holiday stress for your petHolidays can be a stressful time for your family, and that includes your pets. Changes in routine, visitors, decorations, new smells, and – yes – your stress level can cause anxiety in even the calmest of animals.

Stress can manifest itself in unexpected ways. Cats may hide, over-groom, scratch, miss the litter box, and stop eating. Dogs might shake, pace, drool or yawn excessively, whine, or hide. As your pet ages, the instances and symptoms of anxiety may increase.

Here are some ways to help prevent stress and calm your pet during the holidays and throughout the year.

Home Remedies. One of the most effective ways to deescalate stress in your cat or dog is to set up a place in your home that is dedicated to her. Make it quiet, comfortable, and private. As busy as you will be, don’t be tempted to slack off on your attention to your pet, and that includes time for exercise!

Supplemental Peace. Feliway® for cats and Adaptil® for dogs are products that mimic the pheromones mother dogs emit to calm their puppies. We use both of these at Town N Country to help calm your pets during visits. Other supplements include Zylkene® and Purina Calming Care®.

Calendar Stress. If your pet is stressed during a particular event, like a holiday party, traveling, grooming, or a vet visit, you may consider giving medicine to calm your pet on a situational basis. We may prescribe gabapentin®, trazodone®, and/or Sileo®, alone or in combination with each other depending on the patient.

Stay Calm. If your pet is chronically anxious, fluoxetine or Clomicalm® may be needed. These are daily pharmaceuticals to alleviate a chronic behavioral issue, not a temporary holiday inconvenience. Scheduling behavioral medicine consultation with your vet will allow us to help navigate if your pet needs a more comprehensive behavioral plan incorporating medications and behavior modification training.

Friendly Visit. For a total break and a lot of attention and fun, why not bring your pet to hang out with us? Kitty Condo, Canine Camp, and Doggy Day Care are designed to be a home away from home for your pet. We even have a special, dedicated area for cats! If you have a big event at your home, if you are traveling, or simply want to give your pet (or you) a break, schedule a stay!

As we head into the most busy time of the year, don’t let your pet’s anxiety add to yours. Talk to us about what you can do to keep your pet from being stressed up for the holidays.