The Holidays are here! Are the relatives arriving this weekend? Are you preparing to travel? Is all the shopping done? Is the house clean? Whew!! The Holidays can be a stressful along with all that good cheer – especially for our furry or feathered companions who don’t really understand what all the fuss is about.
Traveling, extra visitors, more time spent alone while their guardians attend holiday parties or are out late shopping - and all the extra commotion and change of routine that comes with the holiday season can take a toll on our pets. If you notice that Fido is a bit clingy, Fluffy is hiding under the bed more, or Polly is picking her feathers; consider helping them de-stress.
Spending a little quality time with them will reduce both their stress and yours. Walking the dog, playing with the cat, or having a chat with your bird are excellent ways to practice “living in the moment” and leaving the holiday hassles behind for awhile.
Dogs can be given chews and bones to help reduce stress – chewing is a great stress reliever for dogs. Natural Chews for Dogs
Many animals can be soothed with calming music, or while you are out try a Heartbeat CD designed to sooth your companion: Canine Lullabies
If during the holidays your companion will not have access to some rooms or parts of the house he is used to spending time in, don’t wait until the guests arrive to make the transition – that only doubles the stress. Block them away from the “to be restricted” areas a week or so before the guests invade their territory. This will at least give them time to adjust.
Insure that your companions have a quiet place to retreat to when you have guests, such as a bedroom or even a closet if they like to hide away. Just remove your shoes or other items to a higher shelf for the holidays and make them a little nest or resting place.
Flower essences are an excellent way to support your companion’s emotional stability through the holidays or any stressful time. Flower essences are safe and effective for birds, cats and dogs. Flower Essences for Pets Flower essences are easy to administer in several ways – in the drinking water, rubbed in the skin or with a spray bottle – and they can be used as often as necessary; no overdosing worries at all.
Calm Down Herbal Remedy contains complimentary herbs that sooth the nerves and support a dog or cat’s emotional well-being. This can be used alone or in combination with Flower Essences for those extra-stressful times.
Homeopathic combination remedies are another very safe way to assist your companion in dealing with stress. HomeoPet Anxiety Relief is a good all around stress reliever, HomeoPet Travel Anxiety is great for trips, and HomeoPet TFLN is a must-have for New Years Eve fireworks and revelry.
Pet Naturals of Vermont Calming Chews for Cats and Dogs are an excellent treat to have on hand for holiday stress or any stressful situation that may arise.
Safety concerns are another issue needing attention during the holidays. Holiday decorations and food can be dangerous for our companions. Watch for these possible holiday hazards and take measures to protect your pets:
- Christmas trees that are a bit wobbly may need to be anchored to a wall or ceiling if the cat is prone to climbing it.
- Cover electrical cords – they can be enticing to the new puppy or stressed cat.
- Keep wrapping paper and especially ribbon out of reach – cats and puppies like to play with curly ribbon, but ingestion can cause intestinal blockages or twists.
- Keep candles up high and in places the cat or bird are not likely to knock them over.
- Chocolate can be toxic to animals – keep the people treats out of reach!
- Water worries: dogs will drink extra water when they are stressed, so be sure to keep their bowl full of fresh water – spiked with an appropriate flower essence for stress relief. And make sure dogs and cats do not have access to the tree water – it’s not good for them.
Some companions may be boarded outside the home or will be traveling with their guardians. Don’t forget to take along a stress soothing remedy for them: Holiday Stress Reducing Remedies. For animals who will be boarded, give specific instructions for administration of remedies. Two easy ways to administer flower essences are to simply put the remedy into the drinking water and/or make up a spray bottle containing the remedy and ask the caregiver to spritz the cage 4 or 5 times a day. Remember to give the animal whatever remedy you choose for at least 2-3 days before you are scheduled to leave. This will allow time for the remedy to build in their system.
Supporting your companion through the stress of the holidays will likely reduce your own stress level as well. By planning ahead and keeping your companion’s needs met you can avoid the high level stress of accidents and stressed animals acting out.