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Holiday Stress and Dogs: How to Help Them Cope

The holidays can be an incredibly stressful time of year. There are presents to buy, parties and events to attend, and so much hustle and bustle it can overwhelm. Holiday stress impacts your dog too, especially with how our pets can mirror our own anxieties. Chances are, if you’re stressed, your dog will pick up on that and think they need to be stressed too. Plus, the change in routine and business of the season is quite different from the life your dog is used to, which is a leading factor in holiday stress for your dog.

Luckily, there are a number of ways in which you can help your furbaby cope with the holiday stress. A happy dog means a happy home. Looking for how to help your dog this holiday season? Read on!

How Do Dogs Show Stress?

One of the most important things to be aware of when it comes to helping your dog cope with holiday stress is to well and truly know your dog. You want to know all the things that they like and the things that put them on edge, so that you can be better prepared to help them out. Generally, you can tell if your little furbaby is getting stressed out if they start pacing, if they get stiff, if they can’t control their whining or barking or if they start growling, and if they tuck their ears or tail, show the whites of their eyes, lick their lips, pant, yawn, and raising their hackles. 

holiday stress and dogs

Holiday Stress and Dogs: How Can You Help?

The last thing you want is for the holidays to be a miserable time of year for your pup. The holidays are meant to be joyful, even if they can be a bit stressful! One of the first things you may consider when it comes to holiday stress and your dog is to reflect on your own behavior. Are they mirroring you? Is your own stress leading you to not give them clear commands or to stare directly at them? Difficult as it may be, it can also be beneficial for the both of you to find ways to manage your own stress, so you can better help your dog with theirs.

The best way to help a dog in a stressful situation is to try to eliminate what is stressing them out - which isn’t exactly possible if it’s the holidays and everything that comes with them that’s causing said stress. In the case of this time of year when you can’t just snap your fingers and make the chaos disappear, you’ll find the following tips useful in helping your dog cope.

Create A Quiet Space

If you’re hosting gatherings, all those people can overwhelm your dog and all those tasty treats can tempt them. Providing your dog with a quiet, private space that they can retreat to or that you can put them when meal times roll around will give your pup the chance to relax, recharge, and have some much-needed ‘me-time’ before heading back to the festivities. 

Putting your dog’s bed in a bedroom or other enclosed space that is apart from all the commotion along with some toys can be great for giving them their own space to hide in. Toys, maybe even food-stuffed toys, can help stimulate them, while their bed gives them a place to nap if they want. You may consider putting on some calming music, to block out the noise of the party. You can also ensure that you put a little sign on the room you’ve designated for your dog, so that your guests will know it’s not a restroom and thus won’t intrude on your dog’s introvert time.

Maintain Their Routine

One of the most common causes of holiday stress for your dog is how routines can fall apart this time of year. Dogs need routines in order to stay happy and healthy. They need their regular exercise, their regular food, your love. If you need to delegate and have family, friends, or professionals help out either with preparing your home so that you can maintain your dog’s routine or if you need them to help with your dog, there’s no shame in that. One person can only do so much, right? 

But your dog is a top priority, so regardless of whether it is you walking them and playing with them and the like, or if you have someone else take care of that for you, you need to ensure that your dog maintains their routine as much as possible. 

Assign Someone To Watch Them

One of the easiest ways for dogs to get into trouble over the holidays is if there isn’t someone watching them. It’s not uncommon for people to assume that someone else has the dog, when in reality, no one does. Having a designated person to watch over your dog will help not only to prevent them from getting into mischief, but also to alleviate their stress, if they have someone there with them, giving them attention and a sense of security in the hectic holiday commotion.

Do You Have Questions On How To Help Your Dog’s Holiday Stress?

These are but a handful of the ways in which you can help your furbaby cope with the holiday stress. If you would like to learn more, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Little Teton Doodles! We want everyone to have a happy holiday season, and will help however we can!

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