Dinners. Decorations. Guests. Gifts. Parties.
No matter what you celebrate, the holidays are a super busy time and can jangle the nerves for just about anybody. Having a dog by your side may help alleviate your stress, but what about your pet? Disruption of schedules, new faces and places and the overall hectic vibes of the season can take a toll on your four-legged family members. Here’s how to help everyone cope and enjoy a happy and hopefully stress-free holiday season.
Before you go dashing through the snow – or to the mall – be sure your dog’s schedule is sorted. Dogs are creatures of habit. If you’re unable to stick to the regular routine, consider checking out the trusted pet-sitters and dog-walkers on Rover.com to help stick to the schedule.
Move it or Lose it
The best way to keep your dog stress-free and happy is with exercise. Long walks, dog parks and even a vigorous game of fetch or tug-of-war can release pent-up tension and burn energy in the best possible way. A worn-out dog is a happy dog.
Some dogs adore making new friends, others can’t stand it, and many fall somewhere in between. Be sure to advise guests to treat your dog gently and with respect. Consider providing a cozy spot filled with doggy distractions to keep your dog occupied instead of barking or getting excited with the arrival of company. And don’t forget to keep your eye on the door. Some dogs can quite literally get lost in the shuffle, or make a break for it when a door is left ajar.
It’s tempting to have your dog share in all the festivities, but remember that holiday snacks and decor may not be safe for your pet. Nothing can ruin a holiday faster than a dog eating the wrong table scraps or getting into toxic plants. Consider gifting your dog a special chewy toy or puzzle to keep her busy with her own special treats.
With all the holiday hoopla, it’s no wonder many dogs act out. Marking their turf, destructive behaviour and even aggression can surface during the season. To keep your dog away from the naughty list, re-connect with him whenever you can. Holiday hikes, training games and even just cozying up together re-enforces the bond and eases any potential insecurities.
Who’s a good boy?
Your dog wants to please you. Being a good boy or girl can help maintain your dog’s self-confidence and lead to a calmer, more relaxed pet. Praise and rewards go a long way. Even though “normal life” may be on pause during the festive season, your dog only sees upheaval. Positive re-enforcement will discourage neediness and curb negative behaviours.
Dogs pick up on the energy of the house, so if you’re feeling stressed about the holidays, chances are your dog may feel it too. Petting your dog will relax both of you. Weather permitting, nothing calms the nerves like being out in nature. So take a deep breath, pat your pooch, and enjoy all that the festive season has to offer.