Happy Thanksgiving everyone! While this year’s Thanksgiving gatherings may be different, it’s still a time for close family gatherings. And this means holiday fun and eating. It also means that family dogs will likely join in our Thanksgiving gatherings. These types of gatherings can cause some dogs to have anxiety. Here are our tips for keeping your Thanksgiving free of an anxiety ridden dog.
Family Gatherings – Include Dogs?
The question of having family dogs join in the holiday gatherings is as old as time. That’s because there’s no one answer. All dogs, just like people, are different. Only you know how your family is likely to act in the presence of other dogs. We say likely because it’s important to keep in mind that dogs can change behaviors when introduced to first-time, untested, experiences. If your dog is anxious, has fear aggression, or isn’t well socialized, it’s best to let your guests to not bring their dogs to your gatherings. And, to not take your dog to gatherings. That doesn’t mean it’s the way it always has to be – but, it does allow you time to work on getting your dog better prepared to join in holiday gatherings.
Here Are Our Tips For Keeping Your Thanksgiving Free of An Anxiety Ridden Dog
Anxiety Ridden Dog = Safe Space
All dogs with anxiety, whether due to noise anxiety or noise phobia, need a safe space. This can be a crate located in a room away from where the family is gathered, an unused bathroom, or any place that can be made ‘den-like’ and quiet. Whatever safe space you create for your anxiety ridden dog, make sure that you start introducing your pup to their space in a fun way. This can include giving them treats, a chew toy, meals, as well as blankets and bedding that makes everything cozy. During your Thanksgiving gathering make sure your dog is able to self-select their safe space and that your guests know not to interrupt or intrude on your dog’s space.
Exercise Is A Winner For An Anxiety Ridden Dog
On Thanksgiving day, and even days prior, it’s good to get your dog out for ‘dog’ time. Dog time includes exercise as well as sniffing time. Dogs don’t walk in the same way as humans. Dogs experience the environment through scents – so allow time for your dog to sniff things. Exercise should be at a pace most comfortable for your dog, and should be a bit longer than normal. For example if you typically walk your dog a 1/2 hour, go your normal pace for the first half hour, and then slow your speed for 15 – 30 minutes to allow for a bit more mellow pace that includes scent sniffing time.
Our director of marketing, Rebecca Sanchez, is a well-known writer who focuses on a holistic lifestyle for dogs. Rebecca recommends chamomile tea! Not hot tea, allow it to cool. But, due to it’s natural calming properties, chamomile helps to naturally mellow out your dog.
Studies have shown that chamomile water can be extremely effective in providing relaxation. I recommend that pet parents with an anxious dog give them chamomile water, better known as a cooled tea, on the day of big gatherings. Just make a cup of organic chamomile tea, allow to cool and add to your dog’s water bowl. Do this throughout the day to help keep your dog hydrated and mellow.Rebecca Sanchez, The Pet Lifestyle Guru
Almost all dogs with anxiety are triggered by noises – this could result in noise phobia. In dogs with noise anxiety it’s best to dampen noises. This will help keep your dog from becoming nervous and limit experiencing negative body responses, like increased blood pressure. While soft music may help, true sound dampening can only be achieved through noise blocking devices. We highly recommend our patent-pending dog earplugs. This is because our earplugs for dogs are custom made with an L-shape that mirrors a dog’s unique ear canal. Many people will try to close the door of their dog’s safe place/room – however, this does not work. It only creates more anxiety, including separation anxiety, for your dog.
Keep Safe And Enjoy Thanksgiving!
Yes, 2020 has been a different type of year. And while our gatherings will be smaller and more intimate, families will still join in a grateful meal together. It’s important to keep your anxiety ridden dog happy and healthy during your Thanksgiving gathering. We advise that you slowly, and with positive reinforcement, get your anxious pup to accept people in their house – not necessarily to join in the gathering, unless they want to. Allow them to choose. Remember to tell your guests how to interact with your anxious dog – and don’t forget to keep your dog’s safe space truly safe and just for them.