While it might be hard to believe that we’re nearing the end of the year, many of us are eagerly anticipating the holiday season. We could all use some extra joy this year!
Even so, the holidays can be stressful — especially for your pet.
Loud noises, changes in their routine, and encounters with even small groups of visitors can make this an anxious time for your dog or cat.
How can you enjoy the holiday festivities this year while minimizing the stress on your pet? Here’s our handy list of strategies.
Consider hiring help
The truth is, most of us get very busy during the holidays. Our schedules are filled with baking, shopping, and managing breaks from work or school. While there may be fewer gatherings during the 2020 holidays, these other competing demands of this season may still result in less time with your pet.
If you’re planning to be out of town this year, consider boarding your dog at a daycare where she can get plenty of socialization and playtime. If this isn’t a possibility, you can hire a dog walker or hire someone to visit and feed your pet while you’re gone.
Provide a safe space during gatherings
New faces can cause anxiety in some dogs — even jealousy! Many pet owners find that setting up a private, quiet space for their pet helps to ease nerves during gatherings. This way your pet has a spot they can retreat to if the noise or bustle becomes too much.
A great option, especially if you’re traveling, is SlumberPod Pet. This lightweight and portable privacy pod sets-up easily in any quiet corner away from all the commotion.
Having a safe space for your pet is especially important if you’re visiting a home with other animals! Having a place to retreat allows for some much-needed breaktime for your pet if the presence of other people or pets causes them stress.
Stick with a predictable schedule
As much as possible, keep your pet’s daily routine the same. Make sure that walks and mealtimes happen at the same time every day, even if you’re traveling! Resist the temptation to postpone breakfast because you want to sleep in, or to chain yourself to the stove during your pet’s usual walk time. Sticking to the usual schedule will offer a sense of comfort and security to your pet during this hectic time.
Give your pet plenty of exercise
Exercise is a highly effective way to combat anxiety, for people and pets alike! It reduces nervous energy, improves heart health, and can result in a better night’s sleep.
These benefits may help your pet cope with stressful gatherings or long separations.
As much as possible, make time every day to play with your pet out in the yard or at the dog park. She’ll feel much better, and so will you!
Spend plenty of one-on-one time with your pet
If you’re preoccupied with holiday preparations, your pet may feel the absence of your attention. Be intentional about making time to spend with your pet every day. Cuddle him, play with him and do fun activities together. Encourage any guests to spend time with him too, so he won’t feel like less of a priority during the holiday season.
Holidays can be tough on your pet, but they don’t need to be. With a little extra care and planning, you both can enjoy a festive and peaceful holiday season.