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It’s the holiday season, and the familiar joy of family, friends, food, and festivities fill the air. But all the extra planning, cooking, hosting, and shopping cause many of us stress. If you’re stressed, you are not alone. There is a good chance your pets are feeling the holiday stress as well.
Whether you will be hosting or traveling to visit family and friends this year, your holidays will be a lot easier if you plan ahead to minimize stress. This means making a plan to ensure your furry family members remain as stress-free as possible during the chaos of the season.
You can make your holidays a little less stressful for you and your pets with these tips:
We all want our pets to have fun and enjoy the season. However, you should honestly assess your pet’s personality before putting him in a situation that may raise his stress level.
Like people, pets have a variety of temperaments. Some dogs love to be the center of attention in a crowd, while others tend to become shy and fearful. The presence of a group of strangers in their space can trigger other dogs to resort to protective mode.
Decide if your pet will feel comfortable spending time with new people or if it is best to remove him from the action and put him in a safe space where he will not be bothered by guests.
Set up a pet-only space where your pets can escape from the commotion. You can put them in a bedroom, or another room where they like to relax. Provide them with some toys and treats. Put familiar items in the space, such as crates (if they use them), comfy pet beds, and water.
Make sure the room is off-limits to guests. You can put a sign on the door. This will also put your mind at ease since it eliminates the chance a guest will accidentally allow your pet outside. You can enjoy the festivities knowing that your pets and your guests are safe.
If your pet is good with new people, it’s always a good idea to reinforce basic manners and obedience ahead of a gathering. This will prevent an overly excited dog jumping up to greet your guests or a hungry kitty pouncing on the counter as you put the finishing touches on the holiday meal.
If your pets are not used to having several visitors to the house, this can cause them a great deal of anxiety. You may notice behavioral changes in them before the actual event arrives because, as you prepare, your pets sense that something is different.
You should stick with your pet’s regular schedule. Pets are used to consistency. Changes in your pets’ daily routines will alert them that something is not right, increasing their anxiety. Stick to the usual routines when it comes to feeding, walking, and playtime.
While your “to-do” list leaves you little time for yourself around the holidays, remember to give your pet the attention he or she is used to receiving from you. Even a brief snuggle time with your furry best friend will go a long way toward reducing your stress level as well!
Think of New Year’s celebrations as similar to the Fourth of July. Many people celebrate with fireworks, bright lights, and loud noises. If you know your pet is frightened by sudden, loud noises (such as fireworks and thunderstorms), prepare ahead of time.
If you aren’t home to comfort your pets, have a safe, familiar place where they can relax. Leave the television on or play relaxing music to distract them. White noise machines are another excellent option.
If you are concerned about your pet’s anxiety, talk to your veterinarian. He or she might prescribe medication to give your pet shortly before a potentially loud or stressful event.
Humans aren’t the only ones who feel the stress this time of year. Our pets do too. The good news is a little extra planning can take some of the stress out of the holiday season, making it healthier and safer for all of us.
Here at PetFirst, we know accidents and illnesses happen to all pets – even during the holiday season. PetFirst is here for every canine and cat – year-round! Pet insurance can help cover unexpected vet visits.
Pet insurance provides peace of mind that if your pet gets sick or injured, you don’t have to worry about the financial aspect of your pet’s care.
Make sure your pet is covered with PetFirst Pet Insurance.