This is a busy time of year for most of us and often extra vsitors add to the hustle and bustle for our pets. Cats can find this stressful and so it is a good idea to make sure there are safe and comfortable places for them to get away to and hide when you have guests. If you have dogs visiting, it is even more important that they have safe retreat areas which the dog cannot access.
Put familiar bedding in extra boxes or igloo beds, so that they have their own recognisable smell. Visitors should be advised to let the cat approach them for stroking and petting and to leave the cat undisturbed if in his or her bed. Children particularly can be keen to see and cuddle the cat – treats and toys are a good way for them and other guests to be able to interact positively when the cat shows interest. If your cat has a tendency to anxiety, a diffuser and/or a food supplement can be used to boost pheromones and reduce the likelihood of stress responses.
For dogs, this can be a time of over-excitement and stimulation – which can lead to pestering behaviours. Or it can be a cause of anxiety, leading to barking or whining. If your dog struggles in these ways, make sure they have had plenty of stimulation and engagement beforehand. It may be best to provide him or her with a special treat away from the social scene – and if tired out by a good long walk, they can have a quiet snooze. For anxious dogs, it may be worth considering using a nutraceutical to help calm them over the period. For more advice on this, do get in touch with the practice.