Stressed Out Pets

Dec 8, 2018

Hmmm - maybe if I look like a present, they will play with me!
Credit toritoons (Tori Behr) [Flickr]

During the holidays, a pet owner may forget that changes in routine and activities can make your furry companion anxious and uneasy, which could leave both of you feeling, well, less than festive.   Giving your pet a little extra time and attention may help ease the stress for you and your best friend.


According to a favorite Christmas carol, ‘tis the season to be jolly, but as it gets closer to Christmas, a lot of folks seem to be anything but jolly. They’re stressed out with too much to do and just not enough time. You might notice your pet looks a little stressed out, too.

You may think, what does my pet have to be stressed about? It just hangs around the house all day – no deadlines, no gifts to buy, no crowds to deal with in the stores. So what causes stress for our pets?

Well, pets may get stressed out by change. They like their daily routine of eating, playing, sleeping, even greeting their owners coming home from work or school. When their routine changes significantly it can cause them to feel stress.

Change in diet is another stress-maker for pets. Sure it’s fun to treat a pet to some of the yummy things we enjoy only at holidays, but let’s face it - a lot of those yummy things aren’t so good for us humans, much less for our pets. High-fat, high sugar foods can put a strain on an animal’s digestive system, creating more stress for our pet.

Extra visitors in the house can be stressful for a pet, especially pets that don’t respond well to strangers. Older animals, and those that are nervous or shy, will do better if you can find a quiet place for them to get away from the extra activity. Even pets who get along well with people can become overexcited with all the extra visitors.

There are a few things you can do to help your pet get through the Christmas season relatively stress-free. Make a conscious effort to keep its schedule as routine as possible. Avoid feeding it too many treats and goodies from the table, and make sure your guests do the same. Find a quiet room away from the hustle and bustle where your pet can be calm and relaxed.

And give your pet what it really wants for Christmas – time and attention from you. That will go a long way toward helping both you and your best friend enjoy the holidays without getting too stressed out, when you’re speaking of pets.