Animal Medical Care Holiday Stress and Pets

The holiday season is rapidly approaching! Tis' the season for traveling, parties, and family celebrations and our pets can be a major part of the festivities. However, the holiday season can also be a time of stress and fear for your pets. By being prepared for potential stressors and by planning ahead, you and your furry friends can have a safer and more enjoyable holiday season.


If you are planning on traveling during the holidays and are boarding your pet at a kennel facility be sure to check their requirements for vaccinations a few weeks prior to leaving. Many boarding kennels require a bordetella ("kennel cough") vaccine prior to being admitted. If you are planning taking your animals with you on your travels, be sure to have the appropriate documentation for traveling across state lines. Talk to your veterinarian regarding health certificates if they are needed for the state you are traveling to. If your pet becomes nauseous or stressed on long car rides be sure to speak with your veterinarian prior to medicating your pet with over the counter drugs.

Holiday décor and food

The holidays are a time for rich foods and high-calorie sweets. Chocolate is a seasonal staple that is frequently found in easy to reach places where your animal may be tempted to steal a snack. To avoid potential exposure to toxic foods, it would be advisable to keep them high out of a pet's reach or shut away. Also, feeding your pet table scraps may be tempting, but can lead to gastrointestinal upset, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Christmas decorations that are strung around the home may look like great chew toys to your pets. Dogs may think that the glass baubles look like tennis balls. Cats who love to play with strings may think that the tinsel hanging from your tree looks tempting. Gastric and intestinal foreign bodies are an expensive and potentially life threatening issues that can be avoided with some strategic planning on your part. If your pet tends to chew on things that are off limits, it would be wise to keep them in a separate room with more appropriate toys then those hanging from your tree, especially when you leave the house.


The holidays are a time for family and friends to spend time with one another but however much we may like to host dinner parties or entertain guests, our pets may panic with the strangers that (in their mind) are invading their home. To avoid unnecessary anxiety associated with visitors, have a quiet room where your pets can relax during visits. If your dog is crate trained, keep them in their kennel with toys and soft music to distract them. Let your guests know if your pet is nervous or dislikes strangers, and avoid having small children alone with your animals. By taking these small precautionary measures, the holidays can be a more enjoyable time for your pets.

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