For all of us, the holidays bring excitement and joy but sometimes also a bit of anxiety. Our pets don’t always experience the joy but they can definitely feel the stress! Here are some tips to keep them as healthy and happy as possible during the holiday season:
- Keep decorations and rich foods out of reach as much as possible for pets, particularly if they are young and curious! A trip to the emergency vet on a holiday can certainly make things less merry and bright.
- When hosting a party or numerous house guests, be sure your pets have an easily accessible retreat available if they seek solitude. Depending on the needs of individual pets, it may be best to keep them confined to a crate or spare room away from the hubbub. Also, be sure your pets wear identification at all times and ideally have a microchip implanted; it is not uncommon for animals to escape during holiday chaos.
- Try to be as consistent as possible with your pets’ daily routine, including meals and exercise. Like young children, animals do best when they know what to expect. Although days off from work and travel plans may affect your schedule, maintaining normalcy for your pet will keep him/her more comfortable.
- If you plan to board your pets or hire a pet sitter when you travel, make arrangements in advance. Many kennels and pet services are very busy this time of year and may not have space available at the last minute. In order to minimize stress at drop off, be sure that your pets’ vaccinations are up-to-date and that all necessary documentation is available to you.
- Carefully consider all aspects of pet ownership before giving an animal as a holiday gift. Pets require time, energy, money and lifelong care. Although the idea of a puppy under the Christmas tree may be adorable, the reality is that many pets received as gifts are later surrendered.
- If your pets are afraid of loud noises, consider preparing them for New Year’s fireworks. There are numerous products on the market to help alleviate their fears and soothe their anxiety.
If you need more information about pets and holiday safety, we encourage you to speak with your veterinarian to determine the best plan for your pet’s individual needs. We wish you all a safe and happy holiday season!! – Written by: Dr. Elizabeth Chosa