by Gigi McWhirter

As the holidays fast approach and we, the people, start running through the entire realm of emotions, you may notice that your pet is anything but “ho-ho-ho” happy. Consider all the changes going on around your little pal – the tree that he cannot go near, the socks over the mantle (tempting, but untouchable), the wonderful smells coming out of the kitchen and all the foods he cannot eat. This makes it tough to be a dog or a cat! Add to that, all of the people coming in and out of the house, including some who don’t appreciate the blessings of family pets like you do (they forget that Jesus was born in a stable surrounded by animals) or the fact that they may also be placed into a boarding facility or put in a room alone while all of the celebrating goes on. That would take the jingle out of anyone’s jangle! Here are some hints to watch for that could mean your pet is showing signs of holiday stress or blues:

  • Changes in appetite, especially if eating less or not at all.
  • Not interested in things that used to bring him joy.
  • Lack of energy or not interested in things that normally make him happy.
  • Whining or becoming more rowdy than usual.
  • Yawning and/or licking their lips
  • Hiding or ignoring your “come” commands.
  • Chewing up pillows or furniture that he has never chewed on before.
  • Constantly “stuck” by your side, like Velcro.
  • Unusual bathroom habits, such as loose stools and peeing or pooping in the house.

It is important to note these could also be symptoms of health issues that should not be ignored. Always consult with your veterinarian – not Dr. Google – if any of these changes last more than 24 hours.

These behavioral changes, if not attended to, can last well after the holidays are gone, especially after you and your human family members return to your regular routines like work and school.

To help with the holiday blues, not only for your pet but for yourself too, schedule 5-10 minutes of snuggle time each day with your beloved pet. The benefits are good for both of you!

Now, go grab your Santa hat and reindeer cap and put them on your human heads. Dress your animal in holiday attire and deck those halls with “bow-wows” and holly, and have a joy-filled howliday season!

P.S. You can make extra points with Santa Claws by donating to a local animal rescue like the Valley Humane Society, Valley Kitten Nursery and Rescue or Ironwood Pig Sanctuary, just to name a few. Government shelters like Pinal County Animal Care & Control (PCACC) and Casa Grande Animal Control can always use donations or volunteers too!

Happy tails to you!