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How Do I Keep My Dog Calm at Christmas?

Read time: 3 mins

16 Nov 2023

The holiday festivities bring joy and celebration, but for our dogs, it can also introduce stress and anxiety. With the hustle and bustle of gatherings, noises, and new experiences, dogs may feel overwhelmed.

Fear not, with thoughtful planning and care, it's possible to create a calm and stress-free environment for a pooch-perfect Christmas.

Provide a Safe Space

Designate a quiet, comfortable space for your dog to retreat to when things get overwhelming. This area, whether it's a cosy corner or a crate, should have familiar items like blankets or toys and be away from the hubbub.

Ensure family and guests understand that your dog's safe space is off-limits. This establishes boundaries and gives your pet a secure place to unwind.

Plan Longer Walks Before Social Events

Prior to gatherings or events, take your dog on a long walk or engage in vigorous play. Physical activity helps expend their energy, promoting a calmer demeanour during social gatherings.

Stick to your dog's regular exercise routine. Consistency in their schedule provides a sense of stability amidst the holiday chaos.

Practise Early Exposure to Guests

If your dog isn't accustomed to many guests, introduce them to new people in a calm, gradual manner. Use positive reinforcement, treats, and gentle interactions to associate guests with positive experiences.

You could also host smaller gatherings or invite friends over before the big day to acclimate your dog to social situations. This helps them become more comfortable around unfamiliar faces.

Use Calming Supplements

Consider incorporating calming supplements into your dog's routine. Butternut Box’s Calming Supplemunchies, made with natural ingredients, can help promote relaxation without any artificial additives.

Before introducing any supplements, consult with your veterinarian to ensure they are suitable for your dog's specific needs and health conditions.

Distract Them with Toys

Provide mentally stimulating toys or puzzles to keep your dog occupied. Toys that dispense treats or require problem-solving can divert their attention from stressors.

Engage in interactive play sessions to bond with your dog and redirect their focus away from the chaos.

Avoid Leaving Them Alone for Long Periods

Avoid leaving your dog alone for extended periods, especially during hectic times. Loneliness can exacerbate stress, so ensure they have companionship or a dog sitter if needed.

If your dog struggles with separation anxiety, practise gradual absence training to accustom them to short periods alone. This helps build their confidence and reduces anxiety.

Play Relaxing Music and Sounds

Create a calming environment with soft music or ambient sounds. Classical music or specially designed pet relaxation tracks can help soothe anxious pets.

Consider using white noise machines or fans to drown out loud noises that might startle your dog, like fireworks or loud conversations.

Limit Loud Noises Where Possible

Keep an eye on noise levels during celebrations. If possible, designate a quiet area or use curtains and soundproofing to minimise exposure to loud noises.

Ensure your dog's safe space is insulated from outdoor noises that could cause distress.