5 ways to help your pets cope with the festive season

stress relief for pets over the festive season

As Christmas and New Years fast approach, this can be a festive and exciting time for pets but it can also be overwhelming and frankly, harmful, if we don’t know what signs of danger to look for.

Below you’ll find some top tips from Animal communicator, Sarah Lea.

1.Prepare your pets for social Gatherings
New energy in the home, different personalities, smells, vibrations and sounds can be extremely overstimulating for pets and can quickly turn into aggression, fear or anxiety.

Sarah Lea suggests ensuring sufficient exercise around these events. Exercising pets to a healthy “exhaustion” before a major social gathering will prepare them by reducing the amount of extra energy that is sitting in their body and mind.

2. Healthy Introductions to potential sources of anxiety is paramount.
Now that the pet is prepared, it’s important for them to “understand” who is in their home and what is taking place. Especially for pets with anxiety and rescue cases where perspectives and beliefs around humans are sensitive.
Allow them to “discover” guests or new people (depending where these events are taking place) Don’t force an introduction but make sure it happens in their time.

Pro tip: Remember, dogs discover their surroundings and wether something is a threat or not through their nose, not their hearing or sight, encourage them to approach other people, spaces and objects. Allow them to smell around so they can understand for themselves that they are safe!

3. Now that you’ve reduced anxiety and communicated to them that they are safe, it’s important to ensure their safety and calmness for the rest of the time.

“I believe it’s important to show the animal where their space is and give them the choice to stay there or explore. I bring my dogs bed with me if we are going to someones home, or if people are coming to our home, his bed is always his safe spot. So once he has discovered everyone and everything, I have him walk to his bed, hop in and I will give him a delicious treat to reward him for being in the space and it gives him something to do. Everyone knows that’s his safe space and not to mess with it. At that point, he may choose to stay there the whole time or he may feel comfortable enough to come out and join us. Either way, I’m not worried about him in the space because I’ve laid out the foundation for a stress free experience for both of us.”

“Their safe space can be on a bed, a coat, a towel, pillow and it can be in the outskirts of the same room or in another room, ideally with the door open so they have the choice to be separated but don’t feel trapped.”

Depending one where you are in the world this festive season, if the climate is extremely hot or cold, do NOT leave your pets outside, this will lead to even more anxiety, lack of trust and a feeling of abandonment that lasts much longer than the actual event. Instead, equip your fur child with the tools and support to manage these experiences.

4. Food safety!
There will be delicious food that those little snouts can’t resist, we love the idea of animals joining us at the dinner table, however, there are some foods to avoid. We want them to enjoy the Christmas dinner… not choke on it ;)

AVOID
Bones
Bones easily splinter and can cause serious health problems (even death) for your pet. Even cooked ones, we prefer to avoid.
Candy
Chocolate is especially toxic as well as any candy with the sweetener Xylitol.
Citrus and pits
Keep foods containing citric acid away from your pets. Cherry and peach peach pits, apple seeds among others contain essential oils which are especially toxic to cats, but animals in general. On that note, always diffuse your essential oils if you have pets in the home.
Coffee
Grounds, beans and chocolate-covered espresso beans.
Garlic
Grapes and raisins
These can cause kidney problems.
Onions 
Including onion flakes and powder

5. Be aware of your energy.
Although this is a festive time of year, for many , this is a very difficult time, especially in the plight of the pandemic. As we near the end of a difficult and frankly, weird year, a lot of feelings come to the surface that we have buried year long, there is conflict, feeling of being overwhelmed and even being exhausted.
Be aware of this, and carve out time to manage all of this stuff in a way that serves you best. Not only do we want to make sure you are happy and healthy, but we know that this effects your pets too.

Remember, they feed off your energy, they can transfer your energy or mimic you, they pick up on shifts and if there is someone entering your home you have ill feelings towards… they’ll know. They may become protective, on alert or concerned about you.

So make sure you’re taking a step back this month to look after you and in turn, you’ll look after them!

Other than that, we wish you a very happy and healthy festive season and thank you for being committed pet parents!

Have questions about how you can get your paws on the tools we provide for Pet parents and their Pets? We'd love to hear from you. 

Looking to treat your fury friends with heel products? Use the code SANTAPAWS for 20% off until the end of January!