With the holiday season now in full swing, chances are that you find yourself incredibly busy trying to juggle all of your responsibilities in addition to various obligations and interests. One thing you may not consider is how the very things you love most about the holiday season, including the decorations, the parties, and the presents, can cause stress for your furry companions. Unfortunately, a stressed pet is not only uncomfortable–he also often displays troublesome behaviors like chewing or marking–which is why it is very useful to know what pet anxiety relief options you have.

How to Help an Anxious Pet

When you are dealing with pet anxiety, it is helpful to remember that your pet has basic social, physical, and emotional needs–just like you–and providing for these needs can help to ensure that they make it through intense periods without suffering from stress. With that in mind, here are five simple ways to help reduce your pet’s stress this holiday season:

  1. Adhere to a predictable routine. Pets come to rely on predictable routines in order to feel comfortable, relaxed and safe, and major changes in their routines can contribute largely to feelings of stress and anxiety. This doesn’t mean that their routines must be entirely inflexible, only that they should remain as consistent as possible–especially as regards important basics like meals, walks, and playtime. For example, if you normally feed your pet every evening and then take them for a walk, try to stick to this schedule as closely as possible and continue feeding and walking them around the same time every evening. You may find it helpful to set yourself reminders so that no matter how busy you become, your pet remains a priority.
  2. Get plenty of exercise with your pet. Exercise is immensely important for both you and your pet, as it is a proven method of reducing stress. It can also help your pet release excess energy so as not to become restless, irritable, hyperactive or anxious while in the house. The type of exercise you provide for your pet can vary each day–this will actually keep them stimulated and interested–but it should occur for roughly the same length of time each day. In other words, if your pet is accustomed to half-hour walks each day and you try to take them out for just five minutes one day, you may notice the same effects as when you fail to exercise them at all.
  3. Stimulate your pet’s brain. Just as you can become bored, restless, and stressed when you sit around doing nothing for long periods of time, so too can your pet. Stimulation and challenges can help keep them busy, engaged, and satisfied. For example, rather than simply placing all of your pet’s food in their dish, consider placing some of it into a food puzzle that they will have to figure out. You may even consider hiding bits of food or treats around the house to keep them entertained even while they get their meal.
  4. Take time to give them attention. Your pet cherishes the time you spend with them, and they can feel worried or anxious when this special time disappears, even for a single day. Carve out time to hold your pet, pet your pet, play with your pet or even train your pet, and they will remain far calmer and more satisfied.
  5. Get help from others as needed. It is far better to get help from others than allow your pet to be neglected and become anxious or stressed as a result. This can range from having visitors reward your pet’s good manners with a treat or some playtime to hiring a dog walker or pet sitter or even taking your dog to a special dog daycare facility. This way you can rest assured that your pet is getting the attention and care they need to remain calm and relaxed even while you deal with your busy schedule.

Don’t let the holiday season fill your pet with stress and anxiety–help them to understand that they are still an important part of your life, and there is nothing to worry about. For more information and tips, contact AMC today.