A Happy Holiday for the Whole Family — Including Your Dog
The holiday season can provide many opportunities for joy, from gatherings of loved ones to spectacular holiday meals. However, as you plan for this happy day, don’t forget to make allowances for that other member of your family, the family dog. Take the following steps to make sure your dog enjoys a happy holiday as well.
Create a Safe Space for Your Dog
Some dogs can find a sudden influx of noise and activity extremely disorienting, causing them to feel fear or anxiety during holiday get-togethers. You can minimize this problem by setting up an “escape room” for your dog to use when things get too rowdy. Arrange your dog’s favorite bed and toys in a quiet, remote area of the house. If you’ve trained your dog to feel happy and secure in its crate, then fill the crate with these goodies so your dog can take periodic breaks from the action.
Brief Your Guests Beforehand
Even the first guest arrivals can trigger stress or aggression in your dog if they take the form of loud talking and/or banging on the door. Even a benevolent pat on the head can prove alarming to a dog who doesn’t like that sort of thing. Talk to your guests in advance, briefing them on what they should and shouldn’t do around your dog.
Avoid Feeding Your Dog Human Food
Everybody loves a good holiday dinner, including (of course) your dog. However, you should never feed your dog table scraps at any time of year. Popular holiday dishes typically contain too much sodium, sugar, fat, and other ingredients dogs don’t need. Instead, prepare a generous supply of your dog’s favorite foods and treats. You can also prepare small quantities of seasoned potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, boneless turkey, and other safe choices for your dog’s dinner.
Don’t forget about those bowls of snacks sitting around the living room. If your guests will be settling down to snack after the meal, take the precaution of installing some baby gates at the entrances to keep your dog away from tempting but unhealthy goodies.
Keep Your Dog Occupied
A little exercise and distraction can help your dog feel calmer and happier on a hectic day. Exercise your dog in the morning so it will have less energy left over for anxiety later on. Let your dog spend some time out in the yard while guests revel indoors. Give your dog puzzle games and other challenging forms of indoor entertainment.
Could your dog benefit from your training to help it get through holidays more easily? Bring it to the German Dog Training Center!