The holidays are right around the corner, but your dog is acting anything but jolly. He’s lost the jingle in his step. Gone is his ready-quick gin, the goofy barks and the jubilant dash to fetch a favorite tossed toy. Just like us, some dogs do develop a case of the holiday blues that can extend past the festive ushering of the new year. Consider this: Your loyal canine pal is so tuned into you, your emotions and your schedule. But the comforting predictability of the household routine has been upended by your erratic comings and goings, the arrival of a large tree I the living room with don’t-touch ornaments, the smell of oh-so-tempting goodies form the oven an the not-so-welcomed appearance of strange and sometimes obnoxious people referred to as ‘relatives’ by you. That’s doggone lot to deal with, especially for your confused canine. Look for these clues that your dog is showing signs of holiday stress (although they could also be due to a health concern, so consult with your veterinarian):
If you don’t address these behavioral changes, the doggie blues can continue after the holidays when you return back to work and the kids head back to school. This is especially true for highly social dogs who welcome the holidays because they know they will get more attention in the forms of petting, cuddling and, especially treats from you and visitors. Suddenly, they find themselves home alone.
Whether you plan to take a holiday vacation, sans your dog or intend to stay home and fill your house with lots of guests, here are some effective solutions I read about a while ago to prevent Yule time from turning into yowl times..
If you pan to take a dog-free vacation, hire a professional pet sitter or take your dog to a reputable boarding facility. The choice depends on your dog’s health, age, temperament and experience with other dogs.
Dogs who are shy, quiet and get intimidated by the presence of other dogs or loud barking will likely prefer to be at home. Dogs who can handle changes in their routines and environment, who are used to being around other dogs, doggie daycare are best candidates for boarding.
In choosing a professional pet sitter, contact one who belongs to professional pet sitter organization, such as the National Associations of Professional Pet sitters (www.petsitters.org), and Pet Sitters International (www.petsit.com). Members of these organizations much show proof or being licensed and bonded. This is not the time to save money by hiring the neighbor kid or an untrained house sitter. A professional pet sitter if prepared for emergencies and in many ways can be like Santa Claus to your dog. A pet sitter will feed, walk, play and love on your dogs as well as pick up your mail, water the plants and take out the trash. They do all they can to let your dog know that he is loved and well-cared for during your absence. Plus , your dog get to stay in his own home.
Boarding your dog, or taking him for doggie day care are options if you have an energetic, social dog.
My advice is to scout out local boarding/day care facilities in advance and give your dog a ‘trial run’ before the holiday to gauge his level of acceptance. Some of the companies offer a free day of day care during non-holiday seasons and encouraging people to tour the place before booking a reservation.
If you plan to stay home for the holidays with your dog here are some ways to save the sanity and fend off stress for you both.
Whether you are gone from home for the day or the entire holiday, you can keep tabs on your home-along dog 24/7. There are lots of high-tech monitoring devices that enable you to see, speak and even dole out a treat to your dog with the click of a button. Some gadgets even allow you to remotely play fetch or have your dog chase a laser toy from apps on your smartphone.
Be ready for the next round of holidays by creating and embracing some New Year’s resolutions to benefit your dog. Here are a few to consider: