Recently, I was asked to write about preparing for a safe holiday season with your pets.  Below is an excerpt from the article that appeared in the Keene Sentinel on Thursday, November 6, 2014. 

As the holiday season swings into gear, it’s easy to ensure your pets have as much fun as the rest of the family.

Begin by considering your pet’s temperament. Have you got a party animal that thrives on meeting guests and having lots of people swoon over them? Or is your pet more of an introvert?

Either way, make sure that you include time for exercise and hygiene as you plan your upcoming holiday schedule. When human schedules become crowded it’s easy to skimp on walking the dog. However, lack of exercise is one of the biggest factors in pet misbehavior. Don’t have time to walk the dog? Call a dog walker or make an appointment for doggy daycare to ensure your pup gets his needs met. And while dogs and cats never admit to liking a bath, they all thrive from the pampering and attention they get when groomed. So, don’t forget that appointment at the pet spa!

When the Doorbell Rings

Loki, Spirit, and Amee Abel prepare for the holiday season.

Loki, Spirit, and Amee Abel prepare for the holiday season.

Develop a strategy for when guests arrive, and make sure everyone in the family knows their part. Will you snap a leash on the dog to ensure she doesn’t charge out the door? Will you check that the kitty is behind a closed door in the bedroom before you let guests in?

Rachel Brostrom, a certified professional trainer at Monadnock Humane Society, advises “crating or confining your dog away from the guests until everyone is settled. It’s what I do with my own dogs. I provide them with a chew toy or food-stuffed Kong and put them in a comfortable place. When things calm down and I have time to pay attention to them, then the dogs can join the party.”

Brostrom also points out that when family and friends are visiting, they may not want to entertain your pets. As much as you love your animals, people dressed in their holiday best may not be in the mood to cuddle with your cat or toss a ball for your retriever. And, your pets may be perfectly content spending the day quietly instead of being expected to be on their best behavior around strangers.

Another consideration when people visit is ensuring that your pet doesn’t slip out the door when guests are entering and exiting. Keep a jar of enticing treats near the door, ready to grab quickly in case your dog or cat heads out unexpectedly. Make sure pet birds are confined somewhere away from both the door and cold winter drafts.

Link to the full article here:

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