Feeling overwhelmed just thinking about the 30-some-odd relatives that’ll be stuffing into your home this holiday season? You’re not the only one!
Your dog loves to spend Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Hanukkah with the family just as much as you do, but let’s face it: Accommodating all those people at one time can be stressful! And while hubby and wifey can exchange grimaces followed by words of comfort in the kitchen after one asks the other to “come help with the turkey…NOW,” Fluffy and Fido don’t have the same ways to tell you when enough is enough.
How can I tell my dog is stressed?
Just because dogs don’t speak English or another human language doesn’t mean they can’t communicate. Just like dogs learn to recognize phrases like “Wanna go outside?” we owe it to our furry friends to learn some of the things they say. Keep an eye out for these possible signs of stress:
· Ears back and low.
· Panting (outside of heat and exercise).
· Chewing/biting furniture, self, or others.
· Tail tucked, avoiding eye contact, and turning away.
· Accidents in the house.
· Excessive barking.
But my dog loves people. What’s the deal?
A few people is one thing, but more than that? A lot of people usually means a lot of noise. Remember, dogs’ ears are more sensitive than ours. Imagine being locked in a room with blasting speakers and no way to turn the volume down—and on top of it all, you’re exhausted and overdo for a nap.
Dogs are also creatures of habit and routine. They know what time to wake you up, what time you get home from work, and which humans belong in the house. Suddenly there are people going in and out and sticking their noses here and there doing this and that, and your dog doesn’t know what’s going on!
Finally, keep in mind that not everyone knows how to handle dogs—especially young children who don’t live with you. The way your two-year-old niece touches and grabs at Sparky could cause more than just a bad fur do.
What can I do to make the holidays dog-friendly?
Even if you’re 200% sure that Rascal would never, ever bite, no matter how stressed, taking one or more of the following stress-preventative actions can make sure that your best friend gets to enjoy the holidays as much as you do:
· Put your dog in a crate with a favorite chew toy or stuffed animal during guest arrival and departure as well as dinner preparation and serving.
· Make sure one person is in charge of the dog to intervene when children give unwanted attention or to otherwise mitigate stress.
· Make sure at least one person is supervising each baby and toddler at all times.
· Consider a crate, separate room, or kennel for the duration of your large gathering, especially if you have multiple dogs.
· Keep as many other things as routine as possible, such as feeding and exercise.
Share your holiday tips and stories!
Have you learned a few things over the years about treating your dog right during the holidays? Leave a comment and let us know! Bonus points if you share an adorable holiday pic of your fur baby with us on Facebook.