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Submitted by: Vicki Apple
The Holiday Season is just as stressful for your dog as it is for you. There s a lot of disruption from their normal routine – unusual smells, lots of visitors – not to mention all the decorations. I can t count the number of times I ve heard people yell at their dog to get away from grandma s heirloom ornaments. It s easy to understand why your pet might seem anxious or unruly this time of year.
3 Tips to Relieve Your Dog s Holiday Stress
We know you love your dog, so we ve listed some ways you can help your pet stay happy and healthy throughout the holidays.
1) Create a den
Dogs will try to find a place where there is only one opening where the perceived danger can be watched. You can be their hero (and stay in control of your home) if you create this safe space for them. It can be as simple as an empty cardboard box with a blanket and their favorite toys.
If you want to get really creative, decorate the outside of the box .. . or let the kids do it. Make sure there s no decoration on the inside of the box, though. The whole point is to give your dog a safe place with the familiar smells of their own toys.
If your pet likes to be where you are, put the makeshift den in a corner of the room where you ll be spending the most time with your guests. Make sure your dog has a separate bed is in a quiet, out of the way room so they have a choice if they want to get away from the chaos.
2) Remember that your pet picks up on your stress levels
You might notice your dog having wetting accidents or showing other signs of being distressed or nervous. This is often caused by your pet sensing your own emotions. You can easily solve this problem by taking a moment to relax and calm yourself down, then speak to your furry friend in a reassuring tone. This short breather will do some good for your dog and for you.
If your pet s nervousness or wetting behavior continues after the chaos of the moment has passed, you might want to have them checked by a vet. You never know what they may have eaten!
3) Keep your animal physically active
During the hustle and bustle of the holiday season it s normal to think about skipping some parts of your regular routine. However, don t let your busy schedule affect your dog s regular exercise time. The normal exercise is important because it will help burn up the stress-related anxiety your dog is experiencing during the holidays.
Keeping this routine is especially important if you live in a cold climate. When the weather s bad your dog s walk is already cut to a minimum. Don t make it worse by cutting out other playtime.
Common Signs of Emotional Distress
Look for these symptoms to determine whether you re dealing with a training issue or a stress issue:
Scratching, clawing or chewing
Pulling out fur/hair
Defecating or urinating inappropriately in the house
With just a little extra effort on your part, you can ensure a healthy and stress free holiday season for your pets and for you.
About the Author: Vicki Apple has raised, trained and cared for dogs and cats for over 30 years. She is the co-author of “What Your Pets Want You to Know”. To get your free report, “Secrets to Happy and Obedient Pets” go to
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