Pets get stressed out during the holidays just as people do; however, it’s worse for them. While they may remember previous holidays, they still don’t understand what’s going on and have no way to help eliminate the stress they’re feeling. People often take a nap, go work out, sit back and enjoy their favorite cup of joe, or simply talk it out. These are things that dogs typically cannot initiate by themselves. You can help your dog manage holiday stress by identifying possible triggers and helping your dog work around them.
Some people are oblivious to events or triggers that are stress-makers for dogs. While all dogs are different, elderly dogs and puppies are at greater risk for stress even when they’re in good health. Here’s a short list of stress initiators and reasons Buster is becoming taxed:
There’s more traffic in and out of the house; a natural concern for dogs, especially protective breeds which could result in biting. If your dog is capable of biting, put a note on your door. Secure the areas adjacent to the doors where most traffic will occur so your canine doesn’t make a quick get-a-way.
Schedules are becoming somewhat out-of-kilter which can be confusing. Most dogs are comfortable with routine. Sometimes dogs can experience accidental neglect around the holidays. Make certain you include your dog in your daily routine.
Other dogs/pets may be brought into the home by immediate family or guests. This is an invasion of space, even if your dog is social and doesn’t seem to mind. If there’s no way around this, allow your dog time to themselves in a special room or area they are used to and enjoy. Make sure it isn’t a place where they’ve experienced correction for misbehavior.
Extra people usually mean extra children and no matter what age they are, dogs (even puppies) can become tired and cranky with excessive play. Children should be monitored closely with pets and encouraged to play with toys or something else unbreakable and without teeth.
When we overeat, we become tired, sleepy, uncomfortable, and sometimes digestively cranky. The same is true for canines. It’s best to avoid feeding pets from the table during the holidays or any time. They will benefit from your stringent endeavor to keep them on a strict, healthy, preferably organic diet.
Liam Crowe, CEO and Master Dog Behavioral Therapist of Bark Busters USA, recommends keeping a crate or carrier on hand for your dog. While many don’t seem to have the “heart” to use one, your dog will feel safer and more secure in a crate with their favorite toy, pillow or blanket than being chased or taunted by kids or other pets. It also makes a great place for some “time out” if stress gets the best of them and they begin snapping at guests or if they become overly excited and need a quite place to calm down.
Make sure to walk your dog or provide another form of exercise with them daily. This relieves stress in dogs the same way as it does with humans. And one last reminder, please don’t forget in the hustle and bustle of the holidays to feed and water your pet. No matter how busy we get, we still take time out to feed ourselves, do the same for your pet.
Sources: Bark Busters.com