Holidays have different meanings to different people. While some anticipate the holidays with joy, others dread them due to the extra work and stress they often bring. We often get so busy that our pets are shuffled to the background despite their desire to always be front and center in our lives. Learn how you can help make holidays a pleasant experience for your dog or other pet as well as how they can help you get through this period in the best possible way.
Making Holidays Fun for You and Your Pet
Don’t feel foolish if you find yourself buying your pet a Christmas present. Like us, they enjoy getting new toys or snacks. Your home may suddenly be filled with guests that are new and strange to your pet. They’ll to be more relaxed if they have new chew toys or treats during the actual festivities.
If you’re like a large portion of the population, your pet is part of your family. Do everything possible to make him or her part of the group. Despite how busy you may be during the holidays, try to keep your dog or pet’s schedule as normal as possible, whether this means car rides, daily walks or simple playtime. A happy dog is a well-behaved dog.
Helping Each Other Emotionally
Although holidays, Christmas in particular, are happy times meant to be celebrated, they can also be depressing times. Whether it’s due to loss of loved ones, financial reasons or the holiday blues, many find themselves out of sorts during this time. Your dog will notice your feelings and want to be close to you and try to help. You may notice that he or she suddenly becomes “Velcro dog”.
Do not be afraid to show your pet that you appreciate the attention and try to reciprocate. A dog’s ability to detect stress and unhappiness and try to make it better is one of the main reasons they are so effective as therapy dogs.
You may wonder how your pet can not only notice but alter your moods. Pets, and dogs in particular, are wonderfully perceptive animals that need only look at you to know if you’re happy, sad, excited or just need a little TLC. Their unique ability to distract you is the main way they’re about to adjust your mood. It’s hard to concentrate on stressful holiday thoughts when your dog is wagging his or her tail, breathing in your face or just jumping happily.
Research indicates that hugging can promote happy hormones in our body. These same hormones lower heart rate, lower blood pressure and reduce stress in general. There really is something to the power of touch. Touching your dog can create “happy hormones” for both you and your pet, making the holiday season a wonderful season for both. Make sure not to hug your dog though as research also shows that dogs don’t enjoy that!
Safety First and Last
Although often forgotten during the holidays, safety should always come first in your and your dog’s home. Christmas is often demonstrated with bright and colorful decorations and lights. As beautiful as these decorations may be to you, your family and your guests, do not be surprised if the bright flashing lights scare your dog at first.
Allow your pet time to become accustomed to the new décor in your home. This includes lights and extension cords that, if chewed, can be deadly to your pet and a fire hazard in your home. Even the most well behaved pet is going to be inquisitive, particularly young pets that seem to get the greatest joy from chewing new things!
Delicious meals and tasty snacks are also a big part of the holiday season. Remember that your pet smells all these new aromas and may try to sneak some goodies. Keep them out of your pet’s reach and remember that pets cannot eat everything we can eat.
Whether you’re dreading the holidays or anticipating them with happiness, take the time to spend quality time with your pet. The benefits you’ll reap can not only make your pet a happy household friend but can also make for a wonderful season! Your pet will thank you in more ways than you can imagine!