With all of the gatherings, shopping and traveling, there is no doubt that stress from the holiday season can creep up on you.
But people are not the only family members who may be feeling some extra stress this time of year.
The holidays can be a source of stress for some pets — especially dogs, according to K-State Research and Extension.
“Dogs are creatures of habit and routine,” said Susan Nelson, a veterinarian and clinician at Kansas State University’s Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital.
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And when routines become crazy during the holidays, dogs may become stressed.
“One thing we can do is to try to keep their routine as normal as possible,” Nelson said. “If they’re used to eating at a particular time of day, keep that going. If they’re used to walking in the late afternoon, keep those walks going. These routines are reassuring.”
Nelson provided the following tips to keep your holiday season safe and stress-free for your pets:
▪ Do not lock the dog in the same room where coats, jackets and purses are kept — it may turn into a treasure hunt for your pet. The Xylitol in sugarless gums and breath mints that people keep in their pockets may pose a danger to your four-legged friends.
▪ In addition to keeping chocolate away from your dogs, also keep grapes, raisins, garlic, onions and most dairy products out of reach.
▪ Ask guests to avoid giving treats to your dog — a “little nibble of something” from 20 people adds up quickly, Nelson said.
▪ If you think something is out of your pet’s reach, put it up a little bit higher.
▪ Keep in mind that many gift sets include food, such as a set with two mugs and some hot chocolate mix. Those should be kept away from pets.
▪ Remember that dogs enjoy playing with plush or stuffed toys, so a teddy bear under the tree may get destroyed — and then pose a risk to your pets.
▪ Keep shiny ornaments, tinsel and open flames out of a cat’s reach. Potpourri can also be toxic to cats.