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Animal Christmas
Credit: creativecommons.org/DonMiller_ToGo

The Christmas and New Year's holidays can be just as stressful for animals as they are for people. All of the new people arriving at the front door… all the noise and excitement… all of the oddly shaped boxes… and all of the delicious food... These are all potential stress factors for cats and dogs around the holidays – so here are three ways that you can help to keep your pet happy this holiday season.

1. Help Your Pet Deal With New People

Some cats and dogs are social butterflies, while others are timid and aloof around strangers. If your pet is put off by strangers, this can be a bad mix if you host a lot of guests during the holidays. Your pet may snap and take it out at an unlucky guest, which is never good. So try to help your pet get to know the visiting guests. Introduce your pet to new people – let your guest interact with your pet and maybe give them a treat. Once an animal becomes used to a person, the stress will disappear. For larger parties, you should consider locking your pet in your bedroom with food, water a familiar-smelling blanket and plenty of toys to keep them entertained.


2. Help Keep Your Pet's Diet Healthy

During the festive season, some morsels of food often tend to slip under the table. Human food is okay in small amounts for a cat or dog, but their bodies just aren't made for digesting many of the things we eat. And if your pet is prone to allergies, guests slipping them a little people-food so they will stop begging can be really harmful. Gently remind your guests not to feed a begging animal, and be sure to feed your pet before the humans eat – that way, your pet will be less likely to beg.


3. Help Your Pet Feel Safe On New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve is one of the biggest holidays of the year for fireworks, which can be bad news for both cats and dogs. It can be worse for dogs, though. If your cat gets scared, they will just go hide in one of their normal hiding spots, but dogs often do not having the luxury of hiding. If your dog gets freaked out by fireworks, hold them close and make sure that you are calm, as dogs are highly attuned to their owner’s emotions.

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