Holiday Tips for Happy Pets

You know how stressful the holidays can be for people. Your canine family members often find the holidays even more stressful than you do.

Our dogs are creatures of habit. They’re very comfortable with their daily routines, and holidays definitely tend to disrupt their sense of security. We have office parties, gift shopping, and other commitments that leave our dogs home alone. We also tend to have more houseguests and activities during the holidays. All of these things can overexcite or stress our canine creatures of habit. KONG has a few suggestions that can help ease the holiday stress for you and your dog.

First, it’s important to plan ahead by stuffing several Classic KONG toys, or KONG treat dispensers like the WobblerGeniusStuff-a-Ball, or Goodie Bone with healthy treats or food. The pre-stuffed KONG toys will come in handy for many situations, allowing you to easily and quickly occupy your dog when you need to focus your attention elsewhere.                                 

Household Gatherings and Guests
With KONG toys, you can reduce the inevitable canine stress associated with holiday dinners and visits. Begin by offering your dog a treat-filled KONG toy moments before a planned visit or activity to help expend energy and create calm. Once the doorbell rings, give your dog another treat-filled KONG to redirect that active energy to the toy and away from your guests. Offer KONGs throughout the visit or activity to occupy and entertain your dog.

Home Alone
For those times you’re away from home during the holidays, give your dog one or more treat-filled KONG toys to reduce stress and loneliness. Typically, separation anxiety begins the moment you start preparing to leave and builds to higher levels just after your departure. This stress, if left unchecked, can lead to a variety of undesirable behaviors, like barking, soiling, and destructive chewing.

To help reduce departure stress and alone time, offer your dog a treat-stuffed KONG moments before you leave. This will help focus your dog’s attention on the toy and away from your departure. Be sure to use a toy and stuffing recipe that will occupy your dog for 15 to 30 minutes. If you’ll be gone for hours, multiple stuffed KONG toys will provide the answer. Add to the challenge but placing in a variety of locations around your home.

Important: you must be absolutely sure your dog is safe with a given toy before you leave him alone with it. Always supervise the use of new toys.

Holiday Preparations
Gift wrapping, holiday decorating, and meal preparation are all chores that demand our full attention. So of course this is when our dogs seem to want attention too. It’s times like these that a stuffed KONG can come in handy. By offering a delicious, treat-stuffed KONG, your dog has something to do, which frees up time and attention for the task at hand.