Five Ways to Reduce Holiday Stress on Your Pet

The Holiday season is full swing! Holiday parties, visiting with friends and family, gift giving and other endless festivities. As much joy as this time of the year can bring, the change in schedule and busier pace can bring much unwanted stress not only to us but to our pets as well. Here are a few simple ways you can help relieve some of the pressure on your beloved pet, adding to everyone’s joy this holiday season!

Keep A Good Routine

A predictable routine is very important for a happy and healthy Fido! Your routine should be consistent but not inflexible; your goal should be to make sure specific things — meals, walks, and playtime — take place as close to the same time each day as possible. During the busy holiday season, it may also help to keep a checklist of your animal’s daily needs, especially if multiple family members are involved in the animal’s care — that way, you can be sure everything is getting done every day, at around the same time.

Exercise

Just as exercise and physical activity help us humans ease our stress and anxiety while keeping us physically fit, these same activities do the same for your pet.  Pets who are not getting enough exercise can become restless, irritable, hyperactive and anxious, not to mention gaining a few extra holiday pounds. Make a point of providing some type of exercise for your pet every day. There are many ways you can do this, including walks and physical play with toys — feel free add as much variety as you like, but be sure he gets a consistent amount every day. Chances are, you’ll see less bad behavior and will have a happier and more contended pet. As a extra bonus, this daily exercise can help lower your stress, too.

Keep That Brain Busy

Their physical body isn’t the only thing that needs exercise in the winter months. Your pets brain needs a workout too! Animals can get uptight and restless when they’re stuck in the house for too long. When you’re busy with holiday commitments, this can be a challenge. Feeding pets a small portion of their food out of food puzzles rather than a food bowl is a simple way to provide a brain teaser for them without much extra effort on your part, which is helpful when you’re busy with guests or other holiday activities. You can also create a treasure hunt of sorts for your dog by hiding treats or pieces of kibble around the house to help keep him busy while you’re away.

Snuggle Sessions

Set aside a block of time every day, perhaps in the evening after family and house guests have gone to bed, just to be with your dog and to love him. Forget that to-do list, and snuggle together on the sofa in front of the TV or a crackling fire, or put on some soothing music, or even read a book. Dogs are wonderful for helping us relieve stress so simply sitting quietly and snuggling with your pooch will help you relax and can even lower your blood pressure. Just a small amount of time every day petting and cuddling your Frenchie can work wonders, resetting and refreshing you both for another busy day.

 Ask For Help!

When your schedule is hectic, it can be helpful to have extra hands. Don’t be afraid to ask any holiday visitors or guests for help! Try this: When you’re busy cooking, if someone asks ,”Is there anything I can do?”-instead of insisting you’ve got it all covered, ask them to snuggle your pooch or take them on a walk. Most will be more than happy to oblige! Visitors can also help you train and entertain your pet. Ask guests to help your dog work on his manners by only rewarding or playing with your pet after he does a requested behavior, like a sit or a trick.  If you need even more help, consider hiring a dog walker, taking your pooch to a doggy day care or even boarding your dog elsewhere during the holidays. A good kennel/boarder makes it their job to spend time with the animal, which can be a huge relief to pet owners who are struggling to juggle holiday commitments of their own.

We hope these five simple tips will help ease any stress your pup may be experiencing during this usually hectic and busy time, making this holiday season just what it should be, a season of  full of hope, peace, joy and love (especially the puppy kind)!

About Kay McCarty

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