’Tis the season for parties, delicious feasts, and all things merry and bright. But, as holiday preparations get into full swing, don’t forget that your pets may not be so cheerful. From visitors, to package deliveries, and everything in between, this time of year can cause your pet undue stress and anxiety. Consider the following tips to encourage a calm, relaxing holiday season for your furry family members. 

Create a tranquil retreat for your pet

If you are planning dinner parties or house guests during the holidays, do Fluffy a favor and designate a safe haven where she can retreat when the going gets stressful. Ensure the space is in a quiet area of your home, and fitted with her favorite bedding, a few toys, and perhaps some calming music or background noise. Your pet should have easy access so she can come and go as she pleases. If she is particularly anxious around unfamiliar faces, consider using Adaptil, Feliway, or another pheromone product to encourage relaxation and provide a sense of calm. 

Make exercising your pet a priority

Getting outside for some fresh air and exercise can help you and your furry friend stay fit and stress-free, but winter weather can sometimes put a damper on outside fun. Don’t let it! If Jack Frost is nipping at your noses, fit your pup with weather-proof booties and an insulated jacket, as needed. Ensure you don’t stay out too long in cold conditions, but aim for 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each day. Want to stay inside where it’s warm? Here are a few indoor activities that can help keep your pet active and healthy:

  • Hide and seek around the house
  • Tug of war
  • Puzzle toys
  • The “Find It” game (i.e., scavenger hunts with treats hidden around the house)
  • Stair ball (i.e., fetching a ball up or down the stairs—only do this if your pup is healthy enough and your stairs are carpeted)
  • Doggie daycare
  • Indoor agility training center

Feed your pet a nourishing diet

A sick pet and a trip to the veterinary emergency clinic can definitely spoil the good cheer. While the holidays are full of rich, delicious treats for us to enjoy in moderation, pets should have no part in these potentially dangerous dishes, because while domestic animals can eat many human foods, certain ingredients can cause pets serious harm if ingested. Possible problems include vomiting, diarrhea, intestinal blockage, or pancreatitis, which can not only cause stress to your pet, but may be life-threatening. While it is likely OK to feed your pet a small taste of lean turkey meat—without the skin and minus the gravy—or steamed broccoli, be safe, and stick to your pet’s normal, wholesome diet. Not sure if your pet is on the right diet? Contact our veterinary team for advice. 

Reconsider inviting Fluffy to the party

Holiday parties and get-togethers can be great fun for people, but for some pets, they can be downright stressful. If you are thinking about bringing Fluffy to the neighborhood Christmas party, consider your individual pet. Does she love the hustle and bustle of new faces, smells, and surroundings, or does she become anxious when her routine is disrupted? If you are unsure, it’s probably best to leave her in the peace and quiet of her own home. If you absolutely must bring your pet, come prepared with a couple of her favorite toys, treats, and poop bags, and ensure she is fitted with an appropriate collar, ID tag, and leash. Keep a close eye on your furry friend for any signs of disquiet, such as retreating, excessive panting, drooling, or pacing, and always supervise any interactions with other pets and children. 

Have specific questions about holiday pet safety? Contact our veterinary team today.