There’s no place like home for the holidays for your pet . . . until your home fills with new faces. Having guests in your home for the holidays can be stressful on many pets especially if they are not used to guests being in the home or if they suffer from anxiety. Making preparations in your home and with guests, as well as working with your pet before the first visitor arrives, can help relieve some of the stress and anxiety that may cause your pet to act unusually and will ensure both your home remains merry and bright.

Tips for your pet

  • Stick to their routine. Much like with humans, major changes in routine can cause stress for your pet. Keep their daily routine as normal as possible even if you have to enlist the help of other family members or get help from a pet sitter.
  • Plan out a “safe space” in your home for your pet to get away from the holiday hoopla. Set up a baby gate or a crate in the room to mark off their territory. Train them to spend time in the area in the weeks before your first guest arrives. Fill the room with their favorite toys. Puzzle toys are a great way to keep pets busy for extended periods of time.  
  • Have a pet sitter drop by to take your pet for a walk or out to play in the yard while you make holiday preparations or to shop for gifts.
  • Turn on the tunes. Music is as therapeutic for pets as it is for humans. Try iCalmDog playlist on Spotify or check out Through a Dog’s Ear and Through a Cat’s Ear – albums with music specifically designed to attract and calm pets.
  • Review doggy commands and practice good guest habits with your pet like how to react when the doorbell rings and how to greet people.

Guest guidelines

Keep a happy rapport between your guests and your pets by establishing a few guidelines for the humans.

  • Ask them to respect your pet’s designated safe space and stay out of it while your pet is occupying the area unless you give them permission.
  • Do not allow children to play with your pet unsupervised. Unfamiliar children could stress out your pet and cause them to act out.
  • Establish rules on feeding your pet. Grandma Betty may think sneaking sweet treats to Petunia the Pug is just typical puppy grandma behavior but you know how harmful certain foods can be to your pet.
  • Find out if any of your guests have allergies so you can have a plan in place to keep your pet from interacting with them. You’ll also want to deep clean your home to get rid of pet dander and may want to consider hiring a housecleaning professional to help you get the job done.