Keep the Holidays from Turning into the Howlidays

In this blog, Arden Moore will give you some grr-eat tips on keeping your dog happy and safe during the holidays!

From your dog’s viewpoint, the holidays fill the home with strange smells (fruitcake and potpourri) and strangers (you call them relatives) and maybe, signal shortened (or abruptly cancelled) neighborhood walks.

It is understandable why even some mellow dogs may become antsy, even stressed from these disruptions in their once-predictable daily routines. Stress can weaken the immune system, cause tummy upset and trigger yapping, piddling and other unwanted behaviors. So, if your dog could write to Santa Paws, the following might top his gift wish:

* Dog-only zone. If you plan to invite relatives or out-of-town friends to stay for a few days, create a space in your house for your shy dog that is off-limits to guests. Start early by tossing in treats to condition your dog that this is a welcoming retreat. Provide keep-busy toys, comfy bedding and maybe a sound machine to block the holiday cheer roaring from the living room.

* Spritz the halls with calming pheromones. Products like Adaptil contain synthetic calming pheromones that help calm down some dogs. They are available in sprays and plug-ins.

* Give Me a Z for Zylkene. Zylkene is an over-the-counter food supplement that contains a calming milk protein best given before a stressful event, like the arrival of your chatty cousin. Your veterinarian can give you more details.

* Have nose, must hunt. Shift your dog’s focus from noisy houseguests to sniffing out kibble or treats you toss in a snuffle or licki mat. Work your dog’s nose to hunt and forage for tasty treats to keep them mentally entertained. Locate this canine food puzzle in a place off-limits to houseguests.

* Chew on this, doggy. Divert your dog’s focus from all the holiday hoopla by giving him a safe chew or a Toppls treat toy that you can fill with your dog’s favorite kibble or canned food. Praise your pup when he starts to gnaw on these items. Many dogs cope with boredom or stressful situations by chewing, so save your sofa and your shoes by offering your dog a chew toy or Toppls. 

Wishing you and your dogs a safe and sensational holiday season!

— Arden Moore is the founder of Pet First Aid 4U, best-selling author of host of the Oh Behave Show on Pet Life Radio. www.ardenmoore.com.