How to Keep Your Pets Calm During the Holidays
To learn how to keep pets calm and happy during the holiday hullabaloo, we spoke with Behavior Specialist Bryana Peters, CPDT-KA. First off, it’s important to prepare. If your pet is often overwhelmed, fearful, or has extremely high energy, it may be best to crate them in a separate area of your home that can be away from the noise and excitement.
In other instances where pets are perfectly fine interacting with strangers and can follow simple commands even in chaos, we recommend:
- Frozen Kongs! These treats, or other enrichment activities, are a great way to keep pets calm and distracted, allowing them time to settle into the new energy of the house.
- Encourage (and provide) guests with treats or toys to refocus dogs from jumping up. You may also want to keep them leashed if this is a known concern, in order to gently correct them.
- For fearful dogs, have guests offer treats to them. Gently toss them treats, or hand them to them if your dog is willing to come up to the person. However, never force interactions and always allow dogs to go at their own pace.
- Provide an enrichment, exercise or training before guests come over. That will help burn some energy off to help set them up for success.
Lastly, give your pet a safe place to go. Whether a crate away from the busy household, a spare bedroom, or other area, have them eat their meals and store their favorite toys there for familiarity beforehand. By providing a space where they feel comfortable before guests arrive, you will help create a calm and happy holiday for everyone.
Looking for more behavior tips for your dogs or cats? Visit our Pet Behavior Tips page for video training tips from AHS experts.