Halloween is just around the corner, and soon after that, Thanksgiving will be upon us. And then Christmas. And then New Years. And while the holidays, for us, consist of extravagant parties, visiting family members looped around the dinner table, get-togethers with the neighbors, and possible traveling…to our furry friends, it’s often a source of discomfort and confusion. Most animals prefer the routines of their household lives, and so holiday-spawned activity usually means stress, stress, and more stress.
We do not suggest—by any means!—you should cancel Thanksgiving dinner. Or the skiing trip you had planned for Christmas. There are several ways to help keep pets calm during the holidays. Some are products you can purchase right here at Lambert Vet Supply; others are simple practices which manage your pet’s holiday stress.
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Sticking to a Routine
Let’s begin by addressing the issue at hand, the central reason why many pets become stressed during the holidays: change. (The change in surroundings, the new people in the house, etc.) When pets become accustomed to routine, it’s best to stick to said routine as much as possible, even in the holidays. When your relatives are over, take fifteen minutes out of your day to take your dog on their daily walk around the block. Make sure feeding time occurs on schedule. Is playtime a recurring activity in your household? Set aside some time for that as well. Anything which reminds them of ordinary circumstances will help.
Exercise is a great way for pets—especially dogs—to cope with anxiety. Exercise and playtime release stress. It also gives animals an opportunity to get out of the house—away from the constant activity that might be bothering them—and enjoy the fresh air. Even a half-hour walk is generally enough to let off some metaphorical steam.
What about you? Does prepping for the holidays (decorating, cooking, etc.) tire you out? Do you find yourself hungering for a break a couple times a day? A daily walk around the park with your pet will offer some respite from that stress. So there you are: it’s mutually beneficial!
Games to Work their Brains
As they say, the best way to forget about something that’s bothering you is to get your mind on something else. The same principle applies to pets, and there are many tools which can accomplish this. For instance, if you feed your pets using a food puzzle as opposed to their bowl, you can stimulate their brains and put their minds to work. Better still, you could even put a treat inside the puzzle! The inclusion of a reward (a tasty snack) gives them incentive to play around with it.
Be sure to check out our selection and find one that works for your pet.
Familiarizing Pets with Crowds
Will you be having family and friends over for Thanksgiving dinner, and then again for Christmas? If so, you might want to try familiarizing your pet with crowds so this won’t come as such a shock to them. Invite your neighbors over for a regular evening dinner now and then. A handful of extra people in the house once in a while will allow your pet to grow accustomed to strangers in their home.
If you are bringing your pet with you on a holiday trip, bring along some items they find familiar: favorite toys, blankets, pillows, beds, their food dishes. You don’t have to bring everything; just enough to give them a taste of home should suffice in keeping their stress at a lower level that it might have been otherwise.
Travel crates are highly recommended if your pet cannot sit still in the car. Also, be sure your pet has identification tags on their collar, should they become lost during the trip.
Personal Time Together
Frankly, there is no better solution. One-on-one time with your pet—whether it’s cuddling or playing or going for a stroll outside—is the best way to reassure them they are loved and safe—and a break with you, away from the hustle and bustle, solves the issue of stress better than any other.
Products which Relieve Stress