A Guide to a Fear-Free Holiday Season for Your Pet
Grandma won’t get run over by a reindeer, but she might be trampled by blind, senior citizen cat, Bruce, on his run for the Passover lamb shank!
The holiday season is here. Let’s get the cliches out of the way. Can you believe they have Christmas and Hanukkah decorations up before Thanksgiving? Look out for that extra holiday weight - or, as every pet blog is saying this month, don’t give your dog the turkey!
Okay, phew. That was painful.
Holidays are fun for humans. You wear slightly fancier clothes, make complicated dishes with root vegetables, and find out how many aunts and uncles you can fit into your dining room. For us, that’s fun with a capital F. However, the holidays are a bit “freakish” for your fur family. If you’re hosting, your pets are inundated with a surge of new people, scents, sounds, and a total disruption of routine. If you’re traveling, your pets experience the opposite: a lack of familiar people, scents, and sounds and a total disruption of routine.
To ensure a happy holiday season for your fur-and-furless-family, you must implement a fear-free, stress-free strategy for your pets ahead of time. Pet owners, if you read one pet blog this holiday season, let this be it! Happy humans and happy pets make happy holidays.
Scenario One: You’re hosting
Martha Stewart who? You have family traveling from far and wide who can’t wait to taste your sweet potato casserole and see how you folded your fancy napkins this year. This is your time to thrive. How awful would it be to miss Aunt Susan’s reaction to your new tablecloth because Ringo, the dog, started chewing on Uncle Bill’s shoe out of nerves?
Set yourself, Ringo, and Uncle Bill up for success by empowering your dog with these tools.
Calming treats and medicines: Just like we enjoy a nice cup of chamomile to get through cousin Katie’s one-hundred-picture photo album of her trip to New Hampshire, our pets appreciate a little something to soothe their nerves. Whether prescribed by your veterinarian for the higher-level angst or grabbing CBD or Melatonin-based treats from our shop, calming treats or meds can go a long way in taking the edge off. Giving your pet medication can feel scary and seem “unnatural,” but it’s far worse to make your pet suffer through stress than to put medication into his body. Sure, K9s didn’t have CBD treats in the wild, but they also didn’t have to listen to holiday music on repeat. Caring for your pet’s emotional state is just as important as meeting their physical needs.
Some treats that we trust and love are
For CBD Items, come into the store and purchase, or we can deliver.
Chew on this: Even if your pup doesn’t feel nervous with the guests, they need attention , which you probably can’t give without also burning the turkey. Long-lasting chew toys are a game-changer. They keep your pup engaged and happy while you're cooking and enjoying your holiday feast. Think of it as their own special dinner!
Chews are especially helpful for puppies or adult dogs who act like puppies (cough, cough- like my dogs!) Having something durable to chew on will satisfy their gums and can be the difference between whether Uncle Bill goes home with one shoe or two.
Our family loves:
Monster Bully Sticks - Made & Raised in the USA (first dog’s favorite)
Frankly - Mega Collagen Rolls (second dog’s favorite)
We carry long-lasting chews of your dog’s choice and size appropriateness. (Translation: your chihuahua doesn’t need an ostrich femur).
Warning: Don’t overlook your cats! Dogs get all the credit for stealing the holiday feasts, but sometimes, the least suspecting of critters wins the lamb. My cat Bruce is blind and a senior citizen (thank you, AARP). This past year, he jumped up on our Passover table, grabbed the lamb shank bone, pulled it over to his bed, and started eating it. We were too impressed to intervene. (Bruce had a great Passover.)
My other cat, Snacks, is even trickier. He wins guests over with affectionate purrs. He even graces them with a lap-sit. Then, when you’re mid-conversation, mindlessly petting Snacks, he ATTACKS! We’ve tried to reason with him, but he thinks it’s hilarious. Rather than hoping for the best, we know he needs to be engaged with toys in another room.
Scenario Two: You’re hosting fur-family.
If you’re lucky enough to host your dog nieces and nephews, make sure to have extra toys and treats on hand and a way to keep pets apart if necessary. It's like having a pet playdate, but with preparedness in case there are any “disagreements” amongst the players!
Our nieces and nephews love:
Gift baskets - find out what toys your visiting guests like, and we’ll customize your basket for you
Look through your existing toys and know their favorites and ensure your pets have access
Scenario Three: You’re traveling with your pets.
Hitting the road with your pets? You have two priorities: safety and road games. You wouldn’t take your baby on the interstate without a car seat, so be prepared with the safety equivalent for your dog.
Safety first: Safety is non-negotiable. A well-secured crate or a pet seatbelt can ensure a safe and comfy journey for your furry co-pilot. Remember, even in a minor fender-bender, your pets become projectiles if not harnessed in, especially the smaller ones. It’s a terrifying truth.
We love and trust:
Entertainment: You could play the license plate game for days without getting bored. And there’s nothing as thrilling as singing 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall until the cats come home (do we know you, or what!) Because your pets can’t quite comprehend the excitement of politically-drawn state boundaries, you’ll have to take a different approach for them. Pack something fun and a remedy for car sickness in an easy-to-reach bag. We recommend:
Scenario Four: You’re traveling solo.
Sometimes, it just doesn’t make sense to bring your pet on a four-hour car ride for a four-hour dinner, followed by another four-hour car ride. Or maybe you’re visiting a relative by plane and want to spare your pet the hassle. It can feel sad to leave them behind, but know it is okay! Being a good pet parent doesn’t mean being home 24/7. It means you care for your fur family and give them the tools they need to be successful and happy. Sometimes, that’s a weekend with their favorite babysitter.
If you fall into this category, make it fun. Leave a surprise for the sitter to bond with your pet. Gift them a new toy (to play with together) and maybe some delicious homemade cookies for the human.
New E&S Pets - Pajamas FOR THE SITTER with matching socks representing your favorite breed. [Note: we do not consider this extra AT ALL. Everyone loves pet-inspired clothing. These are facts.]
Make it fun for your pet and your stand-in human. You’ll also get the added peace of mind when your sitter, in her new jammies, sends you pictures of the cuddle sessions and the stats on who’s winning the tug of war.
Scenario Five: Where did all the degrees go?
November in the northeast is kind of like my cat, Snacks. You’re never quite sure what you’re going to get. When the temperature drops overnight, your pets need some help adjusting to the new climate.
Bundle up: Not all pets have a built-in winter coat, so invest in stylish and warm attire for your chilly walks. Oh, and psssst - yes, your big Bully breed? He needs a coat, too. Warmth isn’t just for little pups! Your pup can try:
Paws need protection, too! Use pet-friendly ice melt to prevent harm from harsh chemicals. We use:
Scenario Six: You’re “finished” with your shopping list
Shopping isn’t complete until your fur-babies are spoiled. Here are holiday gifts that everyone will love.
Stockings and Stuffers: Yes, your pet deserves their own stocking! Fill it with treats and small toys to make their holiday special. Your holiday doesn’t include stockings? Whether Hanukkah, Christmas, or Kwanzaa, we’ve got you covered.
Eagles collars, bandanas, and sweaters are perfect for any pet!
The Gift of Play: Consider gifting your pet a new, exciting toy. It's the perfect way to keep them entertained and part of the holiday fun. An enrichment toy can also keep her occupied while you engage with others!
Your reptile may not want a classic treat but could love variety mixed reptile food
At the end of the day, you know your pets. Meet them where they are and give them the tools they need to succeed. You will have a happier holiday, and your fur family is happiest when you are happy. These fear-free, force-free strategies for your pet create a stress-free, happy home for all involved!