Table of Contents
- Navigating Social Gatherings
- Coping with New and Festive Sounds
- Maintaining Stability Amidst Chaos
- Decorating Responsibly
- Solutions for Holiday Stress in Dogs
The holiday season is a time for family gatherings, beautiful decorations, music, delicious food and fun activities. Adults and kids of all ages anticipate its arrival, eager to enjoy all the merry festivities, but some family members may find it harder to revel in all that the holidays bring. Specifically, the furry, four-legged members of your family may suffer from stress and anxiousness while you're feeling holly-jolly.
The good news is that there are things you can do to help your pooch throughout the holiday season. Being able to spot dog anxiety symptoms and identify potential stressors is an important first step. In this article, we'll share some elements of holiday celebrations that can be stressful for dogs and teach you what to look for to spot signs of anxiety. We'll also introduce you to some strategies and CBD dog calming products that may help your dog during the holidays.
Navigating Social Gatherings
Hosting a get-together during the holiday season often means bringing people that your dog is unfamiliar with into your home. During the party or holiday dinner, there are a host of new faces, voices and smells bombarding your dog's senses, and spaces where they may usually relax, and play may suddenly be crowded with people. Together, these things can lead to social anxiousness in dogs.
When dealing with social anxiousness, small dogs are more likely to exhibit aggressive behavior like barking and growling than medium and large breeds. Other signs of social anxiety in dogs of all sizes can include acting timid, peeing or pooping indoors, panting and drooling.
Coping with New and Festive Sounds
The holidays can be a noisy time of year. Loud music often helps to set the merry mood for a holiday party. Indoor and outdoor decorations may play tunes, talk or have motors that operate noisily, and streets in many places may have more road noise as people travel to shop and visit loved ones. All of these sounds have the potential to spark feelings of nervousness and stress in dogs.
Fireworks are another major holiday stressor for pooches. In fact, many people ask, "What can I give my dog for fireworks stress?" to friends and search online around Christmas and New Year's Eve each year. Dog fireworks stress and anxiousness due to other holiday sounds can cause symptoms like hiding and cowering. Some may even attempt to or manage to run away when the loud booms of fireworks start.
Maintaining Stability Amidst Chaos
For many families, the holidays are one of the busiest times of the year. There is shopping to do, decorating to complete and tons of events from parties to religious services to concerts and performances to attend. With so much to do, the daily routine often gets disrupted, and dogs may become stressed when the schedules they're accustomed to suddenly change.
Holiday travel is another source of stress for many dogs. If you head off on a trip and you bring your dog, they'll have to deal with long rides in the car or even on an airplane or train. Once you reach your destination, your pooch will be in an unfamiliar place and need to adjust to their new surroundings.
Boarding your pet or leaving them with a pet sitter can be stressful in its own right, as separation stress in dogs is very common. Symptoms include urinating and defecating, howling, destructive behaviors, pacing and trying to escape.
We already mentioned that decorations that make noise can be stressful for your fur baby, and other decorations can contribute to holiday anxiety as well. Lights and candles can make spaces too bright or too hot. Trees and gifts can spark curiosity but might also make dogs nervous or fearful, especially if they're placed in areas where your dog normally likes to play or relax.
Solutions for Holiday Stress in Dogs
Social gatherings, sounds, new routines, travel and decorations are among the biggest holiday stressors for dogs, but that doesn't mean that you have to abandon your holiday plans to help your dog stay calm. Following these tips may help ease stress and anxiousness throughout the season.
Make Changes Gradually
Although it can be tempting to get your holiday decorations out all at once and give your home a complete merry makeover, the sudden change to every room may be more difficult for your dog to manage. Instead, spread out your decorating tasks over one or two weeks. Add something new each day so that your dog has time to adjust.
When it comes time for the tree, take a multi-step approach. Put the tree in place one day. Add lights the next day and then put on any ornaments that make sounds, move or glow.
Create a Safe Space for Your Dog
Having a place in your home that your dog can retreat to when they feel overwhelmed can be a big help during the holidays to manage their normal stress. Relocate your dog's crate or bed to the calm area temporarily, and don't place decorations nearby. During holiday get-togethers, fireworks, and times when you leave your home, you can play white noise or leave the TV on in the area to help soothe your pooch.
Maintain as Much Normalcy as Possible
Although you might not be able to stick to your daily routine every day, keep as much of your usual schedule intact as possible. Strive to feed your dog and let them out at the same time. Setting aside a few minutes for cuddling and play can also have a positive impact.
Keep Them Active
Exercise is a proven way to reduce anxiousness and stress in both humans and pets, so make sure to keep your pet active throughout the holidays. Make time for walks whenever possible and engage in active play that you both enjoy.
Engage in Stress-Relief Dog Training
When it comes to addressing problem behaviors that arise due to holiday stress, take a positive reinforcement approach, rewarding your dog for good behaviors rather than punishing them for bad ones. A gentle approach is far less likely to cause more stress.
Desensitizing your dog may also be beneficial. For example, playing the sounds of fireworks at a low volume and gradually increasing the sound may help them remain calmer when it's time for the real thing.
Try Natural Remedies for Dog Stress
Kradle’s calming CBD products provide a way to help keep your pet calm and relaxed during the holiday season and beyond. Our BotaniTek™ formulations feature pure, broad-spectrum CBD and premium ingredients that have a calming effect on the nerves, and we offer products geared toward your pet's specific needs from bundles for road trips, fireworks and separation stress . Check out our full line of products to discover ways to help calm your dog naturally.
Make the Season Merry for Your Fur Baby
On behalf of everyone here at Kradle, Happy Holidays! We hope that you'll find time to enjoy all the joy that the season brings. With careful planning and some proactive steps, you can take much of the stress out of the holidays and make this time of year a merry one for your dog, too.