When their safe home environment changes, pets can get stressed. With the holiday season just around the corner, this can be a big reality to your beloved fur babies. Whether people are flocking to your home for the holidays or you’re the one doing all the travelling, your pet will feel this change. Reactions to stress can vary from over-excitement to physical manifestations (such as the common feather picking seen in birds).
Here are some tips to keep your pets calm and relaxed during the Christmas season:
- Provide them with a safe space – While some pets are naturally social, others are not. Giving them their own space to relax and hide from the crowd is always a good idea. Place their favourite toys or blankets there and keep it well-stocked with food and water so you don’t have to worry about them while you’re entertaining guests.
- Introduce a new toy – Keeping them entertained or distracted while the events are happening can help lessen their anxiety. New chew toys for dogs or scratch toys for cats are particularly helpful at relieving stress.
- Stick with some routine activities – Important routine such as feeding schedules and walking time should be fairly consistent. If you feed your pet first thing in the morning, they will continue to expect it (despite your busy schedule!). Suddenly stopping and changing their feeding time to lunch can be a cause of anxiety.
- Try to get in some exercise – This can help alleviate stress for both your and your pet. Your pet needs to release energy. Being cooped up at home during the holidays can make them restless and irritable.
- Give them some love – A hectic schedule may mean less time for your cats or dogs, but remember to take a break from all the merrymaking to give them a pat on the head, a scratch behind the ear or a snuggle just before bed.
Pet stress is easy to manage, especially with a little help from other people. Just one thing to keep in mind: it is important to supervise interactions between your pets and people they do not know – particularly children. If you feel that being exposed to too many people is starting to stress your pet, take them aside and give them time to relax and calm down.
We hope you and your pets enjoy the upcoming holidays!