The holidays are a great time to catch up with family and friends.
Some pets enjoy socializing, too. However, other pets are overwhelmed by the crowds and noises.
In addition to making your pet feel uncomfortable, parties or social gatherings may provoke a more severe fear response. This could lead to your pet running out the door and getting lost or hurt, or to injuries (of pets or of human guests).
Not to mention, curious pets may be quick to snatch up any dropped appetizers, or try a sip of your guests’ unattended holiday drinks.
For these reasons, it’s important to be smart about planning your social schedule.
If you’re going out, don’t bring your pet with you unless they’re well socialized in a variety of settings and noise levels, and you’re 100% confident they will enjoy the event. Of course, check that it’s okay with your host to bring furry guests, too.
SEE ALSO: Pet-Friendly Holiday Decorating Tips
Hosting a Holiday Get Together
If you’re hosting a holiday party in your home, keep in mind the below.
- Unless you are 100% confident they will have fun and be well-behaved at the party, keep your pup or kitty confined to a quiet room.
- Set up this room as a “safe space” for your pet. Keep windows closed so your pet won’t try to escape if they feel frightened. Give them food and water and a hiding spot, like under the bed or in a crate.
- Also, consider adding background sounds like television or a white noise maker.
- Inform guests or leave a sign on the door so no one will disturb your pet or accidentally let them out of the room.
- Use pheromone products. These sprays, wipes, and plug-ins release “scent signals” that help your pet relax.
- Try a Thundershirt (a snug vest that mimics swaddling).
- If your pet has anxiety, talk to your vet about medications or supplements, and consider working with a behaviorist.
Dressing Up Your Pet
There’s nothing more adorable than a fluffy dog or cat wearing a Santa hat or plush reindeer antlers! Many pets will tolerate these things for at least a short period of time — long enough for you to take some photos. However, if your pet is too stressed by playing dress up, it’s probably best to avoid.
If your pup or kitty does agree to wear their costume, though, keep an eye on them. Supervision during costume time is necessary to ensure that their garments don’t get tangled or twisted in a way that could be uncomfortable or choke them.
If your pet decides to join in the fun and play with wrapping paper, ribbons, or new presents, supervise their playtime so they don’t ingest any of these objects.
And, consider giving your pet their own gift — so they can share in the excitement! Place your pet’s gift inside loose paper or a gift bag. Then, have fun watching them discover their new treat or toy!
SEE ALSO: Holiday Safety Tips for Pet Parents