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Holiday Stress And Your Pet

December 15, 2022
Season’s Greetings! Did you know that pets can be affected by stress, just as people can? This time of year can be hectic for us, but it can also be a lot for our furry friends. A local Burlington, ON veterinarian discusses holiday stress in this article.

Sources Of Stress

Many pets do best with steady routines and stable environments. The holidays can turn any household or schedule upside down! Travel, being boarded, parties, overnight guests … all of these can rattle your furry pal. Changes in daily schedules are another concern. If Fido is used to having his humans home after dark, but is suddenly spending a lot more time alone at night, he may feel upset and confused. Even decorations can upset our animal companions. You might think that the singing reindeer in the yard is hilarious: your dog might think it’s an intruder.

Signs Of Stress

Pets can’t tell us if they feel anxious, so it’s up to you to watch for the warning signs. These vary from pet to pet, but some common ones include panting, grumpiness, aggression, withdrawal, and lack of appetite. Some animals may get upset stomachs. Dogs may indulge in destructive behaviors, such as digging or chewing, while cats may hide and/or over-groom themselves. Any unusual behavior is something to take note of. Contact your vet if you notice anything wrong.

Helping Your Pet Cope

There are things you can do to help your pet cope more easily. Play sessions can be very useful here. Playing can help your furry buddy work off that anxious energy, kind of like a kickboxing workout would for a human. Fido, of course, will also benefit from vigorous walks. It’s also important to make sure that your pet has ways to amuse themselves when you aren’t around. For cats, things like window seats, cat towers, and kitty tunnels are great entertainment. As for Fido, look for toys that keep him occupied, such as snuffle mats or puzzle toys. If your pet is extremely anxious, ask your vet about calming products, such as pet pheromone sprays or treats, or weighted shirts. These may be particularly helpful on New Year’s Eve. Smaller pets, like pocket pets, may need to be moved to a quieter room until the new year. Happy Holidays! Please reach out to us, your local Burlington, ON animal clinic, anytime.

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