitis is on the loose in your home.
Thumbnail: Photography ©Chalabala | Thinkstock.
About the author
Heather Marcoux is a freelance writer and dog mom to Marshmallow and GhostBuster, who are both clearly infected with Canine Christmas Fever and can’t wait to post their presents on Instagram, where they are known as the @ghostpets. Heather’s on Twitter @HeatherMarcoux.
Editor’s note: This article first appeared in Dogster magazine. Have you seen the new Dogster print magazine in stores? Or in the waiting room of your vet’s office? Subscribe now to get Dogster magazine delivered straight to you!