'Tis the Season for Sights, Smells, Soirees and Stressed Pets

The commotion, the lights, the crowds, the food — and to top it off, crackling fireworks. It’s no wonder our dogs detest the Fourth of July. It’s festive for us but a nuisance for them.

Guess what? Subtract the fireworks and all those same distractions — plus seasonal smells and endless music — are also a hallmark of the holidays. And it carries on for weeks, not a single summer day.

Stress is not reserved for last-minute shoppers this time of year. Dogs get anxious during long stints at home when their owners hopscotch between holiday parties, children’s programs and gift gathering. Their anxiety can be exacerbated by decorations, new smells, sweet treats they can’t have and possibly a tree.

Holiday visits from family and friends can cause still more stress for our furry friends. That gets compounded when people get too busy to take their dogs on regular walks — or when the kids try to dress them up for that holiday picture. Overall, the long visits, loud parties, late nights and frenzied family can leave most dogs exhausted and irritable.

Here are some questions to ask when wondering if your sweet pup is becoming a holiday Grinch:

  • Is your dog being more aggressive, snapping or growling?
  • Do you see your dog panting or pacing a lot?
  • Does your dog have diarrhea or is their fur spiked along the spine?
  • Has your dog been shivering, hiding or whimpering?
  • And is your dog turning up his or her nose to tasty treats?

Any number of these behaviors can signify holiday stress. For that reason, it is important to keep their diet and exercise routine as close to regular as possible. Also find places of refuge for your dog during big get-togethers.

Most of all, between all of your holiday hustle, try to focus some attention on your four-legged friends. In terms of relieving stress, that is the best gift you can give.

And don’t forget, if you need help getting your dog out for walks or hikes during this busy holiday season, just give Aarf a call!