It’s December already.  Christmas is only a few weeks away.  Are you ready?

Christmas and holiday seasons should be a joyous time for everyone but they can be filled with stress for people and pets.  The stress can come from many things and from all directions.  For many families there has been a loss of a loved one that adds to the stress as we may get depressed when everyone tells us we should be happy and yet we feel the loss of those loved ones so deeply especially at these times.  For others, it is just the commotion, the hustle and bustle of the holidays that can be distressing. The anxiety of making room for company or cooking the perfect meal can be nearly unbearable for some.

Our pets can and often do feel our stress and depression during these times and subsequently become stressed as well.  Any effort we can make to decrease this stress will help themStress to “survive” the holidays.  This may include utilizing calming aromas in the household or limiting exposure of the pets to company or to changes in the household over the holidays.  We may need to make a “safe room” for our pets where we may put their favorite blankets or toys, a litter box and a cat-tree for cats, a cushioned bed and possibly a pee-pad for dogs.   Fresh food and water should also be available.  For some pets, soothing music or television may help to make the situation more normal and comforting.

Aroma-therapy and behavior modification or counter-conditioning can all play a part in the lessening of the impact of stress on our pets.

Some pets may even require medication during these times.  We often utilize anti-anxiety medications that can be for short-term or long-term conditions. Typically if we need to use drugs, we will recommend blood-work to rule out any metabolic conditions that would put your pet at more risk while on medications. Typically we do blood work prior to initiating medications, then one month after, three or six months after and then annually depending on results or concerns that may crop up while on medications and if meds are needed long term.

If you have any concerns or questions regarding stress on your pet, please call or make an appointment to discuss your concerns.

Dr. Carol Hagen, DVM