The holidays are a merry time filled with get-togethers, food, decorations and gifts. And while all these things are great, they can lead to confusion with your pet. In order to get the most out of the holiday season for yourself and your pet, here are some points to consider.
Watch for signs of anxiety or aggression with large gatherings of people, especially if some of them are unknown to your pet. Make sure you dog or cat has a safe haven to retreat to if they get overwhelmed or tired. This could be the laundry room, basement, or a bedroom, but should be someplace they feel comfortable and secure.
If you have young and curious pets, or simply curious pets, you may want to keep decorations out of their reach. This may mean decorating only the top half of the tree, not getting a poinsettia for the dining room table, or using older, less-breakable ornaments. Typically, as pets get older these restrictions won’t be as necessary. For example, our first Christmas with two puppies we had to put the tree in the basement because they kept pulling it over. By the next year, the boys lost all interest in the tree and we haven’t had a problem since.
Beware of others letting your pet in and out of the house, you don’t want Bruno getting left out back. Also watch for doors being left open, between open doors and lots of people, cats and dogs can easily escape, and also become easily lost.
When it comes to entertaining, a tired dog is a good dog. Be sure to get your four-legged family member out for a good long walk or run. Whether you have a dog or cat, give them a little extra TLC before guests arrive, this should include both play time and snuggles.
Be aware of well-intending guests offering food scraps to your pet. There are many human foods (especially holiday type foods) that can be toxic to pets, namely turkey and chocolate, as well as any cooked bones that splinter easily.
Home sweet home. Your pet lives in your home, your guests do not. They should treat your furry family members with respect and acknowledge that your pet may expect to be greeted upon entry and may very well be allowed on the couch. Our oldest Golden demands to be greeted and we recommend guests give him a quick hello; that way he will leave those alone who wish to be left alone throughout the gathering.