Pets & Holiday Safety, Stress, and Anxiety
Keep pets safe this holiday season!
During the holidays there are often many changes. Changes to routines and schedules. There are often new sights, new and unique sounds, and many different smells. There are also new people or strangers, and households can become busy with company or large dinners.
Theses sudden changes can make cats and dogs upset. They can become stressed and anxious. They many feel unsafe and confused.
There are a few simple things that we can do to ensure that our pets stay safe, comfortable and happy.
First, become aware of stress signals and be able to recognize stress in your pet.
If you are having company over for the holidays, to stay for a longer period or just for a dinner, to reduce stress in your DOG:
- Give your dog extra exercise before your guests arrive
- Give your dog extra attention before your guests arrive
- Provide your dog with a "safe space" that your dog can access to get away from all the noise and people. This may be a crate, an extra room, any quiet area your dog can relax. Provide a soft comfortable bed, toys, water, and everything your dog may need in this area. Let your dog come and go and he or she pleases.
- Give your dog something to do during meal time or times you want your dog quiet and occupied. Independent items such as a Kong, a bone, or a puzzle/feeding toy.
- Always supervise your dog with children. For both your dogs safety and the child's safety.
- Use baby gates to keep your dog out of specific areas
If you are having company over for the holidays, to stay for a longer period or just for a dinner, to reduce stress in your CAT:
- Play with your cat for an extra long time before your guests arrive
- Provide your cat with a "safe space" that your cat can access to get away from all the noise and people. A place your cat can hide. Use an extra room or any quiet area that your cat can relax in away from other people and sounds. Provide a soft comfortable bed, toys, water, litter box and everything else your cat may need in this area. Let your cat come and go and he or she pleases.
- Let your cat interact with other guests as he or she wishes, don't force anything
- Use treats and toys to get a cat to interact and feel comfortable with others
- Let your cat feel in control of their surroundings, by letting them choose when they want to interact and when they want to be left alone
Some other Safety Issues to Consider for cats and dogs during the holidays:
- Do not feed your dog or cat cooked bones. Cooked bones can splinter and cause intestinal blockages or lacerations. Raw bones are fine to feed.
- Be careful your pet does not have access to chocolate or other sweets
- Cats and dogs often enjoy munching on plants, but mistletoe, holly, and poinsettias are toxic plants.
- Ensure that your tree is well secured
- Be careful with tinsel and ribbons, as intestinal issues can occur if ingested. Cats love to play with tinsel!
- Do not leave ribbons or string out. Cats can play with them and accidentally wrap the ribbon around their neck.
- Cords for lights need to be securely hidden, especially from pets that like to chew
- Do not place candles in areas where a pet can knock them over, never leave a candle burning unsupervised
- Water additives for Christmas trees are hazardous to pets that drink the water from the base of the tree
- When guests come over, inform them if your pet is allowed outside. Pets often escape or run onto dangerous roads when doors are left open.