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 affects you and your dog, given their ability to reflect our anxieties. If you feel stressed, your dog senses it and feels that they should also feel the stress. Besides, the change in routine and increased holiday activities differ significantly from your dog's usual lifestyle, contributing considerably to their holiday stress. With the holiday stress coming, it's only right for you to learn how to help your dogs cope.
Luckily, there are several ways in which you can help your furbaby cope with the holiday stress. A happy dog means a comfortable home. Are you looking for how to help your dog this holiday season? Read on!
One of the most important things to be aware of when it comes to helping your dog cope with holiday stress is knowing your dog well. You want to know everything 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.
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 stressful! One of the first things you may consider regarding holiday stress and your dog is to reflect on your behavior. Are they mirroring you? Is your focus leading you not to give them clear commands or to stare directly at them? Difficult as it may be, it can also be beneficial for both of you to find ways to manage your 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.
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 to which they can retreat or put them when meal times roll around will give your pup a chance to relax, recharge, and have some much-needed ‘me-time’ before returning to the festivities.
Putting your dog’s bed in a bedroom or other enclosed space apart from all the commotion, along with some toys, can give them their own hiding space. Toys, maybe even food-stuffed toys, can help stimulate them while their bed gives them a place to nap. 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.
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 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 prepare 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 whether it is you walking them and playing with them and the like, or if you have someone else take care of that, you must ensure that your dog maintains their routine as much as possible.
One of the easiest ways dogs get into trouble over the holidays is if someone isn’t watching them. It’s not uncommon for people to assume that someone else has the dog when no one does. Having a designated person to watch over your dog will help prevent them from getting into mischief and alleviate their stress if they have someone there with them, giving them attention and a sense of security in the hectic holiday commotion.
These are the ways you can handle the holiday stress and help your dogs cope. 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!