It is always fun when you are the host of a holiday gathering. Not only do you get to welcome people into your home, but you get to prepare a fantastic meal for everyone to share. Of course, hosting comes with its fair share of stress. You need to ensure that guests are comfortable, happy and leave with full stomachs.
Thanksgiving can also be a stressful day for your pets with strange family members coming to visit. Here are some key tips to help mitigate your dog’s stress on Thanksgiving.
1. Plenty of Exercise
An exercised dog is a calm dog. Unfortunately, this means more than just walking your dog moments before guests begin to arrive. Try to take your dog on a few long walks or trips to a local dog park the week leading up to visitors arriving. This will have your pup feeling relaxed with less pent-up energy.
2. Leash Your Dog
When visitors arrive it may be a good idea to keep a leash on your dog. This way you have more control of your dog and can prevent him or her from jumping on newly arrived guests or running out an open door. Having a leash on your dog will also get your pet in the mindset that it is time to walk and can help ease your pet of any stress he or she may experience from strangers arriving.
3. Kennel or Separate Room
If your dog is prone to stressful situations it may be best to keep your dog in a separate area until all your guests have arrived. Try using a familiar dog kennel or a spare room. Be sure there is nothing that the dog can chew or scratch at within the room if he or she is stressed. Give your dog a hollow toy filled with peanut butter or treats to keep him or her busy. Your dog may appreciate having a calm, quiet space to acclimate to new sounds and smells in his or her house.
4. Train your Visitors
If people are coming to your home it is a good idea to train your guests on proper dog etiquette. Some dogs prefer to be left alone until they feel comfortable approaching new people. Ringing the doorbell can cause dogs to stress, so a simple knock on the door may be more suitable. If you have family or friends that are bringing small children to the house teach the children the proper care and respect for petting and handling your animals. Remember, your dog should never be poked, chased, or picked up if he or she is not comfortable with it.
The more you are able to help your visitors understand appropriate behavior around your dog the better and more relaxed your dog will be.
Having friends and family visit for Thanksgiving is a special and fun time, but make sure that everyone in your home is enjoying themselves including your dog. By enacting some best practices to make sure your pet stays stress-free while family is visiting, you can be sure to have the day run as smoothly as possible. Not only will your guests be appreciative of a well-mannered and controlled dog, but your furry friend will love being stress-free.
If you have any questions please contact us at Van Dyke Animal Clinic.