When you first hear that the holidays are coming up soon, you buzz with energy and delight. You cannot wait to have some days off to spend with family and friends, or probably just alone. But, you forget the stressful part! Holidays also mean lots of visits and gatherings, and maybe some travel. Is it not the best time to pay that relative who lives far away finally a visit and spend some nights in that part of the world that you almost forgot when caught up in your busy schedule? Sure, it is. Spending some nights away from home is a great way to unwind and explore but can be stressful, too. You are not the only one who will feel stressed over the holidays, but your furry buddy will, too. You know how to adapt and manage while he probably does not. That is why Pet Barn has decided to give you tips to help your four-legged friend easily overcome holiday stress and tell about the signs of this kind of stress.
Signs Your Pet Is Experiencing Holiday Stress
When facing fears or stress, pets tend to hide. You might find your pet cowering under the bed or in the bathtub. If they are really stressed, they might not leave their hiding spots even when it is time for their walk or food.
- Changes in Appetite
Have you noticed that your cat stopped eating during the day? Does she only venture out to eat during the middle of the night when all is calm around her? These are signs that she is experiencing stress. As for your dog, he might eat less, tend to skip meals, or only show interest in treats when feeling stressed. He might start eating but stop when distracted by noises or smells.
If your dog is usually playful and interactive around adults, he might bite or growl at kids. If he is used to living alone, he might try to defend his territory if another dog attempts to enter his house or yard. Cats hiss, growl or bite when a stranger tries to pet them. All these are types of stress your pet might show during some friends or family gatherings.
- Licking, Yawning, or Averting Eyes When Meeting New Animals or People
It sounds cute when your dog yawns, licks his lips, or averts his eyes once he sets them on the new visitor but beware of what he is telling you. He is actually trying to inform you that the situation is overwhelming for him and that he wants to leave. In case you ignore his wishes, his stress may increase, resulting in growling and snapping, if not worse.
- House Soiling or Inappropriate Elimination
Has your cat changed her litter box habits? This is a telltale sign that she is experiencing stress. Cats may even refuse to use the litter box at all when stressed and choose to do their business on your walls or furniture. On the other hand, dogs are likely to choose to do their business behind the furniture or under the table when they are feeling stressed.
4 Tips to Reduce Your Pet’s Holiday Stress
- Give your pet the chance to exercise.
If your pet feels tired, he can rest more easily when visitors surround him. Therefore, you make your pet a great favor when you take your dog to the dog park or play with your cat. After all, pets feel more anxious and even bored if stuck inside the house doing nothing. If you are too busy with the next gathering’s preparation, try pet puzzles or get your pet some new toys.
- Show your pet you are always there for him.
One of the most fun parts of holiday time is getting more time to spend with your family. Your pet is undoubtedly a vital member of your family, so spend some quality time with him. Show him how much you love and care for him by resting next to him, watching a movie, reading a book, or probably just talking to him.
- Try to stick to a routine.
You think it is unlikely to maintain the routine for your pet over the holiday season, right? Remember that pets need a predictive schedule, so do your best to give them that. For instance, you can visit others and leave your pet at home when you usually are at work. If your dog is used to going for a walk at a particular time in the evening, excuse yourself from the party for a while and take him. You can ask a friend or relative to ensure everything is fine until you come back.
- Create a haven for your pet when guests visit your home
Choose one room in your house that is located a little far away from where your guests are going together. Before an hour from their arrival, make it as calm as possible. You can use calming music, catnip, and add a comfy bed for your pet to relax. Do not forget to ask your guests not to knock on the door or enter that room.
Now, your pet is almost ready for the holiday. All that is left for you to do is tell us in the comments below if your pet has ever experienced holiday stress. How did you deal with it? Did it work? We hope you have a stress-free holiday with your family and your lovely furry friends.