Friends, family, and festivities, these are the three F’s of the holiday season. Unfortunately for our dogs, fear can be the fourth F. Around the holidays we tend to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season, often leaving Spot confused, anxious, and stressed to the max. Here are a few ways to keep our furry friends feeling festive! (Say that three times fast!)
- Keep a schedule. If you always take a walk first thing in the morning, or head to the dog park after work, keep that schedule. Sometimes it’s hard when trying to prepare a lovely brunch for guests or to squeeze in some last minute shopping before the stores close but maintaining a normal routine can keep your dogs feeling calm and secure.
- Update information. At times, especially around the holidays, your front door can seem like a revolving door at a department store. You have guests entering and exiting, making multiple trips to the car to unload baggage or all those shopping bags filled with gifts. This sets up the perfect situation for your pups to plan their escape . So, make sure their tags are up to date with your contact information and if they have microchips that their online profiles are up to date as well–just in case their sinister plan to run free with the squirrels proves to be successful.
- Designate a safe spot. With guests coming and going and new smells filling your home, your dog can get a little overwhelmed by it all. Be sure they have an area away from the action where they can go to get away from all the energy. This can also be a good place to keep you dog away from the door when guests are arriving. That way you can introduce your dog slowly instead of all at once.
- Decorate with care. While Decking the Halls keep in mind that dogs like to explore their surroundings with their mouths. Try to keep toxic holiday plants like Poinsettias, Mistletoe, Holly and Christmas Cacti OFF the ground and keep lights, ornaments, and tinsel out of paws reach. These shiny decorations can entice dogs (and cats) to chew, posing the risk of choking or electric shock.
- Avoid a feast for your beast. You and your guests may be tempted to share all of your delicious cooking with your pets this holiday season. However, it is important to set rules for table scraps and treats and to share those boundaries with your guests. A few extra holiday pounds are often easy to shed for humans come spring but a few pounds on your pup can put a lot more stress on their bodies. Also, keep treats that contain chocolate, raisins/grapes, mushrooms, or macadamia nuts away from dogs as they can be toxic. Lastly, Don’t forget to put any leftover poultry bones out of reach. Dogs may beg for them but they can be extremely dangerous if ingested.
- Plan ahead. If you are traveling this holiday season be sure that you make plans for Spot in advance. If your doggies will be joining you on your travels be sure that you have all of their luggage including leashes, harnesses, food, beds, toys etc. It can be stressful for your dog to encounter a new place so having the comforts of home (and the smells of home) can make the change a little easier. If your pet can’t join you, make arrangements for a pet sitter, kennel or pet resort early enough to ensure you pup will be well taken care of in your absence.***Note: If you do choose to use a kennel or pet resort make sure your pup is up to date on all vaccines required and you have the paper work to prove it. If not, running around at the last minute could be a major stressor for you!
- Remember to play. Your dogs can sense your anxious energy caused by the anticipation of homes filled to the brim with people, the wonder of a snow covered lawn, and food for as far as the eye can see so be sure to include them in your fun too. Have extra-long play sessions before guests arrive or go on a special trip to your local Three Dog Bakery to pick out some grrr-eat stocking stuffers!
The holidays are a time to be merry and joyous so sit, stay, relax and enjoy the holidays with your family and friends (both two AND four legged)!
“YAPPY HOWL-IDAYS” from all of us here at Three Dog Bakery!