The holidays can be equal parts exciting and exhausting, especially if you’re doing any hosting. If you have pets in your home, your animals probably feel the same way. With a lot of people coming and going, many of them unfamiliar to your pets, the introduction of a Christmas tree or other decorations, and changes in daily routines, even the most laid-back pooch may get a little stressed.
We’ve come up with a few ideas for ways your family can reduce your pet’s anxiety and help them to have a fun, safe holiday season:
-Make sure any potentially dangerous decorations are safely out of reach. Things like candles, glass ornaments, and scent diffusers are especially popular household items this time of year. Keeping anything toxic or hot well out of an animal’s easy reach can help you avoid a tragedy, whether it’s a vet visit or a fire.
-Let visitors know ahead of time that you have pets and coordinate with them to call when they arrive. This can reduce the number of door knocks that may over-excite some dogs, as well as avoid accidental escapes.
-Watch food carefully. “Counter surfing” pets are drawn to the tasty aromas of holiday cooking, but they might eat things left out unattended that can make them sick (and not everyone considers cat hair a condiment!)
-If young children will be visiting your home, be sure to supervise any interactions with your pets. Not all kids know how to treat animals respectfully, and even gentle, patient animals may bite or scratch if they feel cornered or harassed. If your pets show any sign that they’re overwhelmed, be sure to remove them from the situation immediately.
-Have a safe place your pets can retreat to. While small animals and birds will probably be fine in their cages, dogs and cats are sometimes locked in bedrooms or bathrooms out of necessity. Make sure to have plenty of toys, nice blankets that smell like their favorite human, chew toys, beds, crates, or cat trees to help them feel secure.
-If needed, try a calming treat or supplement. Many animals react well to a gentle herbal calming supplement. Compression garments, such as a Thunder Shirt (www.thudershirt.com), or special pheromone diffusers like Feliway (feliway.com) are also useful. Don’t be afraid to experiment to find what works best for your pet.
-Be prepared. When animals are excited or their routines change, there may be an unavoidable “accident” in the house. Keep Skout’s Honor Stain & Odor Remover and Urine Destroyer handy to help clean up – just in case. Skout’s Honor also works on other holiday messes, such as food and wine stains and muddy footprints!
It’s not always easy to balance holiday social gatherings, travel, and our roles as pet parents, but the love our pets show us throughout the year makes it all worthwhile. We at Skout’s Honor wish you a season of cheer and good friends, two-legged, four-legged, winged and scaled!