Minimizing Stress During the Holidays

The holidays can be a very happy time filled with wonderful food and time spent with family and friends.

It’s important to keep in mind that our pets may not see it as such. The holidays can be a stressful time for them – new stressors include the changing environment (with decorations and lights), visitors in the house, and the extra cleaning and preparation that comes along with the holidays.

Stress can present itself differently in individual pets. House soiling, especially cats peeing inappropriately and dogs having diarrhea, are common occurrences when the environment changes for an animal. As well, stress may be apparent as behavioural problems such as hiding, barking, and destructiveness.

No matter what the stressor is, it is important to recognize them beforehand and help prepare our animals for them. In regards to the changing environment, it is best to make the changes gradually – slowly decorate the house over a few weeks. It is also important to keep the pet’s normal routine the same, therefore not changing the diet or exercise of the pet is important. If visitors are an issue for your animals, kennelling is a great alternative to avoid added stress, given that kennelling isn’t stressful as well.

Finally, if these techniques do not work for your pet, consult your veterinarian for other options including pheromone diffusers and sprays which relax animals or anti-anxiety medications. We all want our pets to have a happy and comfortable holiday season.

Written by: Briarwood Animal Hospital