a dog in a Christmas costume

Pets Can Stress over the Holidays too!

Pets do best when they have routines. However, a big holiday like Christmas can particularly send your routines up the chimney. The result can be a stressed out pet.

While some pets may handle changes in stride, frequently pets react to the changes without owners even realizing it. For example, a pet can stress when you have unfamiliar family and friends over. They have unfamiliar scents and the increased noise and activity can actually scare them. Another stress factor is family leaving for holiday but leaving the pet behind. Simply putting up a Christmas tree with lights and presents around the tree could be a stress trigger for a pet.

In any case, pets can “misbehave” due to the stress. For example, a dog may begin urinating in inappropriate places. A cat may take to scratching furniture to relieve its stress. And if the pet is scolded or punished as a result, this only compounds the stress. This will most likely only create more problems. Our team here at Advanced Pet Care Clinic would like to give you some tips on how to help minimize stress for your pet over the holidays. 

Try to Keep Your Pet’s Routines

Keep to your pet’s routines as best you can. This includes feeding times, sleep times, and play times with your pet.  For example, if you normally feed your cat first thing in the morning or walk your dog after lunch, do this every day, even on days when you sleep a little later than usual or serve a big dinner mid-afternoon.

Give your Pet Some Attention

Even if your schedule gets hectic with the holidays don’t forget to include your pet in your “To Do” list. This might be as simple as letting your pet snuggle on your lap while you watch a show. This may relieve some of your stress for you too!

Exercise and Play with Your Pet

When pets are inactive they can become restless, irritable, hyperactive and anxious. Pets need exercise and play just like we do. Play helps to relieve stress. Give your pet an early Christmas gift of a new toy to play with. But don’t just give them the toy and walk away. Play with them. Interact with them as much as you can. Chances are, you’ll see less anxiety or bad behavior in your pet. 

Calming Music Can Do Wonders

You can find lots of relaxing music on YouTube for your pet. YouTube has music for dogs and cats. But you can find music for rabbits, birds, etc. too.  It’s great to have for other stressful situations like, storms, fireworks, etc.

Get Others to Help When You Can

If you have a busy schedule, get help when you can. This could be family or friends, dog day care or a house sitter. For example, if your pet will allow it visitors can help. They can help with such things as, taking your dog for a walk, feeding or playing with your pets. If someone else gets charge of your pet, make sure they have all the details such as pet feeding schedule, medications, and ensure your pet will get plenty of play and exercise. 

In summary, while holidays can sometimes be a bit stressful, there are things you can do to relieve your pet’s stress which will help you have a better behaved pet. And that means less stress for you. 

Wishing you the best holiday,

Dr. Tammy Stevenson
Advanced Pet Care Clinic