The festive season can come with its own set of stresses, from making sure the house is decorated, to wrapping presents and cooking holiday food. You want to enjoy it as much as you can, and you want your dog to have a great time too. During the Holiday Season there are extra things to consider; new places to visit and new people to meet for your dog. These represent a massive change of routine for your pet, and this is one of the common causes of stress in canines. With this in mind we’ve listed a few ways that you can successfully navigate these potential hurdles, reduce stress and make this time of year fun for everyone.
1. Don’t take your pooch where they aren’t welcome
There’s probably very little worse than turning up for a festive gathering with your furry friend only to be the subject of very non festive glares. There’s also a good chance that the venue won’t be very pooch friendly, if dogs weren’t expected. There may be very little space for your dog to escape the noise and crowds, and this could be really upsetting for them. Your dog will also pick up on the fact that you may be feeling stressed at the situation. As James Morrisey, veterinarian at the College of Veterinary Medicine of Cornell University says, “”Dogs and cats are very good at picking up stress in people, as are birds.” If you’re going to accept an invitation make sure it’s definitely “plus pet”, or make other arrangements for your dog to be looked after, while you attend.
2. Check out the furniture rules
Just because you like nothing better than curling up on the couch with your canine companion, that doesn’t mean everyone feels the same way. If you’re going to someone else’s home make sure you know what the rules are, and that your dog is able to obey them. Try it out before you go, and if you can’t get your dog to keep their paws firmly on the ground, either don’t go, or make other arrangements for the dog in your life. If you don’t do this your pooch may get irritated and anxious if they don’t understand why they are not allowed on the furniture in your host’s home.
3. Be careful in a new situation
Dogs are just like people; they can react badly to stressful situations. Put your pet in a room full of unfamiliar faces, excited children and a large amount of noise, and you can’t be certain how they will behave. If you’re going to bring your pooch into a room where all the action is then you need to keep an eye on them.
4. Remember, dogs don’t eat the way humans do
It may be really tempting to sneak some food to your pooch who’s hiding under the table. But it’s not going to seem so appealing when they get sick, and you end up spending the rest of the holiday season in the company of the emergency vet. Dogs don’t digest food the way that you do, so sharing that delicious meal with them is not a good idea.
5. Make sure your dog is chilled
Never take your dog anywhere if you think they are going to be uncomfortable; it will only make you both unhappy. You also need to give your pet a chill space where they can go to escape the festive madness if they want to. If you don’t do this your dog is likely to get increasingly upset which could result in irrational or aggressive behavior.
6. Always go prepared for an accident
Look at it this way, is it better take precautions, or to risk the ire of your grandma when an excitement induced poo suddenly appears and you have nothing to gather it up in.
There’s no reason why you and your dog can’t both enjoy the celebrations. You just need to be careful. As vet Dr. David Simpson says, “Many of these seasonal pet emergencies can be avoided if owners have a little extra knowledge of the dangers.”
Our advice is intended to provide you with some of that knowledge, so that you and your dog can enjoy a Happy Holiday Season together.
You may also want to think about spreading the seasonal cheer a little further, by adopting a pup from your local shelter and allowing them to join your family Christmas.