The excitement of the holiday season is officially here! Is your pet ready? The holidays can be overwhelming for anyone, including our four-legged family members! While you’re busy decorating your home, cooking and baking for that holiday feast and preparing for guests, take some time to prep your pet for the holidays with these tips.
Plan Accordingly for Travel
Do the holidays mean taking a trip to visit loved ones? If you’ll be taking your pet along with you, be sure to talk to your hosts ahead of time. It can be helpful to get an idea of the holiday schedule and understand your host’s expectations for pets in the home. (For example, are dogs allowed on the furniture?) Having these conversations ahead of time can eliminate any potential conflict or unnecessary stress once you arrive.
Create a Safe Space for Your Pet
Whether you’re hosting guests in your home, or you’re staying in the home of friends or family, be sure your pet has a safe, quiet space to retreat to. New people (and animals) and large crowds can be particularly stressful for pets, so be proactive in creating a quiet space for your pet. The ideal location would be in a pet bed or crate in a bedroom or another quiet room in the home that is away from the holiday activities. While you certainly want to allow your furry friend time to socialize, be intentional about allowing time for rest and relaxation, too.
Stick to Your Pet’s Routine
As much as possible, stick to your usual routine for feeding, playtime and crate time. Pay close attention to be sure others aren’t giving your pet special treats or snacks that may be hazardous, such as chocolate, anything containing alcohol and turkey bones. Recipes that include garlic, onion and raisins can also make your pet sick, so keep those foods out of reach of your animal.
For more tips on what your pet can and can’t eat during the holidays, check out this article.
Designate a Family Member to be on Duty
In the hustle and bustle of holiday activities, it can be easy for you to think that someone else is caring for your pet, and for others to think you have it covered. Avoid any confusion and help eliminate unnecessary stress for your pet by designating a family member to take care of feeding, playtime, walks, etc.
Give Your Dog Plenty of Exercise
“A good dog is a tired dog.” Make time for plenty of physical activity so your dog will be less likely to become rambunctious or too rowdy when people come to visit during the holidays. While it is a very busy season, it can’t hurt to build in even more time for exercise and physical activity than your dog is used to and he will likely be happy to curl up for a nap when guests arrive.
Manage the Situation
Nobody knows your pet’s personality quite as you do. If your pet is still working on obedience training or gets easily worked up around more people, then it’s important to be aware of these factors to avoid any problems or mishaps during the holidays. Consider your pet’s personality and manage the situation accordingly. Do you need to block access to certain rooms, use a crate when you have company over or keep your dog on a leash inside the home? These tactics aren’t punishment but can help keep everyone safe.
The holidays should be an enjoyable time for everyone, including your pet! Take some time to consider any special preparations you should make to help your pet feel safe and comfortable during the holiday commotion.