The holiday season is always a fun time for everyone. But no matter how cheerful the festivities get and how big the parties may be, there is one member of the household who may not find the events fun and would rather stay somewhere void of any sound: your pet.
Cats and dogs couldn’t stand loud stimuli and large crowds as well as humans do. They can be severely stressed by it that it often results in anxiety and other destructive behavior. But that’s not the only roadblock you have to face. Decorations and even certain holiday dishes can be dangerous to dogs, if you don’t keep a close eye on them.
It certainly goes without saying that taking precautionary methods is the best way to create a stress-free holiday for pets. Below you’ll find a few tips and recommendations to make the Christmas and New Year season a fun time for both you and your beloved animal companions.
How Dog Owners Can Ensure a Stress-Free Holiday for Pets
Foods and drinks
- Chocolates, sweets, and alcohol should be kept AWAY from your pets. It is a well-documented fact that chocolates and sweets are extremely lethal to animals, and this includes the artificial sweetener Xylitol. Alcoholic drinks too can drive pets to coma or even much worse consequences. Make sure you keep all these substances away from your pet’s reach at all times. You may store sweets and chocolates inside a snap lock container to prevent your pet from opening them.
- Avoid feeding leftover meals. An animal’s digestive system is not structured the same way as a human’s is, so their stomachs might not be able to handle spicy and fatty foods. Consuming these foods may result in food poisoning, stomachache, or something far worse. Bones are a no-no as well, since this can cause choking and tearing of the intestinal tract. To ensure a stress-free holiday for pets, know what not to feed them.
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- Keeping the fridge and garbage off-limits to prying pets. While it is easy to prevent your pet from going near the fridge, the garbage area can be quite a challenge. Garbage may be unappetizing for humans, but for your four-legged pal, it’s basically a pot of good food waiting to be devoured. Trash poses all sorts of danger for cats and dogs, including sharp objects and chemical (read: poisonous) house cleaners. Make sure you throw your garbage immediately after each meal so your pet can’t dig through it.
- Christmas tree needles can be painful for cats and dogs. If you have a real pine tree decoration at home, make sure to clean up the needles regularly. The prickly needles are sharp and could end up getting stuck on your pet’s paws.
- Hang decorations high up where the dog can’t reach it. Cats and puppies are perhaps the most guilty of playing with anything that is both shiny and dangling. So if you’d like your decorations to see the light of day, make sure you put it where your curious pet can’t reach them.
- Fence that tree. Aside from Christmas tree decorations, the tree water can also be enticing for your pets. To prevent them from getting anywhere near the Christmas tree, consider installing a fence or a little playpen to keep them away from the tree and the gifts that lie beneath it.
Fireworks, shouting, and other noise-cracking festivities
There are certain dogs who have grown desensitized to the sound of fireworks or other loud sounds. A good example are hunting dogs, who are quite accustomed to the sounds of hunting rifles. However, the same thing cannot be said for the majority of dog breeds. This makes the holiday season a particularly stressful time for dogs and their human owners.
Most pets run away at the first boom of the firecracker, so to ensure a stress-free holiday for pets, every owner should make it a point to follow these steps:
- Arrange an accommodation away from the fireworks display. You have hundreds of options for this. You can choose a trusted friend’s home or a doggie day care. All you need to make sure is that the animal is familiar with the area. If not, you’ll have to take him or her over there for a few times until they grow comfortable in it.
- Give them a room or a space of their own. Like children, dogs may feel overwhelmed at the sight of multiple strangers. Their reaction tends to vary from hiding away in fear to getting aggressive, something you definitely wouldn’t want happening. To manage this, you can always give the animal a place to rest like a room of their own. Hand them familiar objects like a chew toy, some water, and their bed to help them stay calm. Do check on them every once in awhile to make sure they’re doing okay.
- Desensitize your pet to the sound of fireworks. You can slowly introduce your pet to noise before the actual fireworks display begins. Search for firework sounds on YouTube or other apps. Start at low volume then slowly increase the sound as soon as your pet starts showing signs of relaxation.
- Snap that GPS tracker on! As mentioned above, dogs tend to run away and seek shelter when they feel threatened. This doesn’t just happen on Christmas or New Year’s day, this happens on other holidays like the Fourth of July as well. Devices like the Trackimo GPS tracker can be of great help for owners during these days. It provides essential information such as the exact and real-time location of your pet.
Keep in mind that it only takes a little effort to create a stress-free holiday for pets. Please feel free to share the these tips with your family and friends if you found them useful so they too can enjoy the season with their furry friends.
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