We welcome family and friends over the holidays. It’s a time of gratitude and celebration that may include joyful gatherings, good food, pleasant conversations, and fun. Sadly, for many pets, the holidays mean stress, fear, and anxiety. Strangers come and go, it’s noisy, the house is filled with different decorations, and the quiet routine is disturbed. Pets can’t find a place to settle and they don’t sleep as well. These are some triggers that make this season of the year challenging for pets.
You can help your pets stay calm by setting up a safe space for them (crate, room, x pen) where they feel secure and can get away from the activity. This quiet spot can be adorned with their favorite toys or chews, sprayed with Adaptil (dogs) or Feliway (cats), and calming music from the radio. Set this up in advance. Cats need a litter box, water, food, scratching post, and something familiar.
Ask your visitors to respect your pet and not to overwhelm them with unwanted attention or inappropriate food. You can set aside some of their usual treats for a pet lover to drop on the floor by your pet instead of offering it by hand.
Watch your pet’s body language to make sure they are comfortable. If they look away, shake off, yawn, pant, or act tense – encourage them to go to their safe spot. Oh, and most pets aren’t crazy about wearing a costume.
If your pet is a food thief, keep the serving areas out of his reach. Some dangerous holiday items are uncooked bones, chocolate, bread dough, sticks of butter, macadamia nuts/grapes and raisins, avocados, alcohol/cannabis/human medications, and sugar-free products containing xylitol (gum, some peanut butter). If you are traveling with your pet, make sure you are aware of where your pet is and keep them away from rodent control poisons and anti-freeze.
Watch the entryways. If your dog or cat is a door dasher, take steps to block this from happening. It’s a good idea to have a name tag secured to your dog’s collar.
If you use mistletoe or holiday tinsel, please keep these away from your cat.
Your pets are used to a quiet routine and aren’t used to strangers. It’s important to support them so your gatherings aren’t a source of stress. The signs of anxiety are so subtle, they can easily go unnoticed and your holiday ruined..
Be smart, be safe, and create wonderful holiday memories for your guests and all the members of your family.
Anyways, happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
Happy Pet! Happy Home!
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