Most people love the holiday season, there is cheer in the air and everyone seems to have a smile. While the holiday season may be a happy time for us, it isn’t always so for our pets. As a matter of fact, it can be quite stressful and sometimes potentially dangerous too. So how can you ensure that your pet is able to make it through the holiday season in a stress and anxiety-free manner? Here are some of our tips that can help for different situations:
Leaving your pet when you are heading out of town?
For many, the holidays also mean travel. But it may not always be possible to take your pet with you every time you go away. This means you will either rely on a pet-sitter or kennel to house your pooch. This may cause stress and anxiety to your pet. You can help reduce this anxiety by doing at least a couple of runs with a pet-sitter or boarding facility before you go out on vacation. This will help them become more familiar with strange surroundings or a new person. It’s also a good idea to ensure that they have a favourite toy, blanket, or piece of your clothing for a familiar smell.
Going on a long car drive with your dog?
If you plan to take your dog along with you on a road trip, it will go far more smoothly for everyone if you ensure they use up some of their energy before loading up. Depending on the age of your pet, playing with a toy/ball or even taking them on a long walk can help expend some of the nervous energy. Also, don’t feed your dog breakfast just before you hop in the car. Feed them a relatively light meal 3 to 4 hours before you hit the road. There’s nothing worse than a gassy passenger in the car!
Entertaining at home?
If you are planning to spend time at home during the holidays and are going to be entertaining a lot, the constant stream of guests can be quite upsetting to your pooch. If your pooch tends to get very nervous around strangers, it's best to create a safe space for them in a specific room of the house. This will give them the quiet time they need while the festivities are on. Don’t compel your pet to be where all the noise and people are if they prefer to be in a quiet room or they want to sleep in their own bed. Allow your pet to decide exactly how much socialising they are comfortable with. Also spend some quality time with your pet around this time so their routine doesn’t feel too out of place.
Putting up Christmas decorations?
While you may like to decorate your house and your Christmas tree with twinkling lights, decorations such as these may send your pooch into a frenzy. If you notice your pet becoming anxious or nervous when they see the blinking lights, simply use some other décor. After all, your pet is a family member and you want them to enjoy the holidays as much as everyone else, don’t you?
When choosing holiday décor, consider whether it can pose a threat to your pooch if they swallow a decoration. Sometimes a simple thing like securing your Christmas tree so it can’t be knocked down will prevent an injury to your pet.
Any firework displays close by?
Dogs are exposed to a variety of loud noises throughout the holidays. The hustle and bustle of everyone cleaning the house and decorating it, clanging of pots and pans from all the holiday cooking, Christmas carolling and more. Fireworks are the added noise factor that can upset your dog immensely.
Fireworks often cause stress and anxiety in our pets. It goes without saying that you need to keep your pet away from any common areas where people are lighting fireworks. Place your pet in a quiet room when firecrackers are being lit; this can help keep them calm and safe.
Try to maintain regularity in your pet’s routine and don’t change their diet either. While the holiday season can be an exciting time for you and your family, following these tips can also help ensure your pet is safe and happy as well.