The following bi-weekly column is written and sponsored by Bark + Boarding, which provides a heart-centered and safe environment for your pets. Conveniently located at 5818-C Seminary Road in Bailey’s Crossroads, Bark & Boarding offers doggy daycare, boarding, grooming, walking and training services, plus in-home pet care.
By Colleen Corrigan, Writer and Animal Enthusiast
The holidays bring happiness, family, friends and cheer and we want our pets to be able to enjoy them just as much as we do. Pet stress can be at an all-time high during the holidays for a lot of reasons including strangers in the home, a variety of new food smells, other pets, small children, etc. Here are some ways you can make sure your pet has just as much fun as you during this time.
- Provide a safe place. Start ahead of time with your dog, planning and “training” them to be in a safe space such as a quiet bedroom, warm basement or a familiar kennel. This gives your pet a safe retreat during the holiday commotion. If your home will be particularly full of loud, boisterous holiday company, boarding at a familiar facility can be a safe and comfortable option. At Bark + Boarding our pet boarding service ensures your dog gets the food, exercise and camaraderie needed to keep them happy and healthy.
- Don‘t push: Many dogs are not terribly social with people outside of their immediate family, especially when they are in the dog’s territory. Don’t force your dog to interact with new people or other animals. Allow your dog to go to the new people on his own at his own pace. Also never let young children your dog doesn’t know grab and hug her.
- Move or block access to presents: If your dog loves ripping into things, don’t tempt him with several presents under a tree. Instead hide the presents until the big day or put a fence around the base of the tree restricting access to the presents.
- Keep decorations out of reach: Blinking lights, shiny objects, garland, etc. can be mistaken by your dog for toys. She may end up chewing on them, clawing at them or swallowing them altogether. Make sure that decorations are out of reach for your pets to keep them safe.
- Train for restraint: Expecting your pet to have a great deal of restraint when it comes to all the holiday food, toys and people is not reasonable. Without prior training, yelling “leave it” at your dog has no meaning to him. Start as early as possible training him not to steal the food, jump on the guest or chew the shoe.
Keeping your pets happy, safe and healthy during the holidays is important and definitely doable. If you start early enough, plan, ask the right people for help if needed, you can ensure that this time of year is not stressful for them. Want more tips, boarding or a pet evaluation? Reach out to us at [email protected] with any questions. Happy holidays!