I love the holidays! I start getting all excited just before Halloween until after the New Year has begun. I love all of it – the decorations, the music, the food, and especially shopping for gifts for my favorite beings – including MY DOGS!
With all of that said, as excited as I am, the holidays can bring about stress, including for our pets. Their routine can be messed up, different people are coming in and out of the house, all kinds of boxes and decorations are filling the house, furniture (and dog beds) may get moved, and for me, a great big tree is in the corner!
This stress can often produce anxiety, and anxiety can lead to one very unhappy pet, and of course an unhappy owner! You know what helps with stress and anxiety? MASSAGE!
Massage and Anxiety
It is well documented that massage helps to calm the nervous system, thus reducing stress and anxiety. The gentle, slow strokes of (Swedish) massage work directly with the central nervous system to calm our entire being. Our breathing slows and deepens, our blood pressure reduces, our muscles relax, and thus our entire being relaxes. The effects of massager, especially for our pets, often last longer than the length of a session. A massage session also gives our pets a break. It brings them out of their own anxiety to a time of relaxation – a time just for them to settle. I know that is one of the reasons why I love getting a massage myself!
A Few Holiday Tips
As we move into the holiday season, below are a few simple reminders and tips. You know your pet best, so some of these tips may apply, and others not so much.
- Have a separate, quiet space available for pets during busy holiday festivities
- Place possibly toxic plants out of reach (holly, mistletoe, and poinsettia)
- Keep all dangerous / poisonous foods away from pets (cooked bones, meat-soaked strings, chocolate, grapes, raisins, alcohol, sugary foods, artificial sweeteners, macadamia nuts, coffee, tobacco products)
- Keep an eye on the holiday table and secure leftovers and garbage to prevent your pet from foraging among them
- Avoid edible tree decorations – cookies, popcorn, cranberries, etc.
- Keep an eye on the holiday table and secure leftovers and garbage to prevent your dog from foraging among the holiday foods
- Tree needles, both fresh and artificial, can cause problems if ingested
- Read about tree preservatives as they are often sugar-based (and inviting to dogs). Also, change the tree water often so it does not become stagnant and harbor potentially harmful bacteria
- Be cautious with lights on lower tree branches, especially if you have a curious pet
- Wires leading to tree lights or other decorations should be safely taped so they cannot be chewed
- Watch the electrical cords – pets may chew them and get shocked
- Be cautious with glass ornaments, which break easily and may cut a dog’s feet or mouth
- Place candles up high so they are not accessible, or use battery operated candles
- Keep wrapping paper, ribbons, strings and scissors off floors and low tables
- Your dog may want to investigate wrapped packages; keep them out of reach
- Always try to use chemical free cleaning products
I wish everyone a very joyous and festive holiday season! Give your pet (and yourself :)) the gift of massage! It will surely be a time of relaxation and calm for the both of you!