It’s the holiday season. Time for family, food, decorations… and stress. We are not the only ones who get stressed with the changes in routine, company, and the general chaos this season brings. Our pets can get just as overwhelmed as we do. There are things we can do to help make this season less stressful to your pets… and maybe you as well!
If you are having company over, make sure your dogs and cats have a safe, quiet place they can escape to. Maybe it’s their crate, a box with a hole cut in it, a guest room that is baby gated off, or a room with a dog bed and a no people allowed sign on it. Before company comes, bring your pet to the safe, quiet area, give them treats and toys, and attention. Play some quiet, classical music in that room and add a pheromone dispenser to the room (such as Feliway or Adaptil). Make sure that guests know that once the pet is in that area, the dog or cat is off limits; this is especially important if there are children visiting. You can also talk to your veterinarian about supplements for anxiety in pets. Many are in treat form and can be used short term.
Holidays bring lots of extra food and we are not the only ones who find it irresistible! Make sure you keep your pets away from the set table and do not feed them scraps. Highly fatty foods can cause stomach upset and can even lead to pancreatitis, a dangerous condition for dogs and cats. Holiday decorations can also lead to ingestion and possible surgery if left where pets can reach them.
We hope that you and your furry friends enjoy the holidays! And when things get too chaotic, remember that taking the dog for a long walk is always a good excuse for you both to get out of the house for a little while.