The holidays can be stressful for our pets.
Anytime your plans will disrupt their normal routine, with guests coming and going,
it is important to set them up for success so everyone gets through the season seamlessly.
Some animals are easygoing, but our fur babies are just like children and routines are best.
It would be best to have some guidelines in place before your guests arrive.
I find that one of those bad things that happen when a lot people come over is the feeding of table scraps, and a lot of them!
My pets don’t normally eat anything other than THEIR food and one of my dogs gets sick when given people food.
Let your guests know upfront your rules on not feeding your pets people feed.
Dog behavior expert and author of “I’ll Be Home Soon,” Patricia McConnell, Ph.D., has great tips for dogs that are anxious. These also apply when schedules are temporarily disrupted by holiday guests, even if your dog isn’t typically anxious. “Decide where your dog will do best when you have to be gone for longer periods,” says McConnell.
With that in mind, when guests are coming over, have a predetermined area in the house where your animal is comfortable. Decide on it weeks before company arrives. This is savvy advice: dogs need a safe place when you can’t pay a lot of attention to them. The kitchen is not always the best choice! Sometimes it’s a closet or a bedroom.
Tools to help set up pets for success range from baby gates to calming music.
Baby gates and Crates can be very useful tool if you need to block off a room and not give full range of the house.
Crates also can make your fur baby feel secure.
Hopefully your dogs were crate trained and this will be one of your most valuable tools during the holidays. If you’re having a party, have your dogs spend 30 minutes in them before the party begins and then let them greet guests calmly.
Most animals normally have free range of the house, but shouldn’t when you’re hosting. When you determine the section of the house that’s safe for them while you’re occupied with guests, use baby gates to mark it off.
The weeks leading up to the “big event” should be a training opportunity. Spend time with your dogs just hanging out in that section of the house, and use treats to let them know how much fun it is to be behind a baby gate in that area.
Dog Walker or Pet Sitter
Make sure you use a dog walker to come by and take your dog for a walk if you’re busy cooking and preparing for guests.
Mental enrichment is a great way to distract your dog from any change in their schedule.
It will help relieve some stress—and hiring a dog walker or pet sitter such as Platinum Pet Sitting will give you a break as well.
Advice for Guests
Guests need some rules for engaging with your animals. For example, not everyone knows that feeding dogs leftovers can easily cause serious stomach upset. When children are visiting, in particular, it’s important never to let them be unsupervised with your dogs.
Explain to your guests that baby gates are up to manage the animals and that they should remain where they are. You may also let them know the dogs are calm and in a special area of the house where they are enjoying puzzle toys filled with treats! Reassure your holiday company that your fur babies are happy and safe, even if they’re not at the party.
Give us a call to set up your pet sitting for the holidays! 813-501-7381