– from Dr. Caroline Stark, Associate Veterinarian at VCA
The holiday season can be fun and exciting for pets, just as it is with their humans. This time of year can also bring a lot of stress for our canine companions, which can lead to unwanted and abnormal behaviors.
It is important to think and plan ahead to make holiday events safe for your pets and guests.
If you plan to host a holiday event, consider your pup’s demeanor. If they are shy or anxious around visitors, avoid situations where they can feel threatened. Create a sanctuary or safe space for your pet away from the hustle and bustle. Equip it with a bed, water, toys, and calming music. Have this area ready days before the event so your pet can acclimate!
Have an honest conversation with your guests ahead of time. Let them know that your pets will be a part of the festivities and discuss any concerns before they arrive. No pet should be left unsupervised around young children, especially during the noise and excitement of a holiday gathering. Be careful with resources like toys, food, and water. Dogs can feel threatened near these items.
There are various pet calming products on the market, which may help with large gatherings, separation anxiety, and loud noises like thunder. Try these products before your holiday event to check their effectiveness: Zylkene capsules (Vetoquinol) and Composure Pro (Vetriscience) chews are only some of the options available for pets without a prescription from most pet stores or online vendors like Chewy or Amazon.
If you’re deeply concerned by past behavior, another option to consider is boarding your pet. The Pet Lodge at VCA Holly Farms in Toledo and other boarding facilities have holiday hours. You should consider how your pet responds to the presence of other dogs to determine if this is the best choice. Investigate options and make reservations early because of limited capacity. Most boarding facilities also require a recent health screening and up-to-date vaccination status.
Holiday foods can pose a significant danger to our pets. Avoid offering foods that are high in grease, butter, and sugary desserts. Dogs have a sensitive pancreas, which can flare up after a meal high in dairy or oils, causing significant digestive upset. Boneless and skinless pieces of turkey in moderation should be ok, but a better option would be to skip feeding any human food.
If your pet needs medical attention during the holidays, MedVet in Toledo and Veterinary Emergency Center in Maumee have holiday hours.
Make a note of the location and contact information of the nearest emergency clinic.
Check our website vcahospitals.
com/holly-farms for additional tips from Dr. Stark to ensure you and your pets have a safe and happy holiday season!