Pet Parent Advice: 6 Tips For Dealing With Anxious Pets This Festive Season
From fireworks to the change of routine, the holidays can be a stressful time for our pets. Help make the holidays anxiety-free for your furry members of the family with these top tips.
To many people, the holidays are the best and most joyous time of the year. And to be honest, what’s not to love about the festive season? Everyone has a spring in their step and many of us get to have a little well-deserved rest.
However, this wonderful holiday season is not always as fun for our pets as it is for us. In fact, the holidays can be an incredibly stressful time for our furry members of the family.
So, what can you do to help ease some of your pet’s stress and make this festive season as anxiety and stress-free as possible? You can start by reading this list.
1. Calm their nerves before a road trip
Are you hitting the road these holidays with your family and your pet in tow? The trip can go a lot smoother if you manage to fit in a play session with your pet before heading off.
It’s a good idea to try and exercise your dog - play fetch, go for a long walk or even a run - before you all get in the car for hours on end. This will help alleviate some of your dog’s nervous energy.
Another tip is to pack something familiar for your pet in the car. This can be her favourite chew toy or a blanket that smells of home.
If your dog is particularly nervous when travelling in the car, then chat with your vet about what medication you can give your dog to help calm her nerves.
2. Create a safe room in your house
The holidays often come with a whole lot of socialising and visits from family members you haven’t seen all year. Having this constant stream of people in your house can be really overwhelming for your pet.
Because of this, you need to create a safe space or room in your house that your dog can escape to for some quiet time.
Make sure this room is off-limits to visitors.
Another thing to keep in mind - Do not force your dog to meet new people and hang around when he or she is clearly uncomfortable.
3. Be kind to your dog
It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Our busy schedules can often lead to our pets feeling left out. Try to give your dog as much verbal reinforcement as possible and spend quality time with him or her.
4. Stick to your routine as best you can
Between having your family stay over, cooking, wrapping endless presents, trying to sleep in and hitting the road to visit loved ones, it feels impossible to stick to your usual routine.
But disrupting your dog’s routine will cause a lot of unwanted stress (for both of you).
Dogs are like humans in that they experience stress when their routine is disrupted.
The trick is to make sure your dog’s diet and feeding times stay at the same to prevent any digestive issues. You also need to stick to your dog’s exercise routine. If you normally go for a walk every morning before work, then try to ensure you do this as much as possible.
5. Pay attention to the decorations you choose
The blinking and shining lights might seem magical to you, but to your pet, they can cause some anxiety. If your dog seems anxious and scared of the decorations you have chosen, then pay attention to his or her reactions and take them down. It will work out better for both of you in the long run. If your dog likes to chew things, then you need to place ornaments out of reach.
Any plants you choose to decorate your house with during the holidays can also pose a threat to your dog. Which is why you need to be mindful of what plants you choose. Mistletoe, for example, can be toxic to dogs. Have a look at what other holiday plants are considered dangerous for dogs.
6. Take special care during firework displays
Fireworks can be incredibly terrifying for dogs and cats alike and often lead to a number of pets escaping their gardens and homes to try and get away from the loud noises.
Have a look at this blog we wrote on how to ease your pet’s stress during firework displays: Pets & Fireworks: How To Care For Your Pets During Firework Displays.
From all of us at Oneplan Pet Insurance, we hope you and your furry members of the family have a wonderful holiday!
Yours in cuddle-worthy pet insurance,