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Sunday, December 7, 2008

De-Stress Your Dog's Holiday

It's hectic enough for you. Just imagine what the holidays must be like to your dog or cat, who don't understand why there's a tree in the house, people scurrying about, and lots of tempting decorations, presents, and goodies strewn all over the place.

Holidays are fun for all of us, but they can cause too much stress for your pet. The results: sick or frightened animals who act out with destructive or even aggressive behaviors.
Here are some ways to make sure your indoor animals make it through the holidays with as much good cheer as you do:

  • Provide a quiet resting place for them. Crates are great for dogs, because they offer a safe haven. Cats should have their own areas in which to curl up and escape the turmoil.
  • Make sure your dog gets adequate exercise. If you routinely walk him every morning, keep it up throughout the holidays. Exercise will do more to relieve his stress than anything, and it will add a degree of “normalcy” to his schedule.

  • Stick to your pets' regular healthful diets, and avoid feeding rich treats and scraps of leftovers. Keep their digestive tracts on track!

  • “Protect” your dog from visiting children and other company that can agitate or overstimulate him. Letting him wear a leash in the house will help you manage him more closely by keeping him with you.

  • Keep ornaments, extension cords, and bowls of candy and other goodies out of your pet's reach.

  • Make sure your pet has adequate identification in case he gets out. Animals who are stressed can bolt out a door and run far and fast. Identification is even more important if you're traveling away from home with your pet.

Despite the stress that many folks feel during December, it's one of the nicest time of the year for most of us. It can be nice for your dog or cat too, as long as you remember their need for routine, even in the midst of chaos!

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