Christmas time isn’t just stressful for us humans; it can also be a time of anxiety and stress for our pets. Research shows that 40% of dogs display a change in behaviour over the festive period, so it’s worth considering these four festive stress triggers.
1. Disrupted Routines
We all know that our pets are creatures of habit, and they hate it when we change their routine.
According to the Kennel Club, “almost one in five owners admit that their dog’s routine is disrupted over Christmas, either through being neglected with less play or attention, not having a walk on Christmas Day or getting left at home more often than usual.”
Restless pets will be more susceptible to stress. So, don’t let the cold weather and your busy schedules affect your everyday exercise routines, and if you can’t manage to go outdoors, make time to play.
2. Harmful Foods
Food is abundant during Christmas, but some can harm pets, so avoid foods containing nuts, grapes, and dried fruit, which can be fatal for pets and keep mince pies, Christmas puddings, chocolates and alcohol out of reach.
A little turkey meat is acceptable when served without gravy or turkey skin because they are high in salt and fat.
If you would like more information on harmful foods, take a look at our previous article Don’t make a dog dinner out of Christmas
3. Stranger Danger
Avoid stress caused by the arrival of strangers by asking guests to come in and sit down before introducing them to your dog. Let your dog say hello in their own time and encourage sharing some safe treats, which will help speed up the process.
Give your pet a safe and quiet space when the noise gets too much, and don’t forget their favourite toys or blankets to help them feel secure.
4. Hazardous Decorations
Christmas decorations, lights and dangling cables can be seen as playthings to your pet, so make sure they are out of reach where possible. Also, some Christmas plants (poinsettia, mistletoe, holly, and ivy) are potentially toxic for dogs.
Be vigilant with lit candles, potpourri, tinsel, and fake snow, as they can also be dangerous.
Opt for pet-friendly decorations where possible and secure your tree to stop it from toppling over.
Christmas is a wonderful time to spend quality time with your family, friends and pets, and if you consider these points, it will ensure you and your pets stay calm, happy and stress-free during the festive break.
Have a good one!