Six Ways the Holidays Stress Out Your Dog

Roxanne Hawn

Pet Holiday Stress

Sometimes, the most wonderful time of the year can also be pretty dog-gone stressful – for people and dogs. I’m not saying completely avoid the following things. I’m just suggesting we should acknowledge that this season of celebration might be more stressful than usual for our dogs and do what we can to give them a break.

1. Hubbub

Busy schedules – shopping, cooking, gift-wrapping, parties – mean much more activity in your house. Dogs like routines and can feel stressed when things seem suddenly and drastically different.

2. Noise

Holiday music, doorbells, pots and pans clanging, phones ringing, new toys beeping, kids squealing, and everyone laughing can really set dogs on edge – even if they aren’t normally sound sensitive.

3. Stink

Cleaning supplies, scented candles, potpourri, air fresheners, guests’ perfume/cologne, and even some holiday foods can assault a dog’s sensitive nose. What smells nice to us is likely overwhelming to our dogs.

4. Strangers

Depending upon your dog’s level of socialization as a puppy, she may find the onslaught of party or house guests daunting. Children can be especially scary to some dogs because they move in unexpected ways and can be noisy and grabby.

Plan ahead and create a safe zone for your dog – away from the noise and activity and people. Never require your dog to interact with people she doesn’t know.

5. Rule Changes

Any behavior that you allow on a normal day will only be heightened in the excitement of the holidays. If you suddenly don’t allow your dog on the furniture or holler at him for begging at the holiday table, he’ll likely be confused and a little stressed about the change in rules.

6. Less Attention, Less Exercise

Whether it’s due to cold weather or an overbooked schedule, there’s a good chance your dog is getting less attention and exercise during the holiday season. Dogs accustomed to high levels of play and exercise may show signs of stress by acting out in ways you don’t typically see – chewing on furniture, tearing up toys, unwrapping gifts.

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