Now that the holidays are almost upon us, many families and their furry friends are going to see an interruption to their usual daily routine. Decorations in your home, lots of good food around, visitors, and maybe a few trips of your own can be both exciting and alarming for your dogs.
To help keep them safe and comfortable this holiday season - and out of mischief - these are a few tips you can use.
Strategies to Keep Your Dog Relaxed and Safe During the Holidays
Many dogs thrive on a routine when they know when you are coming and going, when their walk and mealtimes are. Depending on how anxious your dog typically is, he may be more adaptable to changes in his environment while other dogs may need a little more comfort and distraction. You know your dog best, so take some time before the holiday season really kicks off to plan out what you may need:
- Keep Your Routine Where Possible - Maintain your dog's routine as much as you can. Keep mealtimes, walk times, nap, and sleep times as close to their usual schedules. If you are going to be busy, you may consider a dog walker who can stop by to let your dogs out and get in some exercise at the usual times. Maintaining a routine will help other changes seem less overwhelming to your dog.
- Plan Travel Early - If you will be traveling, you will want to plan accordingly and as soon as possible. This means getting the right equipment and getting your dog comfortable with it if your dog is joining you on trips, or making plans now for dog sitting or boarding if your dog is staying at home.
- Remember Training - It can be helpful to do some training throughout the holiday season to keep your dog up to date on basics, especially if your dog needs to be well behaved for visitors. Training is also a good way for you and your dog to spend some quality time together when things are busy.
- Watch Out for Hazards - Holiday decorations, presents under the tree, food dropped on the floor, and guests who are not familiar with your dog could all be potential problems. Take care to keep anything dangerous out of your dog's reach and make sure your guests know how to avoid problems. Consider keeping your dogs out of areas where they may get into trouble if unsupervised.
- Get Toys and Treats - Depending on what your dog likes, toys and treats can help give a positive connotation to the holidays and distract him if he starts getting anxious. Chew toys, puzzle toys, and treats are all good to have on hand.
With this preparation, your dog can have a relaxing holiday season and you can relax as well and knowing there are unlikely to be any problems.