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Everyone have a Happy Holiday (Pets Too)!
Everyone have a Happy Holiday (Pets Too)!
gatherings are here at last, no matter if we are ready for them or not.
Our pet dogs and cats are a part of the holiday, so consider what your
pet needs as the season gets underway. It is not uncommon for me to
have a call about a pet being nervous, not eating, or even being
"grouchy" when there is a lot of people over for Thanksgiving or
Christmas. There are ways to decrease stress for your pet - and you
consider the age, health and temperament of your pet when guests are
expected. Older pets that are arthritic or blind will have difficulty
getting out of the way at a holiday party. A dog may be lying
comfortably in their own bed, but they are resting with one eye open, on
the lookout for toddlers, clumsy adults or other visiting pets. This
may have them a little tense and apprehensive about the whole gathering,
which results in pain from holding their body tense, or
constantly moving around. Young pets may be very excited jumping and
running around which can add to people and pet stress. Both dogs and
cats of all ages need to stick to their routines. When their routine
gets messed up, so do the pets. Be sure to maintain the feeding,
walking, play times no matter what your guests want.
especially at risk of being bitten by even the friendliest dog.
Toddlers are right up in the face of a dog, they do not follow verbal
instructions from adults very well, and it seems the more adults there
are at a gathering, the fewer eyes are on the child. Toddlers have high
pitched voices and who can tell what they are going to do next?
Certainly a dog or cat can't. An older dog is likely to be tense
around active little humans. If a cat feels cornered by a toddler, the
cat may strike. If the owners have not made a quiet place for the dog
or cat to go, there is a big risk of a bite.
the furry guests? When your family brings along their beloved pet, it
is a direct competitor to the food, beds, attention and areas even if it
does not look that way. Often the host pets may act "jealous" but they
are not. Competition for resources is a normal feeling when a new pet
comes in - kind of like your sister coming in without her own clothes,
toothbrush or food to eat. I bet you would feel a sense of competition
in that case.
your pet and everyone happy by planning ahead. I have a few
suggested scenarios that should help make the holidays happy for
everyone, especially our pets.
dog/cat wants to hide, gets "grouchy" or cannot settle down - they are
very anxious. Not a little nervous - they are very nervous!!! If
guests are coming over just once a year, then board your pet for the
day. If that is not possible, set up a room far away from the action
with food, water and any suggested treatments to reduce anxiety. Play
the radio on a rock or pop music station to muffle out all the sounds.
If someone wants to visit your pet, you decide if it is okay. Younger
well socialized pets may do fine with many people over, but after a few
hours they have usually had enough and are seeking a quiet area. Put
your pet there if you notice them avoiding people. Constantly going
from room to room, is a way of an animal trying to find a place to get
away. Your dog or cat will thank you for this. Believe me, they do
not see this as punishment- rather a relief.
pets, be sure to provide separate (in separate rooms or areas) food and
water dishes, lots of individual play and attention. The host dogs are
fed first, out the door first, etc. Maintaining this hierarchy will
reduce the likelihood of "grouchiness" and problems. Guest pets may
be a challenge to the ?host? pet in ways that are hard for us to see.
Tensions may be escalating unnoticed until a scuffle over food commonly
occurs. Often veterinary emergency clinic have to treat the case of the
guest dog or cat fight, so don't bring your pet unless it is invited.
little people and furry family members safe and friendly. Baby gates
are great! Have the gate up creating easy way to separate dogs from
the family areas that are noisy and chaotic. Toddlers can toss treats
over the gate to positively reinforce the dogs and be safe. I cannot
count the number of calls about bites with active toddlers and dogs
or cats dodging under furniture because they could not get away from
the little ones. For cats, get the decor off the chests and bookcases to
open up areas for the cats to jump out of the way.
You are a
loving parent/grandparent to separate your pets from the guests that
stress them. Don't feel guilty - you are being responsible for
yourself, your pets and your guests. If your pets are really upset, or
your guests unpredictable, get your boarding appointment now. Boarding
facilities fill up fast so do not wait. If that is not an option, set
the rest room up now and have your pet stay in there for an hour or 2
starting a week before the big day. Maybe you will want some alone time