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How to Help Your Pet Adjust to Changes This Thanksgiving

Behavior and Training  •   AKC Pet Insurance  •   Nov 23, 2022

 

Thanksgiving throwing off your groove? From travel to unexpected guests, the holiday is filled with the unknown for your pet. While all of this may be exciting for some animals, others may be stressed out, especially since the time leading up to the day and the holiday itself will drastically change your normal day-to-day schedule.

Animals thrive on having a regular schedule and changes can stress them out, so how can we as pet owners make sure our furry friends are as comfortable as possible on Thanksgiving?

Keep as Much of Your Routine as Possible

If you’re boarding your pet or leaving them at home, this likely won’t be possible, but if you’re hosting the holidays or taking your pets with you when you travel, you can offer some normalcy.

Stick to as much of their daily routine as possible. Keep them on the same feeding and walking schedule, so their internal clocks stay set. Don’t forget to give them access to their bed at their normal bedtime, and if possible, bring their bed and crate from home so they know exactly where they’re sleeping in addition to when.

Bring Familiar Treats and Toys with You

This tip works for any pet. If you’re boarding them or leaving them with a trusted caregiver, send them with their pet bed, favorite toys, and treats so they have the scents of home. Since you won’t be with them, consider sending them with an article of clothing or blanket that you’ve used recently so it will be filled with your scent.

If you’re lucky enough to be able to take your pets with you, don’t forget those home comforts. Depending on how you’re traveling will determine what you can bring with you, but make sure you at least have their favorite toys and something to chew on, so your pets can distract themselves from any holiday anxiety.

Feed Them Their Usual Meals

Comfort in eating extends past the specific mealtimes and into the meal itself. While it’s tempting to share your Thanksgiving feast with your pet, their stomach won’t appreciate the sudden shift in diet. Bring or buy your usual food and keep the treats to a minimum so that your pet doesn’t add an upset stomach to their already eventful day.

If that’s not possible for any reason, be sure to keep their meals smaller than usual so their tummy has time to adjust.

Make Time for Play

Whether they’re excited by everything around them or filled with anxiety, your pet will need an outlet to get that extra energy out. Grab their favorite toy and take time to play together several times a day. This is also a great way to get them to warm up to your guests, so involve your family and friends in the play session.

Set Aside Snuggle Time

You’re your pet’s stability and safe place, so be there for them whether they’re showing signs of stress or not. When there’s a lull in the day or you’re winding down for bed, take some time to snuggle with your fuzzy companion. It’s the perfect excuse to take a break in the midst of a busy holiday, so grab a cup of cocoa, a cozy blanket, your furry best friend, and pop on a holiday movie while your Thanksgiving meal settles in your stomach. These moments of connection will not only help you recharge, but help your pet relax too.

The holidays can be busy and stressful, so take some time to care for your pets and give them as much normalcy as possible. They’ll thank you for it, and you’ll enjoy it too.\


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