It's getting to be crunch time, people. The Holidays are no longer sneaking up on us, but rather we are frantically trying to catch up. Holiday shopping, meal planning, parties, guests, you name it. It can be a stressful time of year, especially for our furry family members. They don't know about Holidays or what the big excitement is about, all they know is that energy is up and their human companions are stressed out. This in turn, causes them to be frantic and stress out as well. Here are a few signs of stress you can keep a watch for in your canine companion:
- Loss of appetite
- Lack of energy and interest in things they used to love
- Lip licking and yawning
- Boisterous behavior or excessive whining
- Hiding and cowering when you call to them
- Chewing on furniture and things they are not supposed to chew on when they haven't done that in ages.
- Velcro dog-- basically following you around EVERYWHERE and being right under your feet all the time.
- They seemed to have forgotten they are potty trained.
Of course, these behaviors could also be an underlying health problem. It may be good to take your dog to the vet, just to rule out something physical. But once you have ruled out something biological, here is what you can do to help ease the tension in Fido:
- Stick to your routine: Routine is very important to canines. It brings them comfort. Make sure you are feeding your furry loved one at the same time(s) you would each day and walk/play with them at your normal times.
- Physical Exercise: It's easy to cut corners on physical exercise when things are coming at you at all directions. But physical exercise is not only good for you, it's good for Fido. Setting aside a regular time everyday to exercise will help reduce stress in both of you and will be good for bonding/ strengthening trust in your relationship. Plus Fido will be less likely to engage in destructive behavior.
- Mental Exercise: Giving your dog mental exercises each day helps keep boredom at bay. A bored dog = a dog more likely to get into trouble! You can challenge your dog with enrichment puzzles or brush up on some training behaviors. All of this will help reduce stress and keep your dog happy.
- Enlist Help: If you are just too busy to keep a normal routine with your pet, you may want to think about enlisting some help! You can hire someone or recruit a family member to take over walking and feeding the dog at the normal time. OR you can opt for your dog to come play at a doggy daycare. Personally, we think Bark City Doggy Daycare is the best. 😉
- Manage Your Own Stress: Often your dog will figure out your stressed before you have figured it out. If your dog is a walking around mental health case, chances are you are too. Dog's don't know why you are stressed, they just can feel you radiating that energy and it makes them nervous! Maybe it's time to sit down and evaluate the stress in your own life and find ways to calm down and BREATHE.
- Quiet Sanctuary: If you are having a party or lots of guests, set aside a room away from all the chaos for your dog that is quiet. Put their kennel (aka personal sleeping den) in that room with their favorite toys, water, ect. This is a place just for them. People are not allowed.
The Holidays are stressful for humans and furry family members. Taking steps and precautions to minimize stress is a must in order to keep insanity at bay. We can't avoid all the hustle and bustle, but at least we can try to be a lion tamer. Happy Holidays everyone!