Happy Howlidays, Meowy Christmas?
December 12, 2017
The holidays are fast approaching! Even for we humans, holiday cheer and holiday stress can combine in odd ways to create a mix of emotions. For pets, the holidays can be an even stranger time. Let’s talk about how to help make the holidays smooth sailing for your pet.
(Obviously you know your pet best – some are social butterflies and some are wallflowers – so not every one of these points will apply to every pet.)
- Many pets thrive on routine, but during the holidays many things can disrupt their normal routines: House guests, parties, travel, shopping, baking, and many more. As much as possible, try to keep things relatively similar to normal. Making sure your pet has adequate physical and mental stimulation will help them weather any changes like a champ. Mealtimes, social time, walks, and other normal activities don’t have to happen exactly on schedule, but try to more or less keep things comparable.
- Some pets have never met a stranger, and some pets are uncomfortable with new people. Even the most social dog can be overwhelmed by large, noisy gatherings. Children can be especially intimidating for dogs who aren’t used to them. Be aware of the signs of stress in dogs and cats, and if in doubt set your pet up a quiet, comfortable sanctuary away from all the action.
- What would the holidays be without food? Small amounts of cooked lean meats and most fruits and vegetables aren’t harmful, but many foods are problematic. The ASPCA has a nice list of foods to avoid sharing with your pet.
- If you’re traveling with your pet, you can call the clinic for advice on dealing with anxiety or motion sickness in the car. Once at your destination, again be aware of your pet’s stress level; if they seem overwhelmed, set them up a private, quiet area where they can relax and get used to the change in surroundings.
- Decorations are irresistible to many pets. If you have a tree, consider anchoring it so it can’t be knocked over. If your pet is attracted to ornaments, consider shatter-proof bulbs or other non-breakable ornaments. And remember that many cats like to eat tinsel, which can cause a life-threatening intestinal blockage.
We want your whole family to have a safe and happy holiday, including your pets! As always, if you have any questions you can call the clinic to speak to one of our doctors or staff.
Karen Christopherson DVM