Image by: Rippafratta
Some pets love a good party as much as their homo-sapien counterparts, but some pets really don’t take to holiday festivities very well at all.
With large family gatherings and New Year’s Eve parties a common occurrence at this time of year, it’s important to ensure your pet (and this post is focused mainly on cats and dogs) is as calm and happy as possible, so that you can all enjoy taking part n the festivities.
Here are some essential tips to keeping your pets calm while you are entertaining.
Preparing your pet
If you have time in advance, you may want to have a go at sensitizing your pet to loud music or chatter through a gentle process. A large part of why pets act up when there are loud noises or a lot of people around is that they no longer safe, so play music while you are feeding or playing with your pet. Start at a low volume and gradually increase it over a few days.
Create a ‘safe room’
It is important to accommodate this space to fit in with your pet’s, for example, if your dog likes to spend time under your bed you should try to make your bedroom the safe place. Cats are likely to appreciate a small, dark and shielded hiding place that they can creep in and out of, but make sure that your pet has a lot of room to move about. Make this room or space off-limits to guests so that your pet has somewhere to retreat to if they need it.
You may also want to consider the role of scents in helping to calm your pets. Lavender is always a good bet here, but make sure it is out of reach and make sure it is not overpowering.
Make sure there is food and water in the room and you may also want to stick the TV on to provide some noises associated with routine, or even some specially created pet calming music.
Check in on your pet regularly to make sure they are not causing damage to themselves or your furniture. If the animal is feeling particularly stressed it may soil your floors or furniture.
What NOT to do
Aside from creating a safe environment and making your pet as comfortable and as ‘at home’ as possible, there are a number of things you should try to avoid doing as much as possible as they could actually reinforce the bad behavior that your pet has been exhibiting.
- You should not go out of your way to reassure your pet when they are scared as they may interpret this as a reward for their fearful behavior
- Never shut your pet away in a small confined space as they could injure themselves trying to escape, give them as much space as possible (preferably a whole room)
- Your dog shouldn’t be punished or remonstrated for being afraid, just try to act normally
- You also shouldn’t force your pet to be close to the thing that is antagonizing them in the mistaken belief that they will acclimatize faster as this could lead to them lashing out or running away
At the end of the day, as with most pet related matters, it all comes down to trust and love. If you accommodate for your pet and show a little consideration for their likely feelings and reactions and you should be fine. There is also a growing market for products such as Feliway that claim to be able to calm your cats through defusing a common scent that mimics the way a cat marks their territory, by brushing up against furniture and the like.
Does anyone else have any tips or advice to offer for trying to keep your pets in a state of Zen like clam while you and your guests party the night away?
Louise Blake is a first time mother and enthusiastic pet owner who likes to throw a family party or two each year, especially during the holiday season. In her spare time Louise writes for Petmeds.