By Stefani Fortney ABDT, groomer and trainer The holiday season is upon us. For us human-types, this time of year can be great. Presents, fancy meals, decorations, nostalgia, and family all come together to give us the warm fuzzies. For our pets, though, the holidays can be a time of major stress. So, as you prepare to celebrate with friends and family, try to ensure that your pets enjoy the holidays as much as you do with these holiday safety tips.
Here are some holiday safety tips to make the season bright for your furry friends.
Pets thrive on routine, habit, and ritual. Every day, I explain this to at least one new pet owner. Having an established routine each day gives them a sense of security and helps them to know what to expect from life. The holidays can throw a wrench in our pet’s day-to-day routines. Sleep schedules, mealtimes, and potty breaks can become irregular—and that can lead to anxiety and stress for Fido and Fluffy. So, as you bustle through the next few weeks, try to keep schedules and routines regular for your pets.
Offer A Safe Space
Have you ever been at a party or gathering and felt completely overwhelmed? Our pets can easily feel that same sense of everything just being “too much.” The holidays are a time when we have more company than usual, which can lead to our pets becoming stressed. Make a safe space in your house where they can go to relax and unwind. A bedroom, laundry room, or even a crate in a quiet corner can be a retreat for a pet who’s had enough social time. Provide something soft to snuggle into, a toy to engage with, and some soft music to lower stress levels.
Holiday decorations are fun. I know that. But… they can also be a danger to our pets. Keep your furry companion’s safety in mind when decorating. Garland, tinsel, wreaths, lights, ornaments and lights look like toys and food to animals. Don’t assume that your dog or cat won’t chew up, knock over, ingest, break, or otherwise cause mayhem with your decorations. Be as careful decorating around your pets as you would around a toddler. Save yourself a ton of money in broken decorations or (even worse) vet bills.
Don’t Feed Them That
This one is pretty self-explanatory. I know it’s tempting to slip some holiday goodies to your pet. You really shouldn’t. Apart from the fact that some foods that are poisonous, adding any foods that your pet isn’t accustomed to can cause vomiting, diarrhea, or pancreatitis. It’s no fun to clean up puke puddles on Christmas morning. Stick to their regular diet with a couple of their normal treats thrown in for good measure.
Teach Holiday Manners All Year
The holidays can bring out the worst behavior in our pets. The company, the food, the gifts, the decorations… they can turn our sweet fur babies into horrible fur nuisances. Take the time throughout the year to teach your pets behaviors that will help prepare them to be good holiday companions. Sit, Down, Leave It, Place, and Off are all behaviors that can come in handy when trying to enjoy sharing holiday celebrations with furry family.
If you need some help teaching your pet the basics of good manners, Guthrie Pet Hospital is here to help! Call us at (405) 282-8796 and ask how Stef can help you harness your dog’s learning potential.