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Soothing Holiday Stress with Your Dog

Soothing Holiday Stress with Your Dog

Posted by Fat Sam's for Pets on Dec 7th 2023

As the festive season unfolds, our homes come alive with the joyous spirit of Christmas. However, amid the cheerful chaos of decorations, gatherings, and festivities, our furry friends, especially dogs, might find themselves confused, stressed and overwelmed. (just like us, ha!) 

Your loyal pup is so tuned into you, your emotions and your schedule. The comforting predictability of household routines has been upended by flashing lights, people in and out and so many things: 

  •  the arrival of a large tree in the living room with don’t-touch ornaments 
  •  the smell of oh-so-tempting goodies from the oven 
  •  the not so welcome appearance of strangers and relatives

Recognize signs of stress in your dog. You probably know, common indicators include restlessness, excessive barking, trembling, pacing, or changes in appetite. Identifying these cues early enables proactive measures to keep your pet calm and comfortable. Look for these clues: 

  • Loss of appetite 
  • Lack of energy and interest 
  • Lip licking and/or yawning 
  • Becoming boisterous or whining 
  • Hiding, cowering or ignoring your calls 
  • Chewing up sofa pillows are comforters that they have left untouched in the past 
  • Turning into a velcro dog, shadowing your every step 
  • Bathroom accidents in the house after years of stellar potty habits 

If left unaddressed, these behaviors can continue and possibly compound. Here are a few things you can do to help your pooch relax and enjoy the holiday changes.  

Create a Tranquil Retreat

Establish a designated safe space within your home where your dog can retreat when the holiday festivities become overwhelming. Outfit this space with their favorite toys, blankets, and perhaps an unwrapped present or two. A familiar and comfortable environment offers a retreat when the excitement becomes too much.

Limit Exposure to Festive Hazards

Christmas decorations and treats, while delightful for us, can pose hazards to our dogs. Keep potentially harmful items, such as tinsel, ornaments, and chocolate, out of reach. The ingestion of these items can lead to serious health issues. Ensure that your Christmas tree is securely anchored to prevent accidental toppling.

Maintain Regular Exercise and Routine

Amidst the holiday hustle and bustle, it's easy to neglect our pets' regular routines. However, maintaining their usual exercise schedule and feeding times provides a sense of normalcy. Regular walks and playtime contribute to physical and mental well-being, helping to alleviate stress.

Use Calming Aids

Consider using calming aids such as full spectrum CBD oil, treats or infused peanut butter, pheromone diffusers, pet-approved essential oil calming sprays, or even calming music specifically designed for dogs. These aids can help sooth and minimize stress and anxiety during the festive season.

Prepare Them for Guests

If your home will be bustling with guests, prepare your dog for the increased activity. Gradually acclimate them to new people by introducing guests one at a time. Remind visitors to approach your dog calmly and avoid overwhelming gestures. Providing a quiet space for your dog to retreat to can also help them manage social interactions at their own pace.

Stay Mindful of Changes in Diet

With holiday feasts come tempting treats, but it's crucial to avoid sharing certain foods with your dog. Some holiday staples, like chocolate, bones, and rich dishes, can be harmful to pets. Ensure your guests are aware of what not to feed your dog and maintain their regular diet to avoid digestive issues.

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Christmas is a time for joy and togetherness, and by taking a few proactive steps, we can ensure that our canine companions enjoy the festivities stress-free. From introducing calming supplements like CBD to creating a safe haven and maintaining routines, these strategies can make a significant difference in keeping your dog calm and content during the holiday season. 

As we celebrate, let's make sure our four-legged friends have a festive and stress-free Christmas too.