Ringing in the holidays with festive gatherings and fireworks are fun traditions for people, but loud noises, unfamiliar voices, and hectic atmospheres can trigger anxiety in some of our animal friends.
This holiday season, consider that the pets in your household may prefer some peace and quiet amid the hustle and bustle. And while we can’t protect our pets from every loud sound, there are plenty of ways to help ease holiday pet anxiety.
There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays
It’s natural to want to share the holiday fun with your faithful four-legged companion, but when making plans to attend celebrations, the safest, least stressful place for your pet is at home. If you’re planning a lengthy absence, consider hiring a pet sitter or asking a trusted friend or family member to stay at home with your pet.
Give Your Pet the Gift of Solitude
If your home is party central, create a quiet room for your pet as far away as possible from the common areas. Keep the door and curtains closed, leave a light on, and play soft music or use a white noise machine. Be sure your pet has access to food, water, a litter box (if needed), a comfy bed, and toys. Have your pet microchipped as an added measure of safety in case your pet escapes through an open door or window.
Introducing Pets to Strangers
Got a pet who likes to be the life of the party? It’s still important to take things slowly when introducing pets to strangers. Keep your pet in a quiet room until everyone has arrived and settled in. With your dog on a leash, follow his cues and allow him to roam at his own pace. Reward him with treats for good behavior. When you sense that he’s feeling overstimulated, walk him back to his quiet room and reward him with another treat.
Easing Noise Sensitivity in Pets
Besides preparing a quiet room, here are other measures you can have in place ahead of time to help curb holiday pet anxiety:
- Thundershirts are compression wraps that many pet owners find helpful.
- Pheromone diffusers like Feliway for cats and ADAPTIL for dogs induce feelings of calmness by emitting an essence that mimics a mother animal’s nursing pheromones.
- Over-the-counter pet calming treats and supplements may offer some relief.
- Prescription medications may be necessary for pets particularly prone to high levels of anxiety.
- A long walk (or vigorous playtime) an hour prior to any holiday celebration can help your pet feel more relaxed.
We’re Here to Help
Noise sensitivity in pets is common, and we’re happy to discuss ways to curb holiday pet anxiety. Please contact us for more tips or to schedule your pet’s visit.