Dogs get stressed during the holidays and here are ways to prevent it

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There are two sides of our most celebrated holiday season of the year. One that is so happy, so relaxed, so idyllic with chestnuts roasting on an open fire; peace on earth; good will, angels singing.
The other side with last minute shopping, late nights wrapping gifts and mailing cards, standing in lines, working overtime or a second job to cover the added expenses, relatives coming from everywhere. Which one do you think is most likely reality? I love the holidays, but reality is, even if you enjoy hustle, it changes your routine, makes you a bit more tired, and at some level causes stress, and we all know that stress has very negative stress on our bodies and minds. Even the medical profession has recently admitted that stress is the root cause to disease in people. You may now start wondering, what does this have to do with our dogs?

Well, actually, a great deal. Just because our dogs do not work, pay the bills and basically just sit at home, play all day long, eat, sleep, that they don’t experience stress. Not so. The veterinarian profession states that many of the physical symptoms and behavior problems exhibited by pets are often stress responses. Others include scratching, chewing and licking at their own bodies, skin eruptions, excessive drooling, destructive behaviors, housebreaking problems, excessive barking and many many other symptoms can all be signs of stress in your pets life. Signs that your pet is being effective by stress – YOURS. This is the reason that people who have dogs live longer than those who don’t. Your four legged friend is there for you to take on your stress energy and replenish you with his own energy of pure love. This he does on daily basis, and during the holidays your normal stress levels gets higher. He now has to cope with with the excitement and changes in routine caused by the holidays which cause him stresses of his own to deal with.

To make it easier for our four legged friends and help them to pull through the holiday season with as few routine disruptions as possible, here is some advice that may help:

  1. If any of the previously mentioned stress responses appear or worsen at this time, don’t panic. Give yourself and him more quiet time together just sitting and deep breathing and relaxing. It will help you both. If he’s not coping well, you’re not either (whether you recognize it or not).
  2. Try to keep your routines as normal as possible, especially the ones involving him, or get back to normal routines as soon as possible after the holidays are over.
  3. It is all too tempting to change his diet with fabulous holiday treats and leftovers. DON’T! His system may not be able to cope, and the results can really cause stress for you both.
  4. Although it is tempting, Christmas is not a good time to introduce a new pet into the household. The excitement of coming into a new home can be overwhelming enough to an animal, especially a young one, without the added energies of the holiday season. The long-term consequence could be devastating.
  5. Company can be wonderful, but if he isn’t used to a lot of people and excitement, give him space and plenty of alone time. Be sure you watch how people are relating to him and make sure he is comfortable emotionally at all times. If he gets defensive or protective, it’s not necessarily his fault.

So, the holiday season has started, enjoy the wonder, the festivities and the love they bring, and take a little extra time to say, ”thank you” to the furry faced angel that is there for you all year round. Don’t take him for granted 🙂



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