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A Stress-Free Holiday With Your Pet

This time of year is full of joy, celebration, and giving. However, for our furry friends, the holidays may feel like a chaotic Griswold family gathering. To avoid the yap-yap-yappiest holiday, follow our stress-free festivities tips.

Signs of Stress in Your Pet

Your pet may be stressed if you notice the following:

• Lip licking
• Pacing
• Drooling
• Excessive yawning
• Hiding
• House soiling
• Upset stomach

Create a Quiet Place for Your Pet

Both puppies and adult dogs benefit from the availability of a den-like safe space. This area will allow them to retreat from the holiday chaos. It should be free from noise, seasonal decorations, and untended garbage.

Ideally, your pet has a covered crate that is accessible year-round. In a pinch, an open closet with a soft bed or an unused bathroom with their favorite blanket, toy, and water bowl may provide the peace your pet seeks. A plug-in diffuser with natural pet pheromones and soft music can calm your pet.

Decorate with Your Pet in Mind

Some plants are dangerous to pets and should be avoided in the home, no matter the season.

• Poinsettias
• Amaryllis
• Mistletoe
• Holly
• Christmas Cacti

Avoid potpourri and other fragrant oils that your pet may be unable to resist sampling. Live Christmas trees can pose a danger as the stagnant water can cause gastrointestinal disorders if consumed. Decorative tinsel is attractive but can cause blockages and is especially appealing to cats. Festive strings of lights and ornaments are chewing hazards, and candles can lead to burning injuries or house fires if toppled over by excitable pets.

Don’t feed table scraps; instead, stuff a hollow chew toy with white rice cooked in turkey broth for a tasty treat that keeps your pet occupied and out of harm’s way.

Safe decorations include properly secured artificial trees with soft ornaments placed on higher tree branches and battery-operated lighting.

Keep Your Pet Active

A tired dog means a happy dog and owner!

Keep your pet’s exercise routine consistent, and make time for regular walks. Is the weather too cold for a trip to the park? Enrichment toys like snuffle mats or playing hide and seek with their kibble indoors is mentally exhausting and as beneficial as physical exercise. If you are occupied in the kitchen, a helpful friend or relative may be up for playing a game of fetch with your pet; some dogs and cats will chase a laser light and expend pent-up energy.

Hire a Dog Walker or Pet Sitter

If you are overwhelmed with balancing holiday activities with spending quality time with your pet or planning to travel during the holidays, consider hiring a dog walker or pet sitter.

A dog walker will give you peace of mind that your pet is still receiving attention and exercise while you’re away. When holiday festivities keep you away from home for several hours, pre-arrange a mid-day walk, playtime, and a dinnertime feeding.

Seasonal travel can be hard on pets who appreciate the familiarity of home. Set a meet and greet with a trusted pet sitter before your trip. Pet sitters can learn your pet’s routine and provide comfort care so everyone can have a joyous and stress-free holiday season.

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