The holidays are just around the corner. But while you are busy thinking about what to make for Thanksgiving dinner or how many Christmas presents are on your list to buy, have you thought about your pets? The holidays can be stressful for animals who are not accustomed to such chaotic schedules and gatherings. Here is some advice to help guide you through the holidays with your furry friend.
If you are staying home for the holidays: Keep an eye on the decorations you use this holiday season. Christmas trees may look nice in our living rooms, but they can be dangerous for your pets. Make sure your pets do not chew on any electric cords used to light up this festive season. Dogs can chew through cords easily, so it would not take long before they chewed through the protective coating on wires and electrocuted themselves. Decorations such as wreaths and garland could pose a choking hazard if your dog decided to play with it like a toy. Keep breakable ornaments near the top of the Christmas tree where your dog cannot easily grab them. For Thanksgiving, be sure your dog does not sneak any food treats while you are not looking. Among the list of foods that are dangerous for dogs, the salt and other spices we use in our food are not good for your dog to digest.
If you are traveling for the holidays: Remember that dogs are sensitive to changes in routine. Traveling to another home, even ones they are familiar with, can be more stressful when the house is full of people and more noise than usual. A crate or separate room for your dog can provide a break from the craziness of the holidays and allow your dog to relax on its own. Be sure to bring food filled toys, treats, or any other safe toys for your dog to enjoy while you celebrate the holiday. If your dog gets too stressed while traveling, consider other options for your pet. A dog sitter is a great option that allows your dog to stay at home where it is comfortable and safe. Boarding is another option for your dog if no one is available to come to your house to take your dog out and feed it. If you decide to leave your dog at home or at a kennel, be sure to bring enough toys and treats to keep your dog entertained while you are gone.
The bottom line is that you need to remember that your dog may not look forward to the holidays in the same manner you do. If your dog is easily stressed or does not like to travel, respect your dog’s anxiety and fears and do what makes your dog most comfortable. We all would like to celebrate the holidays with our loved pets, but sometimes that is not always an option. Make sure your dog has happy and stress-free holiday s this year!