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North Hills Monthly

Holiday Pet Safety Tips: How to Give Your Pets a Stress-free Holiday

Oct 31, 2019 04:01PM ● By North Hills Monthly magazine

How to Give Your Pets a Stress-free Holiday

By Veronica Rigatti, Canine Behavior Technician

With the holiday season upon us, there is plenty of excitement in the air—from presents and parties to food and holiday visitors. We want the holidays to be fun, festive and safe for our friends and family, and of course, that includes our four-legged family members, too. How can we help our pets enjoy the holiday season while staying safe and stress-free?

During this time of year, you may have guests coming and going. With the extra commotion, pets can easily slip out of an open door unnoticed. Block any doorways that lead outside with a gate or exercise pen to prevent an accidental escape. You can also keep your pets in a bedroom, office or other room that is closed off from any exterior doors. You should keep collars on your pets with identification and make sure they are implanted with a microchip so they can find their way back home if they do get lost.

If your pets get anxious or stressed around new people, loud noises or unfamiliar children, find a quiet room where they will be calm and comfortable. This should be a space that your guests won’t be visiting where you can check in on them periodically. Other helpful tools that can ease holiday stress are pheromone sprays or diffusers, soothing music or treats, and toys and puzzles that will occupy your pet’s attention. You can also find plenty of enrichment activities on Animal Friends’ website that will keep your dog’s, cat’s or rabbit’s minds busy.

You know your pets better than anyone, so make your holiday guests aware of things that might make them feel nervous, uncomfortable or fearful. Educate visitors about how to interact with your animals—for example, if they don’t like to have their paws touched, or how to react if they jump, or whether they enjoy being picked up and held. If you will have children visiting, any interactions they have with your animals should be supervised by an adult.

In the event that you will have other animals paying a visit to your home, be sure to have plenty of food and water bowls, toys, treats and other resources. Giving your pet a chance to burn off some extra energy before guests arrive can help them to relax when the party starts, too. If you plan to travel with your pets for the holidays, it is safest to transport them secured in a crate or with a harness and tether.

Don’t forget, Animal Friends is always here to help. Visit www.ThinkingOutsideTheCage.org for details about training classes and for information and resources from our Behavior Team. No matter what you have in store for the holidays, we want to help you and your pets make the most of this special time of year.