How to Keep Your Pet Safe and Stress-Free During the Holidays

|| November 10, 2016

The holiday season is upon us! And while the festivities may bring loads of happiness and cheer, it’s common for a sense of stress and anxiety to also accompany the holiday season. It’s important to remember that your pets can also experience a degree of stress with this time of year. Here are some tips to help keep your pets safe and relaxed.

Give your pet a private and quiet place to retreat.

If you’re hosting a social gathering or having family stay with you, consider that it may be stressful for your pet to interact with new people or be in noisy environments. Allow your pet access to a quiet room or kennel to retreat to if or when the social gathering becomes overwhelming for them. Ensure this room gives them access to fresh water, food, and perhaps a litter box for cats.

Heighten your sense of awareness to their behavior and health.

Just like people, when animals are anxious, it can affect their health. A lot of dormant or previously controlled conditions tend to worsen during periods of stress. Be mindful of your pet’s behavior (appetite, using the litter box, etc.) during these stressful times, and seek medical attention if needed.

Some examples of conditions that worsen with stress include:

  • Cats with urinary issues (particularly male cats with a history of crystals or blockage)
  • Cats with a history of upper respiratory infections
  • Dogs being managed for endocrine disorders (such as Addison's or diabetes)
  • Dogs with a history of colitis or gastrointestinal (GI) upset 

Help keep your pets safe from potential holiday dangers.

  • Poinsettias are toxic to cats.
  • Ornaments and pieces of trees (real and fake) can be a source of GI upset or obstructions for dogs and cats.
  • Candles or fireplaces can be source of thermal trauma.
  • Certain foods can cause GI upset, pancreatitis, or be toxic to pets.

Please do not hesitate to contact WVRC with any questions or concerns. We hope that you, your family, and your pets all enjoy a happy and safe holiday season!

- Meghan Glazer, DVM

WVRC - ER Veterinarian