Pets and The Holidays

candy cane dogAlong with all the love and cheer and Christmas spirit around this time can sometimes come a low (or even high) stress level regarding what to do with your 4-legged family members during the holidays.  Do you board them if you go away?  Hire a pet sitter?  What if you’re staying at home but all the visitors are whipping your dog into a frenzy?

The value of a good place to board your dog cannot be emphasized enough.  As mentioned in a previous post, I never thought I’d board a dog until I found A Dog’s Tale in Kittery, ME.  They really know what they’re doing over there.  Finally people have figured out that dogs are a part of the family and you don’t want them locked up in a cage all day with a short walk every now and then.  Dogs want to PLAY!  Or sleep.  Or just hang out with some other dogs.  And because A Dog’s Tale is so much more than your average kennel, I like to call it Camp.  People send their kids off to sleepover camp for a week or even a whole summer!  Why not send your dog to camp?  As long as the Camp allows for playtime, has interactive toys, and provides a safe environment then I say… send that dog away.  She’ll love it!  Friends of mine have also had good luck with The Barking Dog.  They offer many different services including boarding, grooming, individual play sessions,  training, and swimming.

If you would prefer to have your dog close by your side but the holidays stress him out more than they stress you out, consider beefing up some training in the weeks or days beforehand.  It’s a win-win: he gets to work to perform and keep his mind busy and he his anxiety is decreased.  If you know your dog just needs a little work in certain areas check out The Dumb Friends League.  Aside from having the greatest name ever, they also offer some really excellent advice in the form of documents for specific behavior training.  Their training techniques are tried and true and used by many of the TV and real life trainers I’ve seen.

The last thing I’ll suggest is some distraction.  It’s the season of giving after all, so why not grab a couple of these amazing toys your pup will love throughout the year.

  • The Treatstik.  A product so ingenious you’ll wonder why it took so long to make one.
  • Frozen Kongs. If you don’t already have one, get one.  Every dog should have at least one of these.  Click here for some ideas on how to stuff them.  Freezing and/or nesting them makes it even more challenging!
  • Dog Puzzles.  There are a lot of different choices out there so be sure to choose one in the appropriate size & difficulty level for your dog.  Also, keep an eye on the material they’re made from.  You don’t want to be picking up little pieces of cardboard or plastic while entertaining guests when your dog decides to just brute force his way to the food.

Whatever you do with your beloved pup for the holidays, just be sure he or she gets an excessive amount of treats.  If you get to indulge, why don’t they.  You can work off the extra weight together!

Happy Holidays!

Picture from A Beautiful Mess – too cute not to share!


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