Christmas, and the holidays in general, are an exciting time for family and friends as we gather together and celebrate the good things in life. Feasts and drinks are served up, and the children enjoy cookie sugar rushes as they play with new toys that bang, clang, and have flashing lights.
While all this sounds like traditional fun for us, the loud noises, crowds, and excitement can be overwhelming for our furry friends. For them, the holidays may be a time of fear and anxiety. Here are a few ways that you can help calm your pets, while still enjoying a time of celebration with family.
CBD Treats and Tincture
CBD oil pet products have been a game-changer for cats and dogs that are skittish, anxious, nervous, and stressed out. Before they hit the market, you would need to visit the vet and ask for a prescription medication that could possibly have side effects. Now, you can hit up your local pet supplies store or shop online for CBD pet products that are safe and all-natural.
CBD helps to calm your pet and can be used for short or long term. Your pet deserves to relax at Christmas time, the same as everyone else! CBD can be administered as delicious treats, or as an oil that is put directly in their mouth or on food. It works quickly to bring on feelings of calm and relaxation. Most CBD pet products contain no THC, so there’s no danger of your pet feeling “high”.
Give Them a Safe Space
For smaller dogs and cats, a crowded house can mean a risk of getting stepped on. Extra people may also pose an instinctual threat to the animal’s territory. Creating a safe space that they can have all to themselves is an excellent way to help keep them calm. This might mean moving their bed and food bowls into a bedroom that is away from the commotion. If they are crate trained, they may prefer staying in their crate with a sheet or blanket covering the crate to block out distractions. Or, they may be comfortable in a small area within the main living space that is blocked off by baby or pet gates.
Know When Kenneling is Best
If you are traveling to stay with family during the holidays, you will need to take your pet with you, make arrangements with a friend to watch over them, or place them under the care of a kennel. Before taking your pet with you, be sure to check with the host to see if it is a good idea. If there will be children present, be aware that very young kids may pull fur and touch pets in places they may not like. Sometimes, the most polite option is to kennel your pet for the duration of the trip. Many kennels today are like fun retreats for pets. They often offer hours of socializing and play time for dogs, as well as regular walks. Some kennels require an introduction visit prior to boarding your pet and mandatory vaccinations, so remember to book their stay well in advance.
Be Sure They Get Exercise
High-energy breeds can especially benefit from exercise to help reduce stress and stay calm. Before your company arrives, take your dog for a long walk, let them run around like crazy at the dog park, or play fetch in your backyard. Burn off that energy so they can nap and chill while the family eats and opens presents. If you have a high-energy cat, use cat toys like laser-pointers and feathers attached to strings to play with them.
Don’t Forget to Reward Good Behavior
Training your pet to be more comfortable around crowds is possible with positive reinforcement. Start by exposing them to small amounts of stimuli and rewarding them with their favorite treats when they stay calm. If they do not show an interest in treats, try giving them their favorite toy as a reward. As they become more comfortable, increase the amount of stimuli. If you start training early, Christmas may be a breeze for your pet to tolerate.
Our pets are a part of the family and we want to do everything we can to include them in the holiday festivities. This year, try something new like CBD pet products or creating their own safe space to help them stay calm while everyone is gathered together.