Holiday Season Is Approaching! Here’s How to Prepare Your Pup for The Festivities

Believe it or not, the holiday season is fast approaching!
Between family events, parties, out-of-town travel, and anything in between,
this time of year can be overwhelming for our four-legged friends. To avoid
unnecessary stress, you’ll want to prepare your dog for the holidays before the
season is in full swing.

Give them some
pampering

Before the festivities begin, why not treat your pup to a day of pampering? Start by choosing a low-scent or scent-free shampoo designed specifically for dogs or cats, such as the one by Burt’s Bees, and grab your water-safe brushes to help remove excess hair. To keep your pup distracted while you give them a good scrubbing, it can be helpful to spread some of their favorite Freshpet rolls on a lick mat, like the one by Lickimat. If this is the first time you’ve given your dog a bath, check out these tips for grooming your dog at home.

Get used to being
around smaller family members

If you don’t usually have children around the house, get
familiar with the process of introducing them so that your dog is prepared for
the holidays. When introducing your dog to children and babies, you’ll want to
follow these steps:

  • During the first introduction, keep your dog
    secured with a leash
  • Allow them to initiate the approach at their own pace
  • Give them lots of praise and keep a good supply of Freshpet treats on hand to help them develop a positive association with children
  • Repeat this process a few times until everyone
    seems comfortable around each other
Front view portrait of cute girl lying on bed with big pet dog and smiling, copy space

Of course, even after proper introductions, it’s important that children and dogs are always supervised when they’re together. For more tips, take a look at our guide for introducing your dog to babies.

Practice your basic
commands

Another way to prepare your dog for the holidays is to brush up
on their basic commands. Knowing that your dog will respond to key commands
such as “off”, “leave it”, “stay”, “go to your bed”, and “come” will give you
peace of mind when the holiday season is in full swing. Especially if your dog
joins for any parties, there’s a lot of things they could get into and having
your dog respond consistently to these commands can help you prevent problems
before they occur.

Do your best to stick
to a routine

While days during the holiday season are often much different
for you, try and minimize the changes that your dog experiences. Dogs thrive
when their days follow a predictable routine, so whenever possible stick to
their regular daily schedule during the holidays – especially if they will be
traveling with you. This includes:

  • Feeding them at their regular times
  • Taking them for walks at their regular times
  • Making sure that they can sleep in their normal
    bed
  • Ensuring they have access to their favorite
    toys and other comforts from home

If parts of your dog’s routine have to change, do your best to
prepare your dog for this before the holidays. For instance, if you’re
traveling somewhere with a time change which will impact when your dog is fed,
start to slowly shift their schedule ahead of the holidays.

Mother in a gray sweater. Family with christmas gifts. People near fireplace. Family with dog.

Find a trusted dog
sitter

Despite your best efforts to prepare your dog for the holidays,
sometimes they still won’t be comfortable being involved in all of the
festivities. If this is the case, it’s best for everyone involved if they stay
with a dog sitter temporarily. While it can be hard to celebrate the holidays
without your pup, knowing that they’re being cared for by a pet sitter you
trust can make a big difference. When conducting your search, ask prospective
sitters the following questions:

  • Do they provide client references?
  • Do they make you fill in a detailed intake
    form?
  • Do they want to meet your dog before the
    official sitting period?

Asking questions like this will help you find and choose a sitter that has your dog’s best interests at heart. For a full list of questions to ask, take a look at our checklist for what makes a great dog sitter.

Taking the extra time to prepare your dog for the holidays will help ensure that everyone is able to enjoy a stress-free festive season.

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