Many of the “pandemic puppies” who were adopted since March 2020 may be experiencing their first holidays with larger family get-togethers this year now that vaccines are more widespread.  Large gatherings can be challenging for pets even in more typical times, and it is good to have a plan for helping your dog cope with the stress and excitement if you are planning to entertain again this season.  Some simple management strategies can help you, your pet, and guests have an easier time during visits:

  • Get exercise in early before guests arrive so that your dog is more likely to be calm during the activity of the day.
  • Have a plan to prevent “door dashing.”  With guests coming and going, be sure to watch your dog around the door to prevent escapes.  Consider having them on-leash, in another room, or in the yard during arrivals and departures.
  • Have a safe space for your dog.  Your dog may need a break from the activity in the house, and will likely appreciate some quiet time to themselves to nap during the festivities.  Even if your dog is a social butterfly, putting them somewhere safe during cooking and mealtime will make sure that your Thanksgiving turkey isn’t stolen, and that your pup doesn’t ingest something they shouldn’t.
  • Provide something for your dog to do.  A puzzle toy stuffed with food or a good chew bone will keep them happy and occupied so that you can focus on your guests.
  • Most importantly, watch for signs of stress, and give your dog a break if they need it.

More ideas for a successful holiday with pets can be found here.