It isn’t only humans who experience stress and anxiety during the holiday season. Dogs are often adversely affected by their humans’ change in routine and by the unexpected arrival of holiday guests. However, a little careful planning can go a long way to ease your dog’s anxiety!
Stick to a familiar routine as much as possible.
Animals appreciate the familiarity of routines. One of the reasons why the holidays can cause stress for dogs is that their family’s routine changes. You might stay out late at holiday parties and do extra shopping on the weekends, for instance. It’s best to keep your dog’s routine the same as much as possible. Keep walking your dog at the same time every day and play with your dog as usual. If your dog takes medications, you might want to set a reminder alarm on your phone, as the changes in your own routine might make you forget to administer the medicine.
Give your dog plenty of exercise.
Before your holiday guests arrive, take your dog out for a long walk or run. Well-exercised, tired dogs are more likely to nap during all the chaos. They’re also more likely to be well-behaved.
Establish a safe zone for your dog.
You can create a stress-free retreat in your home for your dog. Designate one room as off-limits to guests (post a sign on the door that says “Please Do Not Open”). Stock the room with plenty of toys, your dog’s favorite bed, and of course, the water dish. Your dog probably wouldn’t say no to a few extra treats too.
Make introductions gradually.
Often, the most chaotic part of receiving holiday guests takes place when they first arrive. If you think your dog will do well with the guests, keep him or her in the off-limits room at first. When all of the guests have arrived and settled in, you can check on your dog. If he or she seems calm, bring your dog out on a leash to meet the guests.
If you’ll be visiting family out of town this holiday season, you can board your dog at Horizon Animal Hospital. Our pet hotel uses a high-pressure power washing system to ensure cleanliness throughout the facility. You can reach us in Scottsdale at (480) 800-4559 to reserve a kennel for your pup.