Wouldn’t it be nice if we could be guaranteed a stress-free holiday season? Unfortunately that is not likely to happen. No matter how much we plan, shop, hustle, or bustle, we still can’t guarantee that the kids won’t discover the hiding spot for the gifts, or that the packages we ship arrive on time, or that Uncle Dan won’t have a few too many eggnogs and tell inappropriate jokes around the holiday table (like he did last year).

While we may not be able to plan our way out of a certain amount of holiday turmoil, there’s a lot we can do to make this time of year as comfortable and free of stress for our pets as possible.

Décor Dilemmas

Holiday decorations signal the start of the season for many of us. Take a discerning look at your décor this year and remove anything that may pose a danger to your pet.

While it may seem a bit bah-humbug to leave the poinsettia or real candles out of your decor, not having to worry about what your pet is up to when you leave the room will contribute to a more relaxed holiday season for both you and your pet.

Planning Is Key To A Low-Stress Holiday Gathering

Taking a few moments to plan accordingly for your pet’s comfort and safety before the holiday festivities begin will go a long way toward reducing stress and anxiety for both you and your furry friend.

  • Do your best to maintain your pet’s normal feeding, play, and exercise routines throughout the holidays.
  • If possible, give your pet some extra exercise before guests arrive to reduce hyperactivity and stress.
  • Use a pheromone product such as Feliway to help reduce your cat’s stress levels.
  • Even the most gregarious pet can easily become overwhelmed by the noise and confusion of a holiday gathering. 
  • Provide pets with a quiet, out of the way spot to escape the crowd, furnished with their bedding and fresh water for maximum comfort.
  • Don’t give pets any table scraps, and make sure your guests don’t either. 
  • Many foods regularly found at our holiday tables can be dangerous for pets, such as chocolate, fatty foods, certain spices, and anything sweetened with Xylitol.
  • Pets can easily slip out of an open front door or gate during the hubbub of guests coming and going. 
  • For your pet’s safety and your peace of mind, make sure he or she is wearing a collar with ID tags and have his or her microchip updated if you haven’t already.

Don’t Forget Downtime

It’s a well-known fact that cuddling with pets lowers stress levels, both for them and for us. Take extra opportunities this holiday season to just relax with your four-legged friend, breathe in the beauty of the season, and relish in the bond you share with your pet.

From all of us at Union Lake Veterinary Hospital, we wish you, your pet, and your family the happiest of holidays!