The holidays can come with some big routine changes, and your pet may not take very kindly to being in the same house as your loud mother-in-law and a bunch of new faces. From poisonous plants and dangerous decorations, to separation anxiety and stress, you’ll need to make some considerations this Christmas to ensure your pet stays happy and stress-free. 

Dangerous decorations should be kept out of reach

Your cat or dog will become curious about any decorations they see hanging up around the house; electrical wires running along the walls, stockings near the fireplace and yard decorations can all be of great interest to your pet - but they can also be potential dangers. 

After all, you may find these decorations torn up or your pet all tangled up in wires if you leave them alone for a minute. Instead of spending the holiday season with eyes in the back of your head - or worse, in the vets, you may want to move the decorations to a safe area up high or in some secure place that your pet can’t reach

Related: Are Holiday Plants Toxic for Pets?

A cat in Christmas decorations

Keep your pets calm and full of Christmas cheer

If your pets aren't used to having a lot of people in the house, filling up the place with guests for Christmas can make both cats and dogs irritable, stressed, violent or depressed. They’ll feel like their personal space is being invaded.  This can be especially tough for pets dealing with the sensory overload of the situation and may act erratically. 

You’ll want to give puppies or kittens extra care at times like these, making sure they have plenty of personal space and a designated room to play around in. For adult animals, many pet parents try a pheromone diffuser. This sprays a fragrance into the air that helps calms pets in stressful situations; you can find out more about how these affect animal behaviour here.

Related: Complete Guide to Leaving a Dog at Home Alone

Create safe spaces

Research has shown that all sorts of animals need personal space and privacy every now and then, and you’ll want to be able to accommodate your four-legged friend. You can create some hidey holes for your pet and gave them a safe place or designated romo to go to when the house fills up. 

Top tip: If you’re low on space, simply opening up some closets or placing a few open boxes around the house with blankets or bedding inside will do wonders for your pet’s mental health. 

3 dogs in front of a Christmas tree

Make time for walks

Holiday seasons are hectic and busy, so it’s easy to forget to talk your dog for walks as often as you usually do. Just taking a bit of time outdoors during the holiday can do wonders for your dog’s emotional state, relieving stress and giving them some fresh air. There are all sorts of health benefits to dog walking that you might not think about when you are exhausted from holiday preparations, but you need to be mindful of your pet’s needs all year long. 

Related: Dog park: Dos and Don’ts

Consider hiring a sitter

If you are just too busy with Christmas preparations, why not hire someone to walk your dog or care for them while you’re preoccupied? You might not be able to entertain guests, prepare food and take care of a stressed out pet, so hiring a pet sitter can often be the most sensible solution. Don’t be afraid to give it a try, even if it’s a new experience for you. Your pet’s mental health may benefit from the attention and the time away from the busy house.