Tips for Relaxation in the Holidays with your Dog

For most people, holidays mean spending time with their families, good food and a cheerful and relaxed atmosphere. But for many four-legged friends it means stress. Strange noises, strange smells, lots of people and a changed daily routine can make our dogs feel very insecure.Ā 

The following things can cause stress, fear or anxiety in your dog:

  • Changed schedules in the daily routine
  • Change of the apartment through e.g. striking decorations
  • Fireworks
  • Increased number of visitors
  • New smells
  • Conversion of baskets, toys and so on.

The following tips will help you reduce anxiety, stress and fear over the holidays:

Provide a protected and familiar retreat for your dog

Get your dog used to his box or basket early. Cave-like environments in particular provide your dog with protection and security and shield him better from external stimuli. The box or basket should be in a place where your dog likes to be. Depending on whether your dog prefers to be near you or at a distance, you can place the box or basket in a quiet corner of the living room or in a separate room away from the hustle and bustle. It is important that your dog can visit this place willingly and voluntarily if he wants to.

Use an ADAPTILĀ® diffuser for the power outlet a few days before the holidays.

Adaptil nebulizes a pheromone which has a calming effect on dogs and reduces anxiety, stress and fear in many situations. It is best to plug the ADAPTIL diffuser into the room where your dog is lying 2-3 days before the event.

Give your dog a bone to chew or a food toy

Licking and chewing ensures that oxytocin (the cuddling hormone) is released by your dog. So if your dog is a bit nervous or nervous when visitors come, you can offer him a bone or even a stuffed kong to spend some time with.

Give your dog the closeness he needs

Some dogs seek the proximity of their owner in new unknown or stressful situations. It is important that you give your dog closeness in such a situation. There is a difference between closeness and giving protection and feeling sorry for your dog. So if your dog is afraid and is looking for your closeness, it will help him if you give him closeness, maybe give him a conditioned relaxation signal. It does not help him if you panic yourself, pity him with a high voice or rebuke him. Observe your dog and then decide what he needs.

Shield off noise as much as possible

Especially on New Year’s Eve, it is recommended to close the windows, darken the room a little and switch on background noises, e.g. TV, radio or relaxing music. This way your dog will hear less of the fireworks and the banging noises will get lost in the rest of the sounds. You can also use a RELAXOPET. This device plays a melody composed for dogs, which is proven to relax your dog.

Walk your dog

Low-stress walks with many sniffing spots are perfect for a break from the festivities. On the days before and after New Year’s Eve, make sure that you go to places where fireworks are seldom ignited, e.g. in a secluded forest. Especially sniffing helps to reduce the stress of dogs, for this purpose you can use e.g. treat search games. The advantage of sniffing is that sensory impressions pass unfiltered through the amygdala and can directly trigger positive emotions in your dog. As always, use food and other rewards that your dog really likes.

Let your dog sleep as much as he wants

Qualitative sleep is essential for stress reduction. Especially during the holidays, your dog may need up to about 17 hours of sleep. Your dog can of course choose whether he sleeps, dozes a little or simply rests in his basket.

As always, observe your dog and decide intuitively which tips can help you and your dog and try them out. You can also find some instructions in our App!

By Sarah Mertes

Certified dog trainer