There are Strangers about
If you are hosting you may want to do a little preparation before the guests arrive. Many of us consider our pets to be members of the family, and we enjoy having them with us in as we celebrate good times. But, when our pets are not used to have more than a few people around, they can get overly excited, and things can stop being fun. The jumping, the grabbing food from hands and tables, the barking … all of these things can lead to some embarrassing situations, and can even frighten some guests who are not accustomed to having animals around. In the weeks before the event, take some time to work on your pet’s manners and reinforce obedience training.
If, on the other hand, you know that your pet will not be able to hold back his exuberance, set aside a safe room or utilize a pet gate or dog crate where he can stay for the duration of the event. Make the space comfortable with a bed or rug, water, toys, and maybe some treats. Closing your dog off can make your pet and your guests feel comfortable and safe. Remember to either tell your guests that your pet should be left alone. The last thing you want is for a very excited pet to dash through the house, and possibly out the door to the outside of the house.
Traveling With Your Pet
Leaving the familiarity of home can provoke anxiety in people and animals. If you are traveling by car, be sure to bring along some of your pet’s favorite toys, a blanket or pillow bed, and provide a safe traveling environment. If your pet is used to sleeping in a crate, bring it along so he can sleep in his familiar space.
We advise keeping pets in a travel safe crate so that the animal is not able to move freely in your vehicle. This covers a few bases. Keeping animals in travel crates prevents them from getting underfoot or on your lap while you are driving — an obvious hazard — it prevents them from being thrown from the car should an accident occur, and it prevents them from getting free/running away during rest stops or after minor accidents have occurred. We can tell you that these unhappy events do occur and are reported in the news frequently enough to make them worth noting. If you cannot fit a crate into your car, you can use a pet approved safety belt/harness to keep your pet in her seat, where she belongs.
Rich Holiday Fare Is Not Good for Pets
Who can resist the high-speed tail wag, the pleading eyes and that “feed me” dance of a dog who’s desperate to taste the yummy holiday food you’re eating?
Foods that are too rich, fatty or spicy — or really anything your pet is not accustomed to — can trigger intestinal upset. For some animals, a treat can lead to a serious inflammation of the pancreas or intestine — and a life-threatening illness.
So what foods should you avoid? Anything you wouldn’t eat, for starters. And though a little bit of meat — beef or poultry — won’t hurt and would be appreciated, steer clear of the fatty parts and poultry skin.
Some foods shouldn’t be fed to pets, even in small amounts. These holiday staples include onions or dried onion powder — commonly used in stuffing — and often-overlooked ingredients, like the sweetener Xylitol, which is found in candies, gums and other dessert items. Xylitol is deadly in tiny amounts, even for large dogs, so read the labels on sweets!
For added safety. Make sure your pet is wearing identification at all times, and pack an emergency first aid kit for pets in case of an emergency. And don’t forget to take frequent breaks to allow for rest and relief.
Keep to a Routine
One of the best things you can do throughout it all is to stay on a familiar schedule. This means taking walks at the same time that you always do and feeding at the same time as usual. It might help to create an alarm system on your mobile phone to remind you of your pet’s daily routine. Also, don’t forget to take time to play and show affection, so that your pet does not feel thrown off balance by all of the activity and distractions.
Let your dog be himself
if your animal is a social butterfly, include him in the festivities. Shutting him away in another part of the house will only cause loneliness and stress. Dogs typically enjoy being part of the “pack”. Just be sure to keep an eye on him, especially if you have children visiting. Tell youngsters not to chase or pick your animal up, even if he’s generally okay around people. Even laid-back, gregarious dogs and cats can get tense on occasion, and you don’t want anyone getting bitten or scratched.
Mind The Door
Keep your animal away from the door as guests come and go, or at the very least keep a watchful eye on him. It can be especially easy for a small dog or cat to slip outside unnoticed, especially if he’s frightened of people he doesn’t know. You don’t want to spend Christmas Day or New Year’s Eve searching for a lost dog or cat. If necessary, try confining your animal in a safe spot when guests are due, and let him out again when everyone has arrived and the door is securely shut.
Is a great way to let off some steam and relax the body and mind, so make sure your dog or cat doesn’t get short-changed on physical activity during the festive season. You’ll find the breaks leave you feeling refreshed and more energized for everything you have to do, and they’ll help keep your animal happier and more balanced.
Quiet Time for your Canine
Last but not least, spend some quality quiet time with your four-legged friend every day, no matter how busy you are. Use this time to just sit quietly and do nothing except devote your attention to your dog or cat, stroking him, talking to him, and enjoying his companionship. Aim for at least fifteen minutes to half an hour or more a day.