As we prepare for the holidays, it is a good time to remind ourselves what it
may feel like to our non-human family members.
There are the hazards that most of us are well aware of, like chocolate and
Poinsettias, but there are some not so obvious stressors and dangers for
pets as well.
Our pets are acutely aware of our emotions. They may not be able to
identify exactly what the emotion is but they feel the change in energy and
do not understand why it exists. It can cause even a confident pet to feel a
bit apprehensive about life. There is not always a great deal we can do
about this, our emotions are real and ever present, but awareness is
certainly the first step in assisting your pet. Here are some things that may
indicate your dog or cat is feeling anxious.
– Hiding or indicating they do not want to be “bothered”.
– Panting
– Licking their lips
– Not eating or overeating
– Drinking a lot of water
– Lethargy
– Extreme energy, more than usual
You know your pet and will most likely see or feel that something is off with
them. Trust your gut.
Now that we have figured this out, what do we do about it?
– Try to keep your pet’s routine as consistent as possible, even if yours
is not
– Do not force them into social situations (just because Aunt Bertha,
who has never met the cat before, wants to hold Quido because
Tabbies are her favorite, does not mean it needs to happen) You
need to advocate for your pet.

– Just because we like to indulge in extra “treats” during this time of the
year, we should not allow our pets to do so. Remember that a few
pieces of kibble can be used for treats, along with vegetables and
some fruits (I guess that’s an entirely different blog)
– Do not overreact to any of their signs of stress. By doing so, you are
confirming for them there is something to be stressed about (we are
all guilty of doing it- “Oh you poor baby……I am so sorry……it’s going
to be ok”……)
– Spend time with your pet when you know you are at your calmest (I
know this can be hard)
Many of us have all kinds of extra things in the house that pets can get into
this time of year. Decorations, Christmas trees, presents,
candles……Please know that the only way to guarantee your pets safety is
supervision. I hear it every year. “My dog never chews on anything but her
toys”. So, the dog is left alone and with free roam of the house. They now
have the ability to munch on anything they please- AND THEY DO! Every
year there are articles and news stories about the increase in emergency
veterinary visits because of dangerous ingestion
Finally, please remember that even the best trained and most laid back pet
ever can have “aggressive” moments when they are stressed. This is not a
good time of the year to introduce them to new “friends”- especially the 4
legged kind. Respect their space and simply BE AWARE.