Keeping Your Pets Happy and Healthy during the Holidays
Keeping your pet Happy and Healthy during the holidays doesn’t end with keeping them from eating the Poinsettia leaves and gorging themselves on the Chocolate Toy Soldiers under the tree.
It’s about knowing your Pet and what situations they can handle and which ones they need to be removed from. If your dog is 15lbs there isn’t much chance of them being able to get the Thanksgiving Turkey off the counter as it sits before you start cutting it. On the other hand if you have a Labrador or Standard Poodle you might want to put them in a special room while you are cooking so you don’t turn your back to watch the football game and suddenly find your entire dinner is missing. Not only will you be upset at the situation but your pet will be sick from eating so much so quickly. Plus just like how you get sleepy from the tryptophan in the turkey ingesting the entire turkey will likely make your pet act drunk and might require an emergency visit to the vet not something you want to do the one time a year you get to see everyone together. Instead leave a little of the white meat cut off the bone for your pet to have as a treat when the guests leave or for dinner the next day.
Just because your pet loves when Grandma Sue comes to visit doesn’t mean they will love when the entire family invades their house and your 3 year old niece wants to play dress up with your dog or cat. Not all animals want to be the center of attention and strut their stuff when company comes calling. Some would prefer to be left by themselves cuddled in blankets in a room all to themselves with some water and maybe a chew toy or special enrichment activity to keep them occupied. In fact before everyone comes over make sure to take your dog on a long walk or play ball and chase in the yard until they are tired. If your cat will play be sure to spend some time playing so that it will want to rest when everyone is over. It will allow everyone to have a better Holiday then if your Great Dane wants to play chase with your 90 year old uncle Joe or the cat decides to climb up and inspect your new born nephew in their stroller and your brother freaks out because the cat is inspecting the baby.
Whether you decide to allow your pet free range of the house when guest are over or if they are going to be kept in their own special place make sure to tell everyone to keep the door closed and to not let the dog or cat out of the house. If you are keeping your pet in a room or other special place and someone wants to go and play after dinner make sure they know not to let your pet out of the safe room it is in and to keep the door closed at all times. So that when it comes time for everyone to leave Fido doesn’t escape out the door by accident.
If your family member is sleeping over make sure you set ground rules with everyone. If they don’t want the dog to be sleeping in their room they need to keep the door shut after all it is your pet’s house too and they don’t understand why suddenly they are not allowed in their favorite room. Make it a family activity to walk the dog after dinner or before breakfast so everyone gets some exercise in between giant dinners. Explain that if they give treats to let you know they did or if they are only allowed certain foods to make it clear and explain why. This is your house and your pet and only you can know what works and what doesn’t for them. Allow this to be a very Happy and Healthy Holiday Season for everyone in the family including your family pet.
Be sure to check out Felissa’s blog, Two Little Cavaliers!