Prevent Holiday Stress For Your Pet

The holiday season may be stressful for us, but it can also bring out anxiety in the calmest of pets. The hectic schedules, endless decorations, and strange party guests can stress your pet out, so use these tips to keep them cool and collected!

  1. Slow down with the decorations:  Rather than putting up all of the decorations, moving all the furniture, and setting up the giant inflatable snowman all in one day, stretch it out over a week or two.  Introduce your pet to the decorations slowly, so they don’t become overwhelmed with all the changes happening at once.
  2. Tell your guests to respect your pet:  Small children should be taught proper animal greetings and monitored when playing with your cat or dog.  Yanking tails or pulling on fur is not tolerated by many pets.  Other guests may try to pick up or pet an animal that is uncomfortable, which can lead to a scratch or bite.  Inform your friends and family to not sneak your pet potentially dangerous foods under the table or leave foods, drinks, or medications lying around.  Make sure all your guests know how to behave around your pet and to watch out to prevent anyone from stepping on a tail!
  3. Set up a quiet room:  Giving your pet a place to seek quiet and comfort away from all the decor and people is ideal.  Shy pets (or ones that have been simply been stressed out) will oftentimes seek comfort under a piece of furniture or in their bed.  Make sure they have a good “hiding” place to calm down in a room away from the party.  You can also leave water and a toy or two in their private room in case they decide to spend the whole night there.
  4. Pay attention to them:  Whether it’s your or your family member, make sure you take the time to praise them for tolerating our festivities.  Give them designated petting time and make sure you’re paying attention when they need a potty break!
  5. Get out their excess energy:  Prior to any gathering or event, taking your dog for a long run or specifically making time to play with your kitty can get out their extra energy and help them stay calmer during the holidays.
  6. Keep the noise down:  Though even a classy dinner party can get a little noisy, avoiding loud noises will help keep your pet calm.  This means that even when your favorite holiday song comes on, be sure not to blare it.  And if you’re celebrating the New Year, keep the noisemakers, kazoos, and fireworks to a minimum.  These can sound a “danger alarm” in your pet’s brain, triggering sometimes extreme stress.

What tips and tricks have you used to keep your pet happy during the holiday season?  Let us know in the comments below!