Oh, how the season of cheer (and potential stress) is among us. Holidays can have so much joy and happiness, but can also feel overwhelming, sucking the joy right out of the happiness. Space Coast Pet Services knows that having pets during this time adds an additional level of challenges. We want to offer some tips on how to lower our animal-loving friends’ stress this holiday season by getting organized. Furry friends feed off the stress of their loved ones, so if your anxiety is lower, Fido’s anxiety will be lower too making everyone happier.
If you are adding bodies to your house, planning is your BFF. Let’s start with meals. Make a chart of each meal that your guests will be eating at your home, then fill in the table with what you plan on serving. Next, check the ingredients for each dish and note what you need to buy. This will eliminate the frustration and chaos of needing to stop making the meal to run to the grocery store to buy ingredients.
Cook ahead of time as much as possible. Cooking ahead of time means less rushing, which can stress you and your furry friend. Also, don’t forget to make sure your pet has enough food. Nothing could be worse than running out of kibble when all the stores are closed on Christmas day. Even better, make your pup some healthy meals in advance and freeze it in portions. That way, you always have some fresh homemade food on hand in case you need it!
Sticking to a schedule only happens when it is planned. Even if the timing is a little different than usual, your pooch or kitty will be happier with a routine. Try to keep things like feeding, walking, and sleep times as close to their regular routine during the holidays. Pets are more comfortable and feel safer when they can anticipate what’s happening next. Check out this holiday planner we found that can help keep your entire holiday planning organized in one place!
Train Your Guests
Humans need as much training around pets as does pets around humans. Make sure your guests know the animal rules of the house. For instance, is it OK to let your kitty or puppy go in and out of the house? Does an outdoor gate need to remain closed at all times? What about feeding table scraps or leaving food within reach for curious noses and mouths?
For guests who are uncomfortable around animals, respect that and do not force the interaction. For those willing, show them how your animal likes to be touched. Make a list before your guests arrive with the points you want to share with them so that they and your furry friends can exist in blissful togetherness.
Space to Decompress
If your four-legged friend has tendencies to act out when stressed-out, plan a relaxation sanctuary for her to use if she needs a break from house guests. Sometimes we all need a little time out, especially if we have extended-stay guests; your pet is no different. If possible, designate a spare bedroom to put Fluffy away in or if your pup is crate-trained, feel free to use it as a spare bedroom for your pooch. This isn’t punishment and will most likely be a welcomed break from the hustle and bustle. Make sure to leave water and a few toys in your friend’s safe space.
Take Fido for a long walk and play a long game of fetch before the festivities. Have Fluffy chase toy mice or ribbons. Tiring your pet out is a good way of assuring that she’ll stay calm or hopefully somewhat relaxed when guests show up. We all know that exercise is a proven remedy for stress. During, and especially after, if there’s time, you could consider playing with her again or letting her out to run in the yard. Beginning and ending an exciting period like Christmastime with exercise is a great way to work off any stress that has built up for both you and your furry four-legged friend!
If holiday hosting is just too much for your dog, there’s always the option of boarding. Space fills quickly, especially around Christmas. Contact us to leave your worries behind and bring them to a home away from home! Their stay includes meals/water, exercise, rest, play, and attention/affection. Meet & Greets are required, and a trial overnight is often recommended and required. Your pup must be up-to-date on all vaccinations and meet other household requirements. Space is extremely limited since group size is kept small, which allows your pet to have a fun, relaxing, family-oriented ‘stay-cation’ while you are creating the same environment for your guests.
The holidays genuinely don’t have to be as stressful as they seem. With a little planning and effort, you can make sure that you are the ‘hostess with the mostest’ and that everyone has a great time. From our family to yours: Cheers to a stress-free holiday season!
Melanie is the owner and founder of Brevard’s premier trusted in-home pet care company. In 2016 she took her corporate security background and combined it with her lifelong passion for pet care – that’s how Space Coast Pet Services was born! She is certified in Pet First Aid & CPR and committed to ongoing training and education. She leads a team with diverse backgrounds from working at the Brevard Zoo, Vet Techs, volunteers of the SPCA & Humane Society, and students of Biological Oceanography. Melanie is the mother of two amazing humans, two small pups and a witty African Grey parrot and enjoys volunteering, reading, swimming, hiking, traveling, grilled cheese sandwiches, and naps. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This small amount allows me to bring you resources that I use and believe in.