Beating Holiday Pet Stress
Posted by Kat Powers on
The holiday season can mean travel, visitors, or schedule changes for your pet, and sometimes that can cause them stress. Depending on the species of animal, there are some simple tips to help reduce that stress for them.
Signs of Pet Stress and What To Do About It
If possible, always remove your animal from the stressor. If your pet is constantly stressed, see your veterinarian.
Resist the urge to overly pamper your dog when they are scared, this can reward and reinforce their reaction. Instead give the opportunity for routine tasks or commands first. A walk or other exercise, or some other routine behavior like the sit command is the best first way to help your stressed dog. Then your next step can be treats or snuggles. Think of it as removing stress and distracting from it, then reinforcing that behavior pathway. This helps your dog know that it's ok to feel better after a stressor, rather than focusing on the stress response, thereby making it easier to rebound after the next stressor.
Routine behaviors like regular feedings and playtime help reduce stress in cats. They also need a quiet and safe place to hide, and may even need some quiet time away from you if you are suddenly home more than usual. In addition to being able to escape to another room, cats benefit from having perches off the ground like a shelf or cat tree. If you have guests and a nervous cat, you can suggest that your guests let your cat decide if it wants to approach for interaction or not.
Some animals can benefit from gentle doses of Chinese Herbal formulas, and if you'd like to explore that further please let us know. Remember it's always best to get an assessment from your veterinarian, and that you can ask your vet about herbs and supplements to help your pet. Some vets are more open to natural remedies than others.