How to Make Holidays Special for Your Pet

November 18, 2013

By Linda Cole

Thanksgiving and Christmas are fast approaching. There’s cooking, baking and shopping that needs to be done before we can relax and enjoy the holiday season with our family and friends. With all the running around to buy groceries, decorations and presents, and making sure everything is in order, some pets can feel a little left out. Your focus may not be on them as much as usual, but you can still make the holidays special for your pet without a lot of expense. Here are some suggestions:

Maintain their daily schedule

With all of the hustle and bustle before and during the holidays, your pet’s daily routine can be disrupted. However, deviating from a pet’s feeding schedule, walks and even playtime can cause them to become anxious. They like to know what’s next and they don’t like change, so keep their daily routine as regular as possible.

Include your pet whenever possible

The one thing our pets love more than anything else is spending time with those they adore – us! Most cats are home bodies and not fans of traveling. Dogs on the other hand, are happy to tag along with you. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to take your dog with you if you’re spending the holidays away from home. But if you don’t travel and will have company for the holidays, include pets who enjoy being around a house full of people. The holiday season is a joyous time that reminds us how important family and friends are, and that includes our four legged members of the family.

Give them a break

Not all dogs and cats enjoy company. If your pet gets overly excited or fearful when people come over, it’s best to find a quiet room where he can relax and hang out until everyone leaves. Even if your pet likes meeting other people, it’s still a good idea to confine your dog or cat in another room until your company has arrived to prevent an anxious or excited pet from racing out an open door. Shelters around the country see an increase in lost pets during the holiday season when pets sneak out an open door. After everyone has gone home, spend some quality time with your pet.

Give your pet some extra “me” time

If your dog enjoys hiking, take him for a hike on one of your favorite trails (weather permitting) or go for a walk around the neighborhood. You don’t have to go far, and a spontaneous activity your dog isn’t expecting can make him feel special. Give your pet extra cuddles while you relax in front of the TV. Play with your kitty using their favorite interactive cat toys. Take your dog outside for a game of fetch or tug of war. A romp in the snow is a good way to get rid of a dog’s pent up energy and stress.

Give your pet a gift

Some pets enjoy unwrapping a present to get to the surprise inside. A package of CANIDAE TidNips or grain-free Pure treats is a tasty present every pet will love. A new bed and fun toys are also great Christmas gifts for pets. Make sure at least one gift is something they can eat, chew on or play with. Help a pet that doesn’t know how to get the wrapping off, and monitor your pet to make sure he doesn’t eat the wrapping paper, tape or bows.

Safety first

Holiday decorations brighten up our home, but can be hazardous to pets. Hang tinsel, garland, glass ornaments and lights higher up on the tree so your dog or cat can’t chew or eat them. Lilies, Mistletoe, Holly and Poinsettias should also be kept away from pets. Lilies are toxic to pets, and the other plants can make them sick. Pine needles on a Christmas tree and water in the tree holder are toxic. Monitor pets around burning candles, and make sure electrical cords are hidden to keep pets from chewing on them.

Feed pet food only

During the holidays, pets have more access to foods they shouldn’t eat. Raisins, grapes, chocolate, onions, garlic, walnuts, Macadamia nuts, yeast dough, alcohol, nutmeg, fat trimmings and bones are all toxic and dangerous for pets to eat. The best way to keep the holidays special, happy and safe for pets is to not give them any people food or drinks.

When family, friends and pets get to spend the holidays with those they love, it’s the gift that comes from the heart that will be remembered when all is said and done. An abundance of love and time are the two most precious gifts you can give to your pet this holiday season.

Top photo by Rick Cooper
Middle photo by Rochelle Hartman
Bottom photo by Maegan Tintari

Read more articles by Linda Cole

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