10 Ideas to Help Keep Pets Calm with Holiday Visitors

Super Smiley, blog dog here, and I love the holidays. I’m a social creature, and my girlfriend, Angel, and I love guests. But all pets aren’t so accommodating. We also like our routines, our safe place, and our people focused on us. So, when the structure we’ve come to expect is disrupted, some of us pets get anxious and nervous. And, some of us may act out or even develop physical symptoms of stress.

So, as a pet parent, what can you do to help keep your pets calm with holiday visitors?

  1. Try to stick to our routine. If we go for a walk at 5:00, even if you cut it short, try to take us out at “our” time.
  2. Know your pet! Is he afraid of crowds, children, other dogs or loud noises? Don’t expect him to change just because you have important guests coming. Anticipate his reaction and make creative adjustments for him.
  3. Train your dog to greet guests at the door in a calm manner before your holiday event. This way, the ringing doorbell and the appearing guests won’t be so overwhelming.
  4. If your dog just goes into a barking frenzy when the doorbell rings, in order to keep him from escalating more and more, keep him on a leash with you as the guests arrive, and leave a note on the door for them to just come on in without ringing the doorbell.
  5. If you have an indoor cat, it’s best to keep her sequestered in another room, like a “safe place.” This way she won’t escape as the front door opens as she’s trying to get away from the crowds. Prepare her safe place before the specific event and let her get used to being closed in there. Make it a nice living space like in your bedroom or office where she will feel relaxed, not a stark, cold place like a laundry room or garage. Using a SENTRY GOOD Behavior Calming Diffuser in the designated “safe space” will also help her feel relaxed.
  6. This “safe room” is a good idea for us dogs too. Even if your dog is super social, the noise and constant petting from well meaning, dog-loving guests may turn into over stimulation. So give your dog a break by letting him rest in the bedroom every once in a while.

Good job Super Smiley! It’s Megan here now with some ideas on structuring and defining the holiday visits.

  1. Only let other pets visit if your pet already knows and welcomes playtime with that particular pet. And even then, give your pet a safe private space for a break time respite.
  2. Keep your pet safe and feeling good by not feeding him “holiday food.” And, give strict instructions to your guests to also not feed him. See our last blog on foods to keep away from your pets.
  3. If you are also going to be traveling for visits during the holidays, consider getting a pet sitter to come into your home, so your pets can stay in their own environment and stick to their regular routines.
  4. If the holiday prep and guests are making you super busy and crazed, this is all the more reason to keep your pet on a regular schedule. Make time for play, walks and just “together time.” This will help balance and relax you too. And, it might even be the highlight of your holidays…for both of you.

Until Next Time,
Woof and Super Smiles from
Super Smiley and Megan Blake, The Pet Lifestyle Coach®

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