Complete Guide: How to deal with pet stress during the holidays
by Candid Tails on Dec 21, 2021
The Christmas holidays can be the most wonderful time of the year, but for our dogs this can be a stressful time period. Stress and anxiety can be caused by loud noises from fireworks, champagne popping and unfamiliar faces and environments. If you sometimes feel overwhelmed when meeting with all your relatives, just imagine your dog might feel.
If you dog is experiencing stress or anxiety during the Christmas season, they can express it in many different ways. For example, hiding under the sofa, trembling, barking, a change in appetite or even biting. Nobody wants their pet to suffer from anxiety, and fortunately there are some precautionary measures you can take to ease them into the holidays.
Provide a safe space
It is fundamental for you to provide a safe space where your dog can relax and escape from the hectic environment, especially if you have visitors or unfamiliar faces come over. To help your dog, you can offer them a quiet room where they are able to take breaks from the excitement. Playing some calm background music can also help, especially if there are fireworks since it reduces the intensity of the sound. Closing the curtains of any windows close by and adding in extra blankets can also make your dog more comfortable. Just remember that while you are creating this safe space and moving around your pet’s bed, you can impact their perception of a safe environment.
Keep up the routine
Even in the presence of family and friends, try to keep the same routine with your dog. This is because a dog can perceive their owner’s emotions, so if you are feeling stressed from social activities or travelling, then your dog will also feel this stress. Dogs also form habits and like to follow these habits just like we do. This means that if you usually walk in the afternoon, then go for a walk in the afternoon. This can be a calm moment in the day for the both of you to help relieve stress. You should also keep feeding your dog at the same times as usual.
Many dogs love to play with toys. Since chewing is a great stress reliever for dogs and can keep them occupied for a while, giving your dog a new chewy toy or playing with an old one will help reduce their stress. A toy can also distract your dog so that they are no longer focused on the loud and hectic environment around them. Another option is giving your dog an interactive toy, since this will also entertain and distract them.
Exercising with your dog helps them loose their energy and makes them more relaxed and prepared for a nice long nap. You can take your dog for a walk to the park and throw balls or frisbees for them to chase. Or maybe there is a dog park or dog friend close by who they can go play with for a while. Since being anxious also takes energy, the combination with exercise should tire them out enough for a restful afternoon and night.