Holidays can be stressful to those pets that live in the house and have routine behavior patterns. The holidays involve more guests, more noise, and a disruption of their time schedules. Their world revolves around those times they know and can always count on: Time to get up, potty time, feeding time, walk or exercise time, sleep time, and nummy-potty-bedtime. I’m sure that many of you have been awakened or prodded to feed when the time comes. Many pets are very aware of the time and sequences of their lives. Reggie, my bichon mix will often wiggle out from under the covers, sit on the pillow, and “will” me to get up to start the get up-potty-breakfast sequence. He also listens for the turning off “click” of the TV at night to start the go potty-night time nummy- go to bed sequence.
Make sure and keep anxiety prone dogs out of the crowds and away from vulnerable children. Dogs that aren’t used to being held tight or pulled on can lash out. People with hats or beards can also be a scary sight to those nervous types that aren’t used to seeing different types of people. Those folks that aren’t “animal people” may make sudden movements or come over a nervous dog. These movements can be interpreted as aggressive or uncomfortable and provoke nipping, panic, or a bite.
Doors and windows may be inadvertently left open for escapees to run or jump out of the house.
Cars, darkness, and fights with other animals can really dampen the holiday spirit!
Guests or children may leave food, candy, or medications within reach. A well-meaning guest may leave the trash outside where a pet can happily feast. A poinsettia may look or smell tasty. Christmas ornaments, lights, toys, paper, plastic, foil, or string can be tempting playthings or treats. Any of these things can make the holiday miserable when the dog or cat decides to chew or eat something that makes them sick.
Check out a video I made last year on Holiday Dangers
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